Boston Struggles to Meet Pledge of Planting 100,000 Trees by 2020
Many of the stately trees that frame Copley Square once again look to be near death, their leaves dry, brown, and crinkly less than a month after they replaced a previous grove of London planes that had been consumed by a lethal fungus.
If they have to be uprooted again, it would be the third time in about a decade, reflecting the challenges Boston faces as it tries to expand its urban tree cover.
“It’s a tough environment,” said Antonia M. Pollak, commissioner of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. “Our trees take a lot of abuse.”
Five years ago, city officials set a goal of planting 100,000 trees by the end of this decade, but they have fallen behind and are struggling just to keep pace with the high mortality rate of trees that have fallen victim to heavy storms, disease, and the regular urban onslaught of pollution, road salt, acidic soil, and reckless driving, among other perils.
The city and supporting groups have planted only about 10 percent of the promised trees. “We certainly hoped to be at a greater level than we are now, at least twice what we’ve done,” Pollak said. “It’s going to take a lot of people to make this work.”