Heavy Snow and Rain Damaged Over 200 of Somerville’s Trees
Somerville had to cut down 10 damaged trees on public property this year and might have to cut down more next month.
Now that most of the snow has melted, the City of Somerville and community gardeners have realized the scope of tree damage caused by the series of snowstorms that swept the city this winter.
“Wet snow and heavy rain damaged more than 200 trees on public property and forced the city to cut down 10,” said the commissioner of the city’s public works department.
Commissioner Stanley Koty said that the highway department’s tree crew has almost finished trimming damaged limbs and clearing fallen ones that had been buried in the snow. He said that next month an arborist would assess other damaged trees to see if they should be cut down.
Meanwhile, Groundwork Somerville Gardens Coordinator Tai Dinnan said that this year’s tree damage was greater than that of recent years. The damage wasn’t as noticeable this year, she said, because of the high snow accumulation. But when it melted, fallen and damaged branches because more apparent.
Before Groundwork Somerville hosted the Maple Syrup Boil Down in February at the Somerville Community Growing Center, Dinnan said that the center had to remove broken branches and prune trees. She said pruning would allow damaged branches to grow back.
Dinnan said that the damage caused by heavy snow may have added another spring clean-up task for community gardeners but didn’t jeopardize the vitality of the gardens.
“The gardens aren’t very vulnerable in the winter,” she said. “Whatever is important in the garden is underground and protected. What got damaged this year were cars.”
Indeed, Commissioner Koty said that about five people reported car damage caused by fallen branches, though that number was down significantly from last year.
Dinnan said that the city’s trees fared better than ones further inland because the ocean and Somerville’s tightly packed population stabilizes the weather.
But Dinnan said that some of the city’s practices, namely pruning trees to install telephone wires and salting the streets, were environmentally “unfriendly.” Koty said that de-icing salt doesn’t damage trees because the city sprays a neutralizing chemical around the trees before winter begins.
Koty said that Somerville residents should dispose of fallen branches or trees by cutting them up, bundling them and putting them out with the trash.
What tree damage have you seen on your street? Tell us in the comments.