CLEAR LAKE SHORES, Texas — Lynda Michaelski said she watched plants in her yard die mysteriously overnight, but the breaking point came when a 100-year-old live oak began to wither.
Leaves suddenly yellowed in July and fell, she said. The trunk became discolored.
An arborist with Houston-based Texas Tree Team determined Michaelski’s tree, worth $15,000, had been poisoned with an herbicide, she said.
"I cried all day when I got the diagnosis," she said. "I believe in the creator, and to me it was like a slap in the face to God."
Michaelski bought the lot on North Shore Drive 20 years ago because of the stately oak trees that tower over the yard facing Clear Lake.
Michaelski said she didn’t know who poisoned the tree, but she and her husband, Patrick, are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
If caught, a person could face criminal property damage charges for destroying plants on private property, Clear Lake Shores Police Chief and City Administrator Paul Shelley said.
It’s not the first time the Michaelskis have experienced unexplained plant deaths.
An avocado tree died and planted flowers have withered, she said.
Lynda Michaelski claimed a neighbor previously sprayed her vegetable garden on a waterfront easement she leases from the city with an unknown substance.
The man technically was on his property spraying weeds, Shelley said.
Photos Lynda Michaelski took of the incident did not prove the neighbor was spraying a substance onto her garden, Shelley said.
The neighbor said he was spraying his property with a weed killer but none of it got onto Michaelski’s garden.
The city treated the Michaelskis’ tree with a concoction of vitamins and hormones to regenerate growth.
Lynda Michaelski said all she now can do is wait and hope the tree revives.
"I just can’t believe someone would do something so vicious to an innocent tree," Michaelski said.