Somerville on track to plant 2,000 new public trees by end of 2015

SOMERVILLE –Over the next month, the City of Somerville will plant 575 new public trees—roughly the same amount
planted over two years from 2010 to 2012—as it stays on schedule for its goal to plant 2,000 new trees by the end of 2015.
After July’s planting blitz, more than 1,000 new trees will have been planted since 2011, when the City launched its aggressive tree planting effort following a complete tree inventory completed by the Somerville Urban Forest Initiative in 2009. That inventory found roughly 850 sick or dead trees among the 11,062 in Somerville. The tree planting effort relies on $75,000 in annual federal funds with additional support from City funding.
Since setting its 2,000 new trees goal, the City has completed a connected canopy in multiple areas, an action set forth in SomerVision that reduces ‘heat islands’ that retain more heat due to lack of vegetation, and can cause residents to pay more in electricity costs to cool their homes, as well as pose health hazards. Studies have shown that trees also have a traffic calming effect causing drivers to slow their speed. Main corridors in particular have been heavily planted.
The City has received positive feedback from residents about the trees coming to their streets. The tree planting efforts pays particular attention to maintaining diversity of the tree canopy in the city, with roughly a dozen species distributed evenly throughout the city, while tackling the challenge of finding eligible planting spaces. The City is also prioritizing all old and new 311 tree planting requests and encourages residents who would like a tree near their home to call 311 to request one be planted.
Residents will see stakes planted in jackhammered sidewalks where new trees will be planted in the coming month. First crews make sure the proposed tree pit will work and meets certain criteria before cutting around the full pit, and then jackhammering a small strip marked with stakes to avoid the tripping hazard created if the whole sidewalk slab is dug up and left sitting before the tree is planted. Workers will return in July with a backhoe and tree, lifting up the entire slab and planting the tree. Twelve species of trees will be planted over the course of the month, including red maple, silver linden and sweetgum.
Central Nurseries works with the City on its tree planting efforts, accommodating last-minute changes while submitting weekly progress reports of plantings and planned work. All trees will be watered over the next three summer seasons and remain under warranty for three full years.

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