'Selfish' nature strip act slammed in angry note: 'Ruined for everyone'

Flower picker sparks debate over trees in communal areas.

A Sydney resident has vented her frustration after discovering a tree on a neighbourhood nature strip had been stripped of its flowers, sparking a debate over the legality of the act. The Lindfield local shared a photo online of a note that was taped to the tree, reprimanding a so-called "selfish flower thief".

The note states that picking the flowers was an act of vandalism and points out that doing so not only affects the tree's shape but also deprives local bees of a food source and takes away the joy the blooms bring to people in the area.

Gum tree with note attached
'That poor tree is tiny. Taking one flower is like harvesting a quarter of it,' one person commented. Source: Reddit/istara

Permanent damage?

Sharing a snap of the young gum tree in full bloom a week earlier, the Redditor asserted that the act of flower-picking had caused long-term damage to the plant. "From what I can work out someone has ripped the main flowering branch off. My photo is a different angle but the damage is still clear," she wrote.

However, several commenters were unconvinced removing a branch from a sapling would ruin the shape of the tree forever. Someone claiming to be an arborist weighed in, arguing the tree would not suffer any long-term damage and noted that picking flowers is likely to promote new growth in plants.

Corymbia eucalyptus tree flowers
The poster shared an image of the corymbia eucalyptus tree abundant with flowers taken a week earlier. Source: Reddit/istara

Who's in the wrong?

Whether or not the tree was permanently damaged, Reddit users were widely outraged by the flower removal. "This is horrible. My three-year-old knows that lorikeets/bees/butterflies need flowers so they have nectar to drink. How do grown adults not know this or do they just not care?" commented one angry user. Another user simply wrote, "As ever, the d***heads among us ruin it for everyone."

Meanwhile, others maintained that the author of the note had no grounds to complain as the eucalypt in question was planted on public property and is therefore a communal resource. "Looks like it's planted on the verge. Newsflash: you don't own the verge," responded one man.

Nature strips are indeed council-owned land, however it's illegal to trim or remove plants from nature strips without council approval. According to the Local Government Act 1995, it's a council's responsibility to "care for, control and manage public land", and while homeowners are generally left to maintain the verge adjoining their property, what they can do with this strip of land is governed by local council laws.

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