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Newton Tree Conservancy
84 Fenwick Road
Newton, MA 02468


News & Events


Late March (after ground thaws) - Testing for gas leaks at planting sites.
April 11, 2013 7:00 - 9:00 PM - Tree Stewards Planting training (classroom) - Albermarle Field House
April 20, 2013 - Planting training (hands-on demonstration and practice) starts at 9:00 AM
April 27, 2013 Spring Community Tree Plantings
(NOTE: Plantings will proceed in light or moderate rain, which is a favorable condition for the trees. If heavy rain is expected, a rain date will be scheduled
TBA - 2013 Fall Community Tree Plantings

NSTAR Tree Work - Update June 2012

The Boston Globe report on June 6 was shocking: "NSTAR is planning to remove more than a thousand trees near major transmission lines in several communities west of Boston, as the utility works to prevent power outages that hit the region last year. Cutting had started in May and was halted earlier this week after some residents objected, saying they are worried about debris from the trees. The transmission lines provide power to tens of thousands of residents." See the full article at:

Shocking as this is, we can at least be comforted that it is highly unlikely this will happen in Newton. Marc Welch, Newton's Director of Urban Forestry, has explained that this tree removal work pertains to transmission lines, wires that bring power from the electric plants and substations to the wires on the streets. Transmission lines typically run through private property and/or property owned by NStar. Marc believes that we have few (if any) transmission wires in Newton, and so it is highly unlikely we will have to face this specific issue. The tree ordinances we have in place would also apply should NStar propose to remove a tree on city property or on its own property.

We do however continue to face the normal NStar line clearance work (not tree removals but tree trimming). This season's work began in May with pruning on Route 9; NStar contractors will work on circuits throughout the city over the summer. The agreement between NStar and the City, re-negotiated in 2011, requires adherence to standards outlined below and City permission for certain cuts. Since the time of that negotiated agreement, the pruning has gone pretty smoothly, with the able oversight of Marc Welch. While some work last year looked extreme and severe to Tree Commission members, upon review we saw that it was within the standards, and generally appropriate to the situation. This year, NStar did request a loosening of the requirements, which was denied by the City, showing that vigilance is always necessary. A potential future issue is that NStar's merger with Northeast Utilities may change its tree trimming policies and budgets - so far there is no impact.

NStar standards from 2011 and Homeowner Notice with high-level instructions follow. For future reference, detailed standards can be found at NewtonTreeConservancy.org.






FOR MORE INFO VISIT www.newtontreeconservancy.org
MARC WELCH, DIRECTOR OF URBAN FORESTRY 617-796-1500 newtonforestry@gmail.com
KATHERINE HOWARD, TREE COMMISSION 617-527-1796 howard_katherine@hotmail.com

"Garden City gas leaks could be killing Newton's trees"

See story in the Newton TAB about a study conducted by Gas Safety Inc., for the Massachusetts Public Shade Tree Trust. The report, submitted to Mayor Setti Warren's office in January 2011, states that the Garden City allegedly has more than 378 underground gas leaks that could be responsible for the death of Newton's greenery. (May 31, 2011)

"Gas leaks could link to death of Newton's trees"

See story in Newton TAB about alleged damage to trees due to gas leaks, according to Bob Ackley, owner of Gas Safety USA and co-founder of the Massachusetts Shade Tree Trust (Sept. 01, 2010).

Letter to the Newton TAB: Newton's trees are a priceless asset

Read Katherine Howard's letter regarding standards for tree pruning by NSTAR (Sept. 01, 2010).


Fall Tree Walk in Cold Spring Park

Saturday, October 27, 2012 10 am
Led by Marc Welch, Newton's Director of Urban Forestry. Marc talked about the variety of trees in this part of Newton's Urban Forest: Cottonwoods, Cork, Castor, Honey Locust, and Boxelder trees along with plenty of Oaks and Maples. Walkers chose ten trees to receive identification tags to benefit users of this 67-acre park.

Library Speaker series:

On Tuesday, December 4, 2012, at the Newton Free Library in Druker Auditorium, 7 pm. Marc Fournier of Lasell College.

Saturday October 29th, 2011, 10 am - 12 noon


Newton Tree Conservancy went for a walk led by Marc Welch, the City of Newton's Director of Urban Forestry, through the beautiful grounds to explore and identify trees, both exotic and native, rare and familiar.

Tree Walk - Saturday November 6th, 2010

Marc Welch and NTC Directors/members went for an informal first look at the Durant-Kenrick House, a historic property recently acquired by the City and surrounded by specimen trees planted by William Kenrick, one of the first horticulturists in the country. They scoped out the trees in preparation for perhaps a larger tree walk in the spring. Participants also tested their tree identification skills and also looked for the Asian Longhorned Beetle. See link below for info on the Durant-Kenrick property. http://www.ci.newton.ma.us/jackson/durant-kenrick/index.asp

The address is 286 Waverley Ave in Newtonville, corner of Waverley/Sargent/Kenrick.

Tree Pruning and Tree Identification

Tree Pruning: Tues 9/21 and Thurs 9/23, 6:30-8:30 pm, with field work Sat 9/25 9-11 am.

(Three classes required)
Part 1 (classroom) Tues. Sept 21, 6:30-8:30pm
& Part 2 (classroom) Thurs. Sept. 23, 6:30-8:30pm,
Albemarle Field House
Part 3 (hands-on training) Sat. Sept. 25, 9-11am,
West Newton Common (Webster and Oak Streets.)

Tree Identification: Monday 9/27 6:30-8:30 pm, with field work Sat 10/2 9-11 am.

Tree Identification
(Both classes required)
Part 1 (classroom) Mon. Sept. 27, 6:30-8:30pm,
Albemarle Field House (next to Gath Pool on Albemarle Rd.)
Part 2 (field work) Sat. Oct. 2, 9-11am,
Newton City Hall grounds.

The History, Growth, and Future of Newton's Community Trees

Speaker: Marc Welch, Director of Newton's Division of Urban Forestry
Monday June 7th, 2010 - 7:00 pm
Druker Auditorium, Newton Free Library, 330 Homer Street Newton MA 02459

Newton's Urban Forest is a broad and diverse resource that touches the lives of many people in Newton. The City's Urban Forest is the foundation and frame work of the City's nick name - The Garden City. Early on in Newton's history the City's trees were valued and cared for as a priority of the City's government. This program will provide a glimpse at how Newton built and managed its Urban Forest and how its managers were pioneers in the industry. We will look at the major historic impacts to our City's trees including insects, diseases, and human intervention. The future hold many new challenges for the City's trees; new and innovative approaches are being explored to meet those challenges.

Marc Welch is the Director of the City's Division of Urban Forestry and has been managing the City's Urban Forest since 2002. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Urban Forestry and has been a Massachusetts Certified Arborist for over ten years. He is a past president of the Massachusetts Tree Wardens and Foresters Association and is an active member of the organization's Executive Board. Prior to working for Newton he was the City Arborist for the City of Boston and an Arborist working for the USDA Forest Service.

Tree Steward Training program - Thursday evenings, at Albemarle Field House.

Thurs eve April 15, 2010, 7 pm - Planting instruction.
Saturday morning April 17, 2010, 9 am - Planting hands-on session.
Saturday afternoon April 17, 2010, 1 pm - Pruning hands-on session.

In this fun program run by the City and co-sponsored by the Newton Tree Conservancy, we learn from Marc Welch, the City's Forestry Director, all about trees. Future Tree Steward sessions will include tree identification and biology. Participants can use the training to care for their own trees, and if they choose can become part of the growing contingent of trained volunteers who gather once a month for a couple hours to care for young city trees - to give them a strong healthy structure before they become large. Our monthly pruning sessions (Saturday mornings) are fun and are a great way to directly contribute to our urban forest. To register, please email Marc Welch at newtonforestrymw@gmail.com or you may contact the Newton Tree Conservancy at info@newtontreeconservancy.org.

Community Tree Planting

Volunteers will plant 50 trees at 6 sites across Newton. The neighborhood groups have agreed to water, and will also help plant. Additional volunteers will be very much needed those mornings to assist with the plantings! Your help those mornings would be VERY much appreciated!
Saturday April 24, 2010. Parmenter Rd (at Elsworth) 8 am, followed by Madison Ave, Lincoln St.
Saturday May 1, 2010. Webster St (near Waltham St) 8 am, followed by Cherry St and Chestnut St.
Any questions, please contact us via info@newtontreeconservancy.org.

Winter Moth: A New Invasion of New England

Speaker: Professor Joe Elkinton, University of Massachusetts Amherst Entomology Department
Monday March 15, 2010, 7 pm, Druker Auditorium, Newton Free Library

Professor Elkinton described state efforts to control Winter Moth, a new invasive pest of New England trees. Prof. Elkinton has been working on non-toxic control measures of this forest pest since 2005. He described efforts underway to establish a highly specialized natural enemy that attacks only winter moth caterpillars. That effort will take time, and this spring is predicted to be a severe defoliation year, so he also described ways to protect our ornamental trees in the meanwhile. In addition to the Newton Tree Conservancy (www.newtontreeconservancy.org), this event is co-sponsored by the Green Decade, Newton Conservators, Newton Community Farm, Friends of Hemlock Gorge, and the Newton Free Library.

Handouts from the Program:
The Winter Moth (UMASS Extension) (PDF, 428 k)
Identifying and Managing Life Stages of Winter Moth (PDF, 508 k)

MAY 2, 2009 Community Tree Planting on Watertown Street
In celebration of Arbor Day, and as a pilot for what we hope will be many more community tree plantings, volunteers from the Newton Tree Conservancy planted five tree lilacs on empty spots on Watertown Street in West Newton.

tree planting on Watertown Street

See more photos from our Community Tree Planting event, May 2nd, 2009 (opens in new window).

Homeowners at each of the locations have committed to watering their tree weekly for the first two years to help ensure its survival. Each location was reviewed by Newton's Director of Urban Forestry Marc Welch for suitability, i.e., not too close too driveways, manhole covers, or other trees. Tree lilacs were chosen as one of the species appropriate for planting under utility wires.

The plantings were done on a Saturday morning. Before planting began, Newton's Director of Urban Forestry Marc Welch gave a tutorial on how to plant a bare root tree. Bare root trees are less expensive to buy, and easier to plant than balled & burlap trees. They are much less heavy to lift and do not require the digging of deep holes.

After planting, each tree was equipped with a TreeGator bag to facilitate watering. The bag is filled with 20 gallons of water once a week from spring to fall (while the tree has leaves) to ensure adequate water. The water drains over a period of several hours, so it soaks the ground instead of running off.

Since this initial planting, we have received a generous grant from Newton Pride's Leo L. Levi Tree Endowment Fund which will enable us to do more plantings in spring of 2010.

Whether you are a formal neighborhood organization or a group of neighbors on a street or block who would like more trees, you are invited to apply for a 2010 Community Tree Planting. Applications should be submitted by October 26, 2009. Bare root trees have a longer lead time to order, and we must review applications and place our order by the beginning of December. For more information, see the Programs page.

"TREE PESTS AND TREE HEALTH: Woody Plant Pests and Diseases"
Speaker: Julie Coop, Manager of Plant Health, The Arnold Arboretum
Monday May 18th, 2009 - 7:00 pm
Druker Auditorium, Newton Free Library, 330 Homer Street Newton MA 02459

To a packed house of tree lovers in the Library's Druker Auditorium, on Monday May 18th the Arnold Arboretum's Julie Coop spoke to us about tree pests.

Julie is the Manager of Plant Health for the Arnold Arboretum and is a certified arborist. She began her career with Harvard on the grounds crew at Case Estates in Weston. She was refreshingly "down to earth", bringing many samples of tree twigs and pests with her to pass around the audience, and she seemed to really know and love all the trees and samples that she wanted to show us.

Read more about this event (PDF file, 72kb, opens in new window).

Asian Longhorned Beetle News

Follow these links to news about the Asian Longhorned Beetle (links open in new window):

USDA to treat trees for invasive beetle, Boston Globe - April 26, 2011

Trees may get antibeetle injections, Boston Globe - March 31, 2011. Public comments due by May 7.

Officials to launch intensive search for voracious beetles, Boston Globe - July 6, 2010

Facebook: Asian Longhorned Beetle, Two Easy Ways to become a Beetle Buster on your phone

Race to find damaging beetles turns to radar, Boston Globe, July 12, 2010

A recovery takes root, Boston Sunday Globe, July 11, 2010

Officials to launch intensive search for voracious beetles, Boston Globe - July 6, 2010

On the July 4th weekend a small infestation of Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was found in Jamaica Plain (Boston). The site is at Faulkner Hospital, just across from the Arnold Arboretum. Six infested maple trees were found so far, in close proximity to each other, and have already been removed by USDA/DCR. Surveys will continue this week.

It is extremely important that we get the word out ASAP to everyone in the Boston, Brookline and Newton area to be on the lookout for:

  • Adult Asian longhorned beetles (shiny black beetles with white spots and long, banded antennae)
  • ALB exit holes (dime-sized, perfectly round holes, especially in maple, but also in birch, elm, horsechestnut, willow and other hardwood trees... but not oak)
  • ALB egg-laying sites (divots in the bark ranging in size from 1/4 to 3/4 inches across - fresh pits often have oozing, foaming sap)

Anyone seeing anything suspicious should report it immediately at http://massnrc.org/pests/albreport.aspx or toll-free: 1-866-702-9938. Take photos if you can.

If you are with an environmental group or other organization that needs outreach materials, we will provide you with ID cards, fact sheets, etc., for free. Just contact Jen Forman Orth (jennifer.forman-orth@state.ma.us; 617-626-1735)

Spread the word, not the beetle! Get all the latest ALB news at: http://massnrc.org/pests/alb.

. . .

"[Boston] Common found free of beetle infestation, Boston Globe - June 24, 2010

"Worcester braces for loss of trees", Boston Globe - Dec. 10, 2008

"Swat team takes to trees", Boston Globe - Oct. 18, 2008

"Tree quarantine takes toll as officials search for beetles", Boston Globe - Sept. 4, 2008

"In defense of urban shade - Beetles threaten trees in Worcester", Boston Globe - Aug. 26, 2008

Tree Restoration and Protection

New efforts in Boston suburbs to plant new trees and protect existing trees (link opens in new window):

Wittenberg: Combating Newton's tree losses, Newton TAB - July 13, 2010

Mapping gas leaks around trees: Part 1, (YouTube video).

"Group wants utility to pay for trees killed by gas leaks", Boston Globe, June 24, 2010

"Campaign to turn over a new leaf", Boston Globe West - April 12, 2009

See photos from our Citizen Pruner Training event, Spring 2009 (opens in new window).

In this fun program run by the City and co-sponsored by the Newton Tree Conservancy, we learned from Marc Welch, the City's Forestry Director, about trees and tree pruning and then we got to practice it. Participants can use the training to care for their own trees, and if they so choose they can become part of our growing contingent of trained volunteers who gather about once a month for a couple hours to care for young city trees - to give them a strong healthy structure before they become large. Our monthly pruning sessions (Saturday mornings) are fun and are a great way to directly contribute to our urban forest. To register, please email Marc Welch at newtonforestrymw@gmail.com or you may respond to Contact Us on this website and we will forward.

"Tree Updates"

Read a summary of the Fall Kickoff Event, plus other news about this year's acorn crop and the Asian Longhorned Beetle, in "Tree Updates" by Katherine Howard (PDF file).

See photos from our Fall kickoff event, Sunday October 26, 2008 (opens in new window).

You can go on your own tree walk in the Newton Cemetery, using the map (PDF, 604 kb) and tree list (56 kb) provided (documents open in new window):

thumbnail of Newton Cemetery map    thumbnail of Tree List

The map and list have been provided by the Newton Cemetery Office, located at 791 Walnut Street, (617) 332-0047.

"Saving Newton's trees"

Read "Saving Newton's trees" by Julia Malakie, Newton TAB, October 7, 2008 (opens in new window).

Our co-sponsors include the Newton Conservators, Newton Pride, and The Arnold Arboretum.

The Newton Tree Conservancy is a new non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to better stewardship of our trees through community outreach and educational programs, and by raising funds for the preservation and planting of trees in Newton.


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