Trees, Urban Forest, of Boston and New England

Arlington

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Trees are important to cities. I'd like to discuss their role. At least these roles

1) Street furniture & place making
- a source of shade and comfort
- Sound deadening (noise pollution cure)
- visual screen

2) As climate partner
- stormwater management, air cleaning
- heat management
- carbon sequestration

3) Recreation asset
- Forested parks
- Rope Course?

4) Threats
- projects
- pests (gypsy moths released in Medford MA :-(
-- 17yr locusts (threat to small trees, rely on undisturbed forests)
-- asian longhorn
-- emerald ash borer
-- Chestnut blight
-- Dutch elm
-- Winter moth
- hostile people (cut a tree to steal a bike)

--- and things like ---

Tree age and size (the big issue on Melnea Cass)
- adding new trees
- getting them to maturity
- protecting them at maturity

Species selection & mix

Tree City USA
- does your town have a Forestry Plan?
- a Tree Warden?
- a prune, remove, plan, plant, grow plan?
 
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Arlington

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I was inspired by this old post in the MGH thread in which we see how important Elms were in the 1800s and 1900s We may also cover how important Chestnuts were in the 1700s and 1800s

Also of interest: the black "anti climbing caterpillar" bands, which I think were an anti-gypsy moth thing?
I assume these are some sort of tarred "tanglefoot" traps on the trees in what would be a spring "pre leaf" photo:

For any pest where they mature in the canopy, but drop and overwinter in the ground, "climbing back up" in the spring was a big deal.

Which is also why Winter Moths caught us off guard, laying their "inchworm" eggs directly on leaf buds in the fall (and overwitntering) up there.

mgh_01b.jpg
 

George_Apley

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The politics of urban trees are major. See the discussion in the Melnea Cass thread with accusations of "environmental racism" by some Roxbury groups over the planned removal of mature trees along the Blvd.
 

qubbin

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Cutting/removing street trees, especially mature plantings, upsets people for good reasons. Melnea Cass is the latest case. There's a famous example from the '60s of people protesting a plan to remove the sycamores along Memorial Drive between the Anderson and the Eliot bridges, presumably to widen the road. AFAIK no one has seriously proposed to widen, straighten out, and remove trees from the Jamaicaway and Riverway but that's another great example of urban trees having a hold on the public imagination. Boston isn't especially good on street trees. Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline are much better, even though Cambridge and Somerville have the same pattern of narrow streets, narrow sidewalks and buildings/houses built close to the street line. I guess the historical pattern for street trees is not many in dense city streets except for streets like Commonwealth Avenue. It varies a lot from place to place--New Haven was famous for its elm-lined streets but that was unusual. Surely Melnea Cass is plenty wide enough for street trees to do well even if not particularly well taken care of. I remember Tonawanda St, Dorchester, in the 1970s with its full complement of mature tonawanda (ginkgo) trees. Now many are gone and looking in "street view" I don't see new ones planted. Hard to believe someone doesn't care enough about that particular urban tree history to restore the tonawanda plantings--although people object to the female trees that drop the stinky seeds. Lots of streets in Dorchester and similar areas never had continuous street trees and there are plenty of precedents for urban streets without trees. Many homeowners don't want street trees-- the leaf litter, roots in the sewer pipe, driveway interference, etc. The aesthetics of a typical Boston area street with narrow frontage lot frame houses planted with trees, like many in Somerville and Cambridge, are so much more pleasant than the equivalent streets in Roslindale or Dorchester with only the occasional street tree.
 

stick n move

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Crazy, I literally feel the exact opposite, but a lot of this was shaped by my time spent deployed to Japan. Japanese city streets are literally tiled in between the asphalt and concrete to where there isnt even a blade of grass unless its supposed to be there. It is the epitome of urban there, to where every inch of ground has been created by man. Compared to that I always felt like Boston had trees everywhere. Kinda crazy how different two peoples perspectives can be in the same place due to different experiences.

Heres some examples of Hiroshima streets.



 

ra84970

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It's not just Hiroshima either that's like that.

That being said, I also think Japan, in general, finds ways to get parks and greenery into neighborhoods in really creative ways. In most cities, a green space has never felt particularly far away. Perhaps tucked in a place between some houses that used to be a home or along the edge of a river or stream, and of course, some amazing large parks as well.
 

ErnieAdams

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The street trees at the spot where Kelton Street in Allston turns into Winchester Street in Brookline are absolute showstoppers. (If I did it the link right, click here for the view into Allston, and then rotate 180° and ENHANCE! to see how the other half lives.) Amazing how the 100+ year old decisions to plant those trees are so impactful today. There are worse ways to outlive oneself.
 

#bancars

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The street trees at the spot where Kelton Street in Allston turns into Winchester Street in Brookline are absolute showstoppers. (If I did it the link right, click here for the view into Allston, and then rotate 180° and ENHANCE! to see how the other half lives.) Amazing how the 100+ year old decisions to plant those trees are so impactful today. There are worse ways to outlive oneself.
The tree canopy difference between Brookline and Allston is really striking. And frustrating.
 

qubbin

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Crazy, I literally feel the exact opposite, but a lot of this was shaped by my time spent deployed to Japan. Japanese city streets are literally tiled in between the asphalt and concrete to where there isnt even a blade of grass unless its supposed to be there. It is the epitome of urban there, to where every inch of ground has been created by man. Compared to that I always felt like Boston had trees everywhere. Kinda crazy how different two peoples perspectives can be in the same place due to different experiences.

Heres some examples of Hiroshima streets.
Such great pictures. I was thinking of European city centers but Japanese and other Asian cities have more intense contrasts between leafy settings and urban ones. Boston really does have trees everywhere—only pavement or mowing stops them from growing. Street trees are a particular category with great benefits that don’t come without continued care. North end and Beacon Hill offer contrasting aesthetics at similar density. North End has the older medieval European aesthetic of no street trees but intensive plantings in certain public spaces — Prado and Copps Hill cemetery. Beacon Hill about as dense but great effort to maintain street trees — with uneven results.
 

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