Commonwealth Avenue Mall Featured in USA Today

Photo courtesy of Steve Dunwell

The Commonwealth Avenue Mall was named as one of the top 10 great places to stand in the shade of historic trees by USA Today. The article reads: “This tree-lined avenue links Boston Common and the Public Garden to the city’s Emerald Necklace park system. ‘It’s the first urban greenway built in the U.S., if not the world,’ Birnbaum says. The nine-block route, developed from 1861-1880, includes formal plantings of elms, sweet gum, green ash, maple and linden.”

No Asian Longhorned Beetles Found in Search Last Week!

Photos courtesy of Liz Vizza

We had a successful hunt for the Asian Longhorned Beetle this past Saturday, April 16 on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The search was successful because not one was found! Thirty people, including a contingent of 20 BU students working with us on their Global Day of Service, were trained by our partners the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) about how to spot signs of the beetle. We fanned out to check four blocks of the Mall, using our tree inventory to pinpoint the host trees that are most susceptible to the pest.

The Friends of the Public Garden would like to thank the BU volunteers and MDAR experts for helping us to ensure the continued health of our city’s trees.

Support Sunlight for Boston Parks

Support the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common by signing a petition to protect certain parks from shadows. The bill, Bill H .1169, An Act Protecting Sunlight in Certain Public Parks, is sponsored by State Representatives Martha Walz and Byron Rushing. It seeks to expand and clarify the current laws that protect the sunlight on the beloved Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common by limiting new shadows. Specifically, the bill would prohibit any new construction or building remodeling from blocking sunlight and casting new shadows on six additional public parks. The goal of the bill is to allow reasonably-scaled development near the parks while protecting sufficient sunlight for the health of the park environment and the enjoyment of its users.

Five Boston parks and one Cambridge park will be protected by the bill are:

* The Back Bay Fens
* Christopher Columbus Park
* The Commonwealth Avenue Mall
* Copley Square Park
* The Esplanade
* Magazine Beach Park

The goal is to collect 2,000+ signatures by May 30th. There are three ways to help accomplish this:

Sign the Petition immediately
.  The online petition will be available until May 23.

Download the petition and circulate as many copies as you can in your area.

Invite other organizations and interested parties to circulate the petition among their networks.

If you would like to get involved in this important city issue, please contact Sue Prindle via email ( or phone (617-266-0212). She will collect the electronic signatures and will coordinate with you to collect the completed petitions.

Please consider supporting this cause. Together we can ensure that sunlight continues to shine on our neighborhood parks.

Search for the Asian Longhorned Beetle with the Friends!

Photo Courtesy of Michael Dwyer

Join us Saturday, April 16th for an Asian longhorned beetle tree survey along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. We are partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Boston University’s Global Day of Service. Anyone is welcome to attend, and remember to bring binoculars if you have them. Register on the meetup page if you can attend!

Background: The Asian longhorned beetle is a wood-boring insect native to Asia, accidentally introduced to the USA back in the 1990s through contaminated wood packaging material. “ALB” decimates hardwood trees like maple, birch, willow, elm and horse chestnut. In August 2008, a significant infestation of this beetle was found in the Worcester area, and close to 30,000 trees have been removed in the attempt to stop the beetle’s spread. In July 2010, a small infestation of 6 trees was discovered in Boston. Extensive surveys in the Boston area have not turned up any more infested trees. The Worcester area continues to be under management with a goal of eradication.

Public Garden Redwood on the Cover of Back Bay Sun

Photo Courtesy of Penny Cherubino

A Redwood from the Public Garden is on the cover of last week’s issue of the Back Bay Sun. The caption, entitled “Waiting with the Redwood,” reads:

Soon this bench in the Public Garden will be shaded by the freshly-needled branches of the Dawn Redwood beside it. In its native China, this giant, deciduous conifer can grow taller than a 10-story building.

Tree Damage in the Public Garden

Willow in Public Garden

You may have seen the storm damage on a large willow tree by the lagoon in the Public Garden. We have had it inspected by arborists. Although as you can see it looks terrible now, the stump of the limb that broke off needs to remain because removing this would take off too much of the tree and weaken the structure. Look for it to sprout out in the spring with new growth.