Autumn flame. October Glory. Green vase. Snow goose cherry. Autumn festival. Purple plum. Scarlet fire. Kentucky Coffee Tree.
The names of the trees Medford has planted in the city over the past three years read like a box of paint in such brilliant colors that they make everyone an avid artist to paint.
“I have no doubts that the people of Medford love trees,” said tree keeper Aggie Tuden, who continues to celebrate the city’s tree budget increase to $ 80,000 for fiscal year 2022.
The expansion, added to other funds from state and federal grants, brings the money available for new trees (and stump removal) to around $ 300,000.
Certainly, some of these funds are intended for specific neighborhoods; $ 150,000 of the city’s allocation from Federal Community Development Grants is intended to plant trees in low and moderate income neighborhoods. And the 2021 Community Preservation Act grant of $ 84,000, which the city only spent $ 5,000, is limited to planting trees in nine of the city’s parks.
Funds from the State Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) totaling $ 22,500 this year, matched by the city, can be used to plant trees anywhere in the city. And there are still DCR funds from fiscal year 2021; $ 20,000, also matched by the city.
“It’s a joyful thing to see a new tree enter the ground,” said Tuden, enjoying seeing trees in parks, lining sidewalks, on islands in the causeway and calming traffic jams. The goal this year is to expand the city’s tree canopy and bring trees to underserved neighborhoods.
“We’re ready to hit the ground rolling,” Tuden said.
The city expanded its list of trees a dozen years ago, choosing to stop planting the Norway maple, considered an invasive species, the Bradford pear tree, which tends to split after around 30 years, and the purple-leaved plum, a species better suited to gardens. rather than the city sidewalks.
Now Tuden selects from over 20 species, deciding which species is best suited for the location; the park differs from the downtown sidewalk, differs from residential areas. His choice is also informed by the trees available at the nursery that the city has contracted.
The diversity of the tree canopy can help control pests and diseases affecting trees.
“We have a contract with Leo’s Landscaping in West Bridgewater,” Tuden said. She walks around the nursery and tags the best trees available for sale. “My focus is on getting the best specimen and the right tree in the right place.”
Each tree costs $ 630, which includes installation, sidewalk repair if necessary, watering for one year, and a one-year warranty.
“This year, there was no watering problem; the trees really appreciated the rain, ”Tuden said.
A local non-profit group, Trees Medford, is also supporting the town’s tree planting program. He sponsors a tree adoption program, recruiting residents to water trees planted in their neighborhoods.
Residents can call him at town hall and discuss a tree for their neighborhood, whether it’s a new tree or a replacement for a fallen, sick or dying tree. After a site inspection, Tuden will offer residents a choice of three or four trees.
“People have a greater sense of belonging if they have a choice. It becomes their tree, ”Tuden said.
Interested residents can also participate in the city’s “Back of the Sidewalk” program. The city will plant a tree on private property, with written permission from the owner, within 20 feet of a public road. The tree comes with a two year warranty, then it becomes the responsibility of the owner.
Owners of commercial buildings can participate in the BEST: Businesses Establishing Street Trees in Medford program. The company can contribute the cost of one tree to the city and Medford will double it with a second tree.
“The companies have contributed funds for eight trees in Medford Square and the city has planted 16 trees,” Tuden said.
Medford has been named one of the Tree City USA of the Arbor Day Foundation for the past 23 years and has earned this distinction for several criteria: the presence of Tuden, a tree guard, the fact that the trees healthy can only be removed after a public visit has been heard, that the city spends a certain amount of money per capita on trees and that it holds an annual Arbor Day celebration.
“It’s usually a big event,” Tuden said.
Two city arborists, Lawns Plus and Barrett Tree East, send teams to demonstrate pruning methods and show off their climbing and tree pruning skills. Their contributions are worth approximately $ 10,000 in labor at Medford.
The trees are pruned, others are planted.
Tuden, who became Tree Guardian in 2009 and was named Massachusetts Tree Guardian of the Year in 2015, was the only woman to achieve this designation.
“It’s an interesting way to spend your life; it contributes to the community, to the environment, it’s fabulous, ”Tuden said.