Emerald Necklace: 150 Trees to be Planted, 38 Hazardous Trees to Be Removed

The Department of Conservation and Recreation will be removing 38 hazardous trees from the Arborway, Jamaicaway, Olmsted Park, Riverway and Back Bay Fens, starting on February 1. Removal of the trees will be done in collaboration with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, as will the planting of 150 new trees come this spring.

Trees in the Emerald Necklace

Emerald Necklace Conservancy Facebook page

Trees in the Emerald Necklace (photo from the Emerald Necklace Conservancy Facebook page)

The 38 trees have been identified as hazardous by tree professionals and pose a serious threat to public safety. The trees are exhibiting a combination of root decay, hollowed-out trunks, large cavities, cracks, large broken branches, severe leans and questionable structural integrity.

This spring, thanks to a generous gift from Ropes & Gray in celebration of their 150th anniversary, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy will work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to plant 150 red oak trees (Quercus rubrus) along the Riverway, Jamaicaway and Arborway. Red oaks are native to New England.

“Trees are living beings that need our care throughout their lifespan. When the Conservancy launched the Olmsted Tree Society in 2013 with the goal to care for the park’s tree canopy, this type of large scale planting is exactly the type of project we knew was needed to help restore the beauty of the Emerald Necklace for today and future generations,” said Susan Knight, the Conservancy’s interim president via a press release.

Ray Oladapo-Johnson, the Conservancy’s director of park operations spoke about why red oaks were chosen to maintain the historic integrity of the landscape. “They are one of the stateliest and most handsome trees in North America, hardy to urban environments and are a long-term investment in this historic landscape.”

Oladapo-Johnson added the planting project will include comprehensive soil remediation and soil de-compaction along the parkway planting buffer and care. “To ensure that these new trees are given every possible chance to survive and thrive, we will have in place a dedicated long-term maintenance protocol that will be done in collaboration with our partners.”

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s Olmsted Tree Society was founded in 2013 to create a permanent program for the ongoing care of the tree canopy in the Emerald Necklace park system. In collaboration with the conservancy’s public partners, Boston Parks & Recreation, Brookline Parks and Open Space, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the program’s goal is to preserve and protect healthy trees with selective pruning and soil enhancement and plant new trees along the parkways of the Necklace, which includes the Back Bay Fens, Riverway, Olmsted Park, Franklin Park and around Jamaica Pond.

  • Brian

    “Trees are living beings that need our care throughout their lifespan.” This is untrue. Trees have been doing just fine without our interference for millions of years.

    • Gladys

      Trees get sick and need care, just like any other living being. A dead limb in a tree can invite disease if not trimmed properly. Yes, the tree might be ok, but the fact is, with pollution, trucks hitting them, people locking bikes to them and other vandals, etc, city trees especially will do better with our help. Trees are your friend, why don’t you want to help a friend?

  • Steve

    I can understand why they wanted to plant native trees, but I wish they hadn’t chosen all of the same variety. That’s not biodiversity.

  • DA

    While I hope that the experts who designated which trees to remove are truly impartial and selected only trees which present a true danger I can not forget that a 5 year old tree planted this year hardly compares to a 50 year old tree. A sapling is a child that may one day support the glory of the Olmstead system. But a 5 year old sapling is still just a kid among many barely making an impression.

    • Gladys

      That’s a pretty selfish perception. The truth is, we don’t plant trees for ourselves, we plant them for future generations, just as Olmstead did more than a hundred years ago, which is why we all get to enjoy them today. Thank him, and quit your complaining.
      Thank you Fred!