Almost 400 young trees have been destroyed since November as green vandals left a trail of destruction from one end of Canberra to the other.
But from July 1 people who steal or break trees could be fined $2200 for each offence.
Manager of urban treescapes Michael Brice said 358 trees had been vandalised or stolen across the capital.
It costs about $200 to replace each tree but this figure does not include the cost of maintaining the tree until it was damaged.
''At the moment, if it's a native tree we can issue an infringement notice under the Native Conservation Act,'' Mr Brice said. ''If it's an exotic, we can take people to court under the roads and public places act.''
But vandals are rarely prosecuted and the new legislation in the Public Unleased Land Act will make the process simpler.
''It's difficult to prove … Usually the tree is there and then it's not there.''
Mr Brice said some residents did not want new trees - especially eucalypts - planted in their street because they grow too large, and didn't let the grass grow underneath. While others wanted to use verges to park cars, he said reasonable requests for trees not to be replanted could be met.
Anyone with information about the vandalism and theft of trees should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.
TREES STOLEN FROM Griffith shops: Greenway (open area off Mortimer Lewis Drive); Florey shops; Yerrabi Park in Gungahlin; Ainslie Avenue; Forsythe Street in Banks; Blamey Crescent in Campbell; Holt Oval in Holt; Greenway Street in Turner; Anthony Rolfe Avenue in Gungahlin; Costello Circuit in Calwell; Harricks Street in Monash; Cambridge Street in Evatt; Flynn Oval in Flynn; Lyneham (open area off Mouat Street); Philipson Crescent in Calwell; Couvreur Street in Garran; Jensen Street in Hughes; and McKinlay Street in Narrabundah.
SPECIES REMOVED: various eucalypt species, elms, Gleditsia, poplars, oaks, plane trees, Fraxinus and Pyrus.
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