|Maple Street, Maynard, 1910. Second tree on left appears to|
be same tree as in photo below. Click on photos to enlarge.
|Maple Street, Maynard, 2019. Sickly tree on left is one of the|
originals, most likely planted when houses were built in 1870s.
In addition to deliberate deforestation, our trees are at risk to species-specific diseases, invasive insect species, invasive plant species, uncompensated storm damage and deferred maintenance. Nationwide, chestnut blight took out three billion trees, elm disease another one hundred million. The larvae of Emerald Ash Borer have a fatal impact on ash trees, as does the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on hemlocks. Oriental bittersweet vines grow into the tops of mature trees, overshadowing the trees’ leaves and breaking branches with weight, until the trees die.
Urban trees have value. A study conducted at Devens, MA, concluded that house prices in tree-rich neighborhoods are higher, energy costs needed to cool houses when trees provide share are lower, and asphalt streets have a longer lifespan before repaving is required due to a dampening of the daily heat/cool cycle. Trees capture rain, reducing the needs to channel and process stormwater runoff. Trees provide shade for outdoor activities, and muffle street noise. Plausible research suggests that patients in hospitals need less of pain relief meds and heal faster if their windows look out over gardens and trees versus a parking lot.
|Nason Street, Maynard: stump of|
removed urban tree. Eleven replace-
ment trees will be planted soon.
Counter to this, there is persistent lack of funding for urban forestry, consequence of tight budgets and an attitude that trees are “nice to have” but not necessary. Once a town or city has fallen behind maintaining an existing urban canopy, reversing the trend with an accelerated planting program is seen as too expensive. Only when a community recognizes that the commercial and personal health benefits of a trees sustainability program are real and important do annual budgets reflect the need. As of 2019, Nason and Main streets have lost most of their sidewalk trees.
|Norway spruce trees flanking house, |
The dearth of big trees rests on our history. To the colonists of the 1600s, every tree deserved an ax. Wood burning for household heat was so profligate that visitors from England wrote home that people were so extravagant as to having more than one fire burning at the same time! By 1850, more than half of New England was field or pasture, the remaining forests were second or third growth, good for firewood but not lumber. Locally, much of what had grown in abandoned farmland was leveled by the 1938 hurricane. A fair guess is that Maynard is home to no trees more than 200 years old, and that the majority is under 100 years old. What we have are adults with growing ongoing.
|European copper beech, Acton Street, Maynard, MA.|
Estimated 90' tall and 90' wide.
The Town was designated a Tree City USA in 1999 and 2000, and refiled the necessary documentation for re-certification in 2001. Allowed to lapse, but applied and approved in 2016. The DPW Highway Department is responsible for the maintenance of all public shade trees.
There was an enormous and extremely tall tree on Tremont street up until it was cut down in the last few years. The massive trunk still exists right next to the road in front of 21 Tremont st, with a huge portion of lifted sidewalk and front walkway for that home due to the size of the roots. It must have been at least 4 or 5 ft in diamter.ReplyDelete
There are a couple of tall, but not quite as massive sugar maple trees on King Street, adjoining Tremont Street, so possible that all a similar age. Another large sugar maple is in the back yard of 12 Maple Street.ReplyDelete