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Except to abate a nuisance as defined herein, no person shall damage, destroy or mutilate any tree, shrub or plant in a public parking strip or any other public place, or attach or place any rope or wire (other than one used to support a young or broken tree), sign, poster, handbill or other thing to or on any tree growing in a public place, or cause or permit any wire charged with electricity to come in contact with any such tree, or allow any gaseous, liquid or solid substance which is harmful to such trees to come in contact with their roots or leaves; provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall preclude either the owner or occupant of real property from trimming or removing trees, shrubs and plants placed in the parking strip of such real property by such owner or occupant. (1961 code § 10.20.100.)