The vandalism to the 15-foot-tall trees probably occurred over the weekend, at night or early in the morning, she said.
The trees were planted from the CVS Pharmacy to the Junction Station Cafe, a mostly residential neighborhood that includes businesses, Rogers said.
Himel said he suspects the perpetrator sliced around the trunk of every tree using a knife, as the cuts were "surgical" instead of having the rough marks from a saw. The perpetrator also drilled a half-inch diameter hole into each tree, Himel said, adding that the only purpose of that is to put herbicide inside.
"Never before have we had such a malicious destruction of trees the community volunteers have planted," said Himel, a 65-year old Catonsville resident. "To me, when I Google and look for a definition of 'terrorism,' this certainly is."
Most of the damaged trees were planted about two years ago, and are of the same variety as trees along the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., which attract hundreds of thousands of tourists when the pink blossoms peak in the spring.
For the Catonsville Tree Canopy Project, "It's more than just planting trees," Himel said. "It really is a nice little bit of natural and, if you will, patriotic history."
The group is funded through donations and grants, and the cost of replacing all 32 trees would be about $500 per tree, Himel said. The volunteers will try to replace any they can't save.
To help the trees rebound from the damage, the group plans to increase watering from once a week to once every three days. The dead trees have been removed. .