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Removed Tremont St. Trees Presented Public Safety Hazard, According to City

After residents reached out to question why several large trees were removed from the Tremont/W.Brookline Street corner, the Boston Parks Department provided its reasoning.

A big shock came to residents of the Tremont and W. Brookline area this week, when three trees marked for "maintenance" were completely removed. Resident Patrick Miller wrote in to South End Patch noting that the tree removal destroyed his property's curb appeal and privacy.  

"My windows are directly above Gold Gallery looking out onto W. Brookline," he said. "I now have no privacy, and the street looks horrible. They also destroyed our brick sidewalk in the process."

It wasn't long before others began to share their own concerns. Reader Omar wrote that he was very disappointed - and borderline angry -  to see the trees removed from the block.

"Trees are a key component of West Brookline Street’s charm and beauty," he wrote. "The fact that the removal came without warning adds insult to injury. The neighborhood should be more aware of this kind of activity and prevent it in the future."

However, the root of the issue actually dates back to 2011, according to the city of Boston, which has come through with an answer and specific information as to what lead to the tree's removal through a Citizen's Connect response from the Parks Department. 

Max Ford-Diamond of the Parks Dept. wrote in his response the three pear trees at 655-657 Tremont St on W. Brookline were removed due to the hazard that they posed to public safety.

"The original case was created on June 10, 2011, which requested that the trees be pruned," he wrote. "The site was inspected on June 30 by the Boston Parks Departments Inspector who is a Massachusetts Certified Arborist."

"At the time the three trees were inspected they were deemed unable to be pruned to the cities pruning specifications and in need of removal for several reasons:

  • All three trees were leaning more then 25 degrees over the road;
  •  All three trees have had multiple emergencies where large leaders had broken off of them;
  • The trunks of the trees have been hit numerous times by trucks and cars and have large wounds that have never healed and were starting to decay. 

The Boston Parks Department also does not plant this species of tree anymore due to there high risk of failure due to poor branch structure and weak branch attachment points. The Boston Parks Department has pictures of these defects that show why the trees needed to be removed.

A new tree request will be made for this location to have the site inspected for new trees. The replanting process currently takes between 6 and 12 months.

The contractor who removed the trees has been notified to go back to the site remove the cobbles and to clean up the site. The cobble stones will be removed because they are not a part of the Cities Tree Planting Specifications."

Those with remaining questions can address them with the Parks Department at 617-635-7275.

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South End Neighbor January 31, 2013 at 03:29 PM
The city and the parks department are full of s*%t. "All three trees were leaning more then 25 degrees over the road" - at what point do you measure the degree of lean - I only ask because the trunks of those trees were definitely not leaning 25 degrees "All three trees have had multiple emergencies where large leaders had broken off" - umm no, I don't think so. My car has been parked under those trees for the past two hurricanes and a good majority of the major storms that have passed through Boston and no large leaders had come off. "The trunks of the trees have been hit numerous times by trucks and cars and have large wounds that have never healed and were starting to decay." Ha - prove it, nice excuse parks and rec, nice excuse. This is a complete joke and unacceptable
Brett January 31, 2013 at 03:42 PM
While trees are great (I'm pro tree), they do pose different threats in city environments than they do in the suburbs. I've accepted as a city dweller, that I won't be exposed to much trees, but hey - I chose to live here. If Patrick is concerned about privacy, he should get blinds or curtains. I have no trees near my apartment, and I make do. I do believe that some landscaping and fixing of the brick sidewalks (all around the city) would be a good start in bringing back the curb appeal
Nancy January 31, 2013 at 04:18 PM
One's property value and enjoyment of a home is based on the view out, as well as the internal structure/ aesthetics. Brett- of course the beauty of the trees and the privacy they offer is a factor. The city took drastic measures that impact residents' property value and enjoyment without any notification/ discussion. The street looks terrible and it will take several years for the new trees to establish.
Sara Jacobi January 31, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Note: I asked the city to send over the photos they referenced in their response (attn: South End Neighbor) and I've added them to the photo gallery. Click through to see the damage they mentioned due to the trees being hit by cars, etc.
JMc February 03, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Parks ended up saying the same thing about the Dwight tree. We need to press the city to at least notify ONS and/or the press so residents know when removals and pruning are going to happen.

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