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Storm takes its toll in Davis Square

Tree down in Seven Hills Park in Somerville

Roving UHub photographer Jim Kang is beginning to wonder if the trees in Seven Hills Park in Davis Square are particularly fragile.

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The compacted soil, and perhaps the kind of tree, doesn't allow the roots to form a solid deep foundation.

There's a Red Line tunnel underneath the park.

There is a massive concrete tunnel underneath them.

The way it has fallen over, I wonder if someone recently cut through the surface roots to do something like repair that sidewalk.

They're mostly Bradford pears, so yes, they are particularly fragile.

which indeed are more fragile than some other trees they could have planted a few decades ago when this park opened.

https://www.citylab.com/environment/2019/07/bradford-callery-pear-trees-...

These trees are from asia. They were cloned from a supposedly ideal tree by the US dept of AG. They have white flowers in the spring, glossy green leaves all summer and red and orange leaves in the fall. They cannot self pollinate and so thought sterile, but they have been able to pollinate with other asian pear varieties, which is how they are an invasive species. They are hardy enough to grow in any soil. However it appears that the lifespan is only 15-20 years.

It sounds as if both explanations have a lot of merit to them. The combination of particularly fragile pear trees, and an environment that doesn't allow the development of soil that protects the roots of trees adequately have contributed to this sad situation.

If the city decided to save money by planting more fragile trees than should've been planted in the first place when the park first opened years ago, they, too, are at fault.

that the grass of this park would have to absorb. The park opened a year or two after the Red Line extension in the mid-1980s, and Davis Square was a very different place then.

Bradford pears have fallen out of favor, partly for this reason. They are now considered to be an 'invasive species' in Massachusetts.

It sounds as if the city did underestimate the amount of foot traffic that the grass of this particular park would have to absorb, and it's true that Davis Square was a difference place during the mid-1980's, when both the Red Line extension to Davis Square and the park opened. It still sounds like the city made a major mistake, however, when they decided to save money by purchasing and planting Bradford Pear trees, especially since they're considered to be an invasive species here in the Bay State.