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As a combination tribute to, and lament, for all the street trees we have known which will be disappearing and not replaced any time soon, and to increase awareness (if that is still needed!) of the hazardous trees out there, I have recently begun tweeting, in no particular order, one tree a day from the city’s list of dead and/or hazardous trees to be removed.

There are currently well over 400 that are tagged. It should be noted that not all dead trees are hazardous – some are very small, and some large trees have already lost all their limbs. But more importantly, not all hazardous trees are dead – they may have structural defects but plenty of canopy. And not all of either are on the removal list, which you could call the “known knowns.” Some trees get spotted by Marc Welch and his assistant, including on periodic city-wide ‘windshield’ surveys, but most get on the list by someone calling them in for inspection. Marc estimates that statistically, there could be 700-1,100 trees that would be added to the removal list if inspected. Call them the “known unknowns.”

The removal list should be up on the Urban Forestry page on the city website very soon; it’s just waiting on some web/IT work. I will post the link here when it’s available. If a tree is on the list, it should have a numbered metal tag on the street side (although it’s conceivable they could get stripped off by a passing truck or something). If you see a tree which is not tagged and you think it should be, it would be a good idea to use 311 on the city website to report it, or call Forestry at Parks & Rec (617-796-1500). Some untagged trees may already be on the separate pruning request list, but they could also have gotten worse since they were called in, and merit promotion (demotion?) to the removal list.

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