Replanting the urban canopy
“Everybody wants a flowering tree,” says Boston tree warden GREG MOSMAN. Mosman has an agenda: the Department of Parks and Recreation has tasked him with planting 100,000 trees during the next 10 years. To that end, the city allows residents to order free trees, and flowering varieties are the most popular. (Call 617.635.4505 to put in your request. Approximately 40 varieties are available.)
Mosman’s goal is to increase the canopy cover in the city to 35 percent by 2030. He’s doing well so far — we’re currently at 28 percent — but in a metropolis like Boston, it’s tough to be a tree. There are narrow sidewalks, signs that can’t be obscured by branches and leaves, and pesky pets who treat tree trunks as their personal toilets. Still, Mosman is optimistic. “Boston is an attractive city,” he says.
He’s a particular fan of the Public Garden. Not on his good side? Tree-haters. “There are two kinds of people,” says Mosman. “Either you love trees or you hate ’em.” What kind of a sourpuss would hate a tree? “Oh, they make too many leaves, birds hide in them — my office gets the complaints.”
The haters don’t have a chance against Mosman, though. Every time a tree is cut down, he plants a new one in its place. He maintains all of the trees on city streets and in parks, and does a little emergency surgery when trees get ravaged by cars, pets, or high wind. “It’s shocking to me how little people know about the importance of trees,” he says. “They clean the air, have a cooling effect, prevent stormwater run-off, put out oxygen. And plenty of studies show that people who live on tree-lined streets are less stressed.” Except those of us frightened by camouflaged birds, of course.
: Lifestyle Features
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