The Boston City Council is worried about the future of trees in the city and wants to make sure there are protections in place.

While Boston might be in an economic boom, many trees throughout the city are being cut down due to development.

When Councilor Tim McCarthy had several 100-year-old oaks cut down near his home due to new house duplexes, he decided to look into the issue. He looked at nearby cities like Brookline and Newton to see what protections they had in place.

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“If we had something in place maybe we could pump the breaks here,” he said during a hearing this week.

Councilor Ed Flynn believes that trees not only bring positive health benefits to residents, but also help with mental health.

“It’s imperative as a city we discuss our goals for planting trees,” he said. “This is a quality of life issue. We need to make sure we have as many trees as possible during this economic boom.”

Chris Cook, chief of environment, energy and open space, said Mayor Marty Walsh placed funds for updated LIDAR data and updated canopy analysis this budget season.

“With these investments Boston will be able to understand the change, trends and health of our tree canopy,” he said. “This information will set the table development of an urban forestry master plan for the city of Boston.”

The LIDAR data will be used in the next few weeks and will be analyzed before the end of the winter.

The urban forestry master plan will help Boston assess national and international best practices for increasing tree canopy, set goals for canopy protection, and develop a strategy and ordinances surrounding these issues.

Cook said they will also develop a planting strategy neighborhood by neighborhood.

Residents are also concerned about trees and the environment. David Meshoulam is part of Speak for the Trees, a new non-profit organization with the goal to improve the size and health of the urban tree canopy in the greater Boston area.

South End resident Carol Blair grew up in Vermont and says she no longer takes trees for granted.

“I want them to be around for my grandchildren,” she said.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. We absolutely need these protections. Hanover street alone in the last 10 years has lost at least 6 trees, and others are dying.

    A couple even appear to have been removed for extenet WiFi poles.

    Meanwhile, the few in the neighborhood that are replaced get choked by fumes, gas leaks, or damaged by vandals. This needs to be a priority.

    • I don’t know whether the trees can speak for themselves, but I read a story last week where the water table in Boston has returned to normal. They have been starved since the Big Dig. This might be the biggest factor in tree restoration as well as slowing piling rot in the North End.

  2. There are many places where prior tree plantings have died and there’s not enough done to protect the newly planted trees. People continually let their dogs relieve themselves on the new trees along with the other issues that Mary mentioned. There should be fencing placed around the newly planted trees with signs telling dog owners to keep their pets away. I agree that maintaining and improving our trees needs to be a priority.

  3. Much of the new plantings die due to lack of enough water after the initial planting. I know that most now have those water bags attached, but no way to really know how effective they are. On our street, there are a handful of residents who have been watering the newly planted trees every morning/day with great success. I guess I’d just say that for any resident with a newly planted tree in front of their building or on their street, it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to give it good watering.

  4. Trees along Cross St opposite the BRA parking lot were never replaced after they were vandalized. The city can’t give up…they need to keep planting them.

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