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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.

                                       Find TFW on facebook


TFW's 2017 pilot Teen Tree Stewardship program will continue in 2018 with a new name:  Teens for Trees

Photo:  Craig F. Walker/Boston Globe Staff

February 2018:  TFW is delighted to continue this paid internship opportunity for Watertown teens in Summer 2018.  This is chance for students to contribute to Watertown, learning about the benefits of urban shade trees along with ways to meet the important challenges of ensuring a healthy urban forest. 

With input from arboricultural experts, an expanded group of up to 16 teens will be helping support Watertown's urban forest in a variety of creative ways, including inventorying Watertown's public shade trees, providing watering and minor maintenance to new tree plantings, and developing creative ways to engage and educate their fellow Watertown citizens.

Planning and fundraising for the 2018 program is under way.  We do need financial support to expand this program! 

To find out more about this exciting program, please contact David Meshoulam (daveedmeshATgmail.com), TFW Teens for Trees Coordinator.  Thank you!

Congratulations to this year's student winners of Trees For Watertown's Big Tree Contest!  

November 2017:  Big healthy city shade trees are good for human health, good for the environment, and good for community well-being.  TFW's Big Tree Contest gives Watertown students in Grades K through 8 an opportunity to win a prize for reporting the biggest Watertown tree they can find, with a focus on six specific tree species each year.  The biggest entry reported for each species wins a gift certificate to Belmont Book Store. 

Lily Finton with linden

Lily Finton with the winning 65" diameter Linden at 24 Garfield Street

Congratulations to the following four students for reporting the most impressive specimens of four contest species this year:  Cameron Burke from Cuniff School found a 63" diameter maple tree at 17 Nyack Street, Lily Finton from Hosmer School found a 65" diameter linden tree at 24 Garfield Street, Liiana Ng from the 3rd grade at Hosmer School found a 58" diameter oak tree on the Hosmer playground, and Ryland Schrader from Hosmer School found a 54" diameter sycamore on Casey Playground.

Three more students won Honorable Mentions for finding impressive trees that were not on this year's contest list but are nevertheless worth noting.  Nairi Davidian from the Lowell School found a 49" diameter willow tree at 239 Edenfield Avenue; Caleb Kaufman from the Cuniff School found a 34" diameter spruce tree in Ridgelawn Cemetery, and Annabel Sasser from the Atrium School found a giant beech measuring 79" in diameter at 249 Common Street.  Annabel also found a huge rare pignut hickory tree at 183 Common Street. 

Next year the Big Tree Contest will be back.   Tell your kids to get ready for next year's contest by keeping an eye out for big beautiful trees in Watertown! 

Trees for Watertown is a non-profit volunteer citizen group dedicated to caring for our community and environment by making sure Watertown neighborhoods are beautified and protected by healthy shade trees, now and long into the future.

TFW's inaugural 2017 Teen Tree Stewardship Summer Program

August 2017:  Watertown's Teen Tree Stewards put together a downloadable Tree Identification Guide to 11 common Watertown shade trees, with interesting facts about each species.  Click to see the color booklet!

Read this excellent August 2 Watertown News article by Charlie Breitrose about our Teen Tree Stewardship Program.

And here's another excellent article about TTSP:  August 11 in the Boston Sunday Globe, by Sophia Eppolito.

July 2017:  With grant support from the Watertown Community Foundation and Trees for Watertown, a team of six local teens are learning how trees grow and how to care for trees, are discovering the many vital benefits city trees provide, and are exploring ways to help Watertown's trees and to share what they learn with the Watertown community.
For program info contact David Meshoulam:  david.meshoulam@gmail.com

Teen Tree Stewardship Program 2017

Above:  the Team with Program Coordinator David Meshoulam (4th from left) and Nature Conservancy Presenter Rachel Holmes (holding the Team Tshirt) at the Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities training conducted by Ms. Holmes on July 13.

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 meeting dates  and minutes from previous meetings.
Watertown citizens interested in trees are encouraged to attend!
Please drop us an email or call
to let us know you're coming.


Without adequate municipal supervision, and despite explicit tree-protective contract language, shade trees routinely suffer serious damage in road and sidewalk reconstruction work - especially their 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.  The tree well is fenced to protect this part of the tree's root system.

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)

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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