Saying Goodbye to a Tree in the Boston Common

This past fall, one of the trees in the Boston Common was confirmed with Dutch Elm Disease after tests were administered in a lab. The tree received several different treatments in an attempt to slow the spread of the infection between the fall and Memorial Day weekend, including injections of fungicides and insecticides. During Memorial Day weekend, the tree continued to show signs of stress due to Dutch Elm Disease combined with Root Graft Infection.

The Friends of the Public Garden’s arborist, Norm Hellie of the Growing Tree, has expressed concern over this particular tree for a long time. In the summer of 2007, the tree was in a row of three other trees infected with Dutch Elm Disease that eventually had to be removed. This group was located along the northeastern edge of the Parade Grounds in the Boston Common, by the children’s carousel.

On Friday, June 1st, the tree will be removed from the Common. We would like to say thank you to our team of professionals and everyone at the Boston Parks & Recreation Department for dealing with this situation and making the very difficult call that the tree must be removed. We will miss it, but there are many healthy, wonderful trees to enjoy in the Boston Common this summer!

2 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to a Tree in the Boston Common

  1. Rick and Tiffany Mulcahy

    Yesterday, my husband and I headed to Boston for our 5th year wedding anniversary intending to visit “our tree” in the Boston Commons. Anyone that knows us well realizes how special this tree has been to us. We would often pack a lunch, a book, and some chairs and spend the day relaxing, people watching, and enjoying each other’s company while under the shade of this beautiful, old tree. My husband had even created a memory box on our third anniversary centered around this tree. Last year on my birthday in November he plucked a leaf off of the tree for me to “hold onto until we visited the tree again in the Spring”. On the car ride to Boston yesterday, I half jokingly told him that when we passed away I would like a little bit of our ashes to be scattered under the tree because this spot means so much to us. My husband dropped me off at the park so that he could park the car. As I entered the park I thought I was a little bit disoriented as I couldn’t find the tree. I located the “football memorial” that stood next to our tree, looked to the side of it, and all I found was an empty spot where our tree used to be. I was devastated! I called my husband on his cell phone who was trying to park the car on a Saturday in Boston, crying hysterically. He was not too amused by what he thought was a joke but still very patient with me. He soon realized that it was not a joke. This has saddened us deeply and will miss this tree more than one would have thought. We want to thank all those that were involved in attempting to preserve the tree. We wish we would have know in advance so that we could have salvaged a piece for our own keepsake.
    ~Rick and Tiffany Mulcahy
    Pembroke, NH

  2. Its hard to determine the cause of infections somewhat now-a-days when it comes to tree care. Because there are so many different pests in the world now that cause infection, EAB, Japanese beetles, theres all sorts. Its just a shame that during the time symptoms start showing of infection, its usually too late for the tree. But you can always go out on “an extra limb” (HAHAHAHA) and try to take samples of branches and pruning the ones nearer from the base and examine.

    -Tony Salmeron

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