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WELCOME to the website for Trees for Watertown, Watertown's volunteer citizen tree advocacy group!
     Trees for Watertown's mission is to care for our community and environment, by

     • promoting the planting and preservation of shade trees
     • serving as an educational resource as to the beauty,
       value, and requirements of trees
     • collaborating with town departments, local, regional
       and national organizations, and the public to support a
       healthy urban forest in Watertown, Massachusetts.


January, 2017:  Trees for Watertown has a Facebook page!

                                           Find TFW on facebook

June 30, 2015:  Watertown Town Council unanimously approved the following tree-protective language in Watertown's Design Guidelines:

Design must allow for proposed trees to grow to their mature size.  Planning documents should specify measures to ensure that there is sufficient space for water penetration and root growth and that the location is appropriate to the mature size of the proposed tree.

This formal acknowledgement of the importance of trees as critical green infrastructure is a real first, a watershed moment for Watertown.  Now to make sure Watertown can follow through!

May, 2015:  TFW planted the last three Osage Orange trees from our Grove Street tree nursery into fairly harsh street sites.  This is the second phase in our experiment to see whether this hardy tree species does well as an urban street tree.  This is also an experiment with bare-root street tree planting.

As of May 2015 the five Osage Oranges planted in Spring 2014 were doing excellently under the care of their neighborhood tree stewards.

September, 2014:  Contractors for the MassDOT Trapelo Road/
Belmont Street Corridor Project continued to explicitly violate the
excellent comprehensive tree protections in the MassDOT contract
for this work
despite repeated alerts to MassDOT and Belmont. 
The result has been severe and continuing tree damage.

Trapelo Rd contract violation July 2014

Crushing and tearing injuries to roots and root suffocation
due to soil compaction are insidious.  Loss of structural roots
will destabilize the tree. 
Depending on the extent of loss of
feeder roots and of opportunistic infection, it may take
several seasons for healthy trees to show decline - long after
the contractors have packed up and left.

This is why protective measures are so important.

CLICK HERE to go to a photo album of MassDOT Project damage
to Belmont trees.

On Saturday, April 5, 2014, TFW transplanted five Osage Orange
trees from the Grove Street Community Garden tree nursery 
to street sites where neighboring citizens have volunteered
to water them.
Big thanks for a successful effort go to Watertown's Tree Warden
Chris Hayward and Leo's Landscaping for preparing the planting
sites, to our hard-working TFW transplant team, and to our
volunteer neighborhood tree stewards! 

Here's the new Standish St. Osage Orange with two of its
neighbor tree stewards.

New Osage Orange on Standish St.

The Successful Tree Planting Initiative is a series of articles from the Massachusetts Urban & Community Forestry Program detailing how to improve urban shade tree survival. (Quick summary:  plant them right!)

Here are links to these hugely informative articles.

     Part I      Conducting a Site Assessment
     Part II     Tree Selection
     Part III    Tree Establishment

Occasional TFW articles in the Watertown Tab & Press give quick, easy-to-read information about best practices for urban home landscapes.  You can link to published articles here:

     Part I     What's So Bad About Leaf Blowers?
     Part II    What's So Bad About "Mulch Volcanoes"?
     Part III   What's So Great About a Shade Tree?

TFW's Osage Orange saplings spent three years in TFW's tree nursery. 
See how tall they were in Fall 2013! 

These trees were transplanted to sites on Watertown streets in Spring, 2014.  We'll update you on how they do.

Osage Oranges Fall 2013

CLICK HERE for info about Watertown's TFW-sponsored
public conversation on "What is a Tree Worth?"
Watch the video on YouTube!

CLICK HERE to download a brochure on
22 Benefits of Urban Shade Trees

Trees for Watertown's board meeting happens
on the third Wednesday of the month,
usually at Sasaki Associates.
See the TFW Calendar page for specific details.
Come join the conversation!

Next meeting will be Wednesday, April 19.


Without adequate municipal supervision, and despite explicit tree-protective contract language, shade trees routinely suffer serious damage in road and sidewalk reconstruction work - especially to root systems. 

Loss of a healthy urban tree has major, long-term negative impact on its neighborhood.


Here's a picture from Cambridge of the minimum  protective barrier recommended during construction work.

Huron Ave Tree protection

This an example of a street tree with both trunk and root zone protection.   This kind of protection should be routine for street work.

If you observe construction or pruning activities that you feel may be damaging public shade trees,

Utility pruning can seriously damage trees. See below for an example of the aggressive pruning protocol Eversource (formerly NSTAR)
 subscribes to.

For email or text message announcements
about public shade tree hearings or
utility pruning schedules, go to Watertown's NOTIFY ME website and select Tree Warden.

NSTAR Utility Pruning, June 2010
NSTAR utility pruning example

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