Seattle Parks and Recreation has removed one large Douglas fir tree at the southeast corner of Magnolia Park and will continue monitoring another one discovered vandalized back in April.

“We went out and we inspected the tree; it had a couple of holes drilled in it,” said SPR arborist Chris Rippey, adding a liquid substance was discovered inside the holes. “We ended up having it tested and it came back as a chemical that’s in a couple different products, one being a stump killer.”

Magnolia resident Rick Israel, who lives near the park along Magnolia Boulevard, said this is not the first time the trees had been vandalized in this way. It’s happened several times in the last decade, he said, the first incident occurring seven years ago. Police responded, but did not identify a culprit.

“They had a few hunches, and of course they couldn’t prove anything,” Israel said, adding he suspects it was done by a neighbor who didn’t care for the 60-foot trees. “There’s a couple people across the street who would benefit from the views.”

Rippey confirmed evidence of past damage to the tree, including a variety of larger and smaller drill holes, and that the April vandalism was reported to the Seattle Police Department that month. A notice posted by SPR near the vandalism site includes a number for people to report any information pertaining to this incident: 206-684-4860.

“We make police reports when these things happen. To do the report, we appraise the trees to see what they’re worth and we make a police report and they take it from there,” Rippey said.

The city used a sonic tomography unit to examine the inside of the two vandalized trees for wood decay, Rippey said, and determined one tree needed to be removed ahead of inclement winter weather; the other will be monitored on a yearly basis to determine its chances of recovery.

SPR plans to replace the tree, which was removed last week, with four trees that are roughly 2 inches in diameter, placing them further up the hill, where they’ll be more visible, Rippey said.

Israel offered to cover the cost of replacing the vandalized tree with comparably sized evergreens. Rippey found two noble firs at 22 and 28 feet in height, and determined they would cost $2,500 to purchase and $2,000 to install, however, the cost of watering them was determined to be too prohibitive. According to an email from Rippey to Israel, the trees would have required 80 gallons of water per day from May 1 to Oct. 1. Rippey tells Queen Anne News there is no irrigation system close to the site and it would be too costly to install such infrastructure. All of these associated costs would come from SPR’s tree replacement budget.

“It does happen. I don’t think it happens as much as people think. It happens a handful of times a year,” Rippey said of tree vandalism cases in the city. “I think it’s a crime that’s just really hard to prove unless you see them doing it or someone comes forward and says, ‘Yeah, I saw this person do it.’”