A mature oak tree which died suddenly will have to be cut down after “historic signs of drilling" and the “systematic” injection of herbicide were said to be found.

A council report found the oak in Trevellan Road, Mylor Bridge was at "severe risk" of falling after it died unexpectedly.

The decades old tree, which is the subject of a tree preservation order (TPO), was healthy in 2021 but failed to leaf in 2022 and again this year. It has now been confirmed dead.

An application to fell the tree was submitted to Cornwall Council by a resident of Trevellan Road.

The applicant said: "[We] request to fell a large oak tree which failed to leaf during the drought of 2022 and has similarly failed to leaf this summer. 

"Branches are now falling from the tree into our (and neighbouring) gardens, representing both a nuisance and a hazard and we are concerned that the tree itself, which is clearly dead, may fall and threaten both our and adjacent properties."

A report by a Cornwall Council tree officer said on inspection there was clear "historic" evidence that holes had been drilled into the tree and herbicide systematically injected.

Falmouth Packet: The tree failed to leaf in 2022The tree failed to leaf in 2022 (Image: Cornwall Council Planning Portal)

In their report they said: “I have no objections to the proposed tree removal; the tree is entirely dead with evidence on site indicative of historic drilling and introduction of a systemic herbicide resulting in irreversible physiological decline.”

He said he welcomed the proposed planting of a Sessile oak and an additional Sorbus in the applicant’s garden as a replacement but said it would not add much to the public visual amenity because of its location.

“The amenity impacts and loss to local biodiversity are severe, and the replacement tree will take generations to establish to a size and stature that meaningfully compensates," they said.

A tree survey commissioned by the applicants found that the tree was at “extreme risk” of falling onto nearby homes and should be removed immediately. It said the tree used to be part of an ancient field boundary before the area was built on.

One local resident said: “It is so upsetting. It was such a beautiful huge tree that has been there for decades and was full of wildlife even in the winter.”