Cambridge Tree Reports
Cambridge Trees is made up of three distinct sub-programs created to enhance the health and scope of the tree canopy in Cambridge. These are brand new programs that incorporate government partnerships along with public education. Trees clean the air, absorb carbon dioxide, increase property value, reduce noise pollution, reduce wind speeds, and can reduce home heating and cooling costs. By maintaining our cities tree's health and planting more trees, the community will be enriched and enhanced for all inhabitants.
Plant a Tree Program
The goal of the Plant a Tree Program is to enrich the urban forest in Cambridge by encouraging and assisting with tree plantings and care. Many Cambridge properties would benefit from planting of a native tree, but the owners feel disconnected from the resources and knowledge needed to plant one. The Plant a Tree program streamlines access to trees and tree specialists for Cambridge residents. Through the Plant a Tree Program participants can request a tree planting and will receive help choosing a native species, planting the tree, and learning to care for it.
Green Cambridge Tree Planting: Green Cambridge board member Elena Saporta, who has extensive knowledge and experience with native trees, will consult with the property owner on site to help select a tree. Through our partnership with Ricky's Flower Market, the property owner can order and temporarily store their trees until they're ready for planting. Green Cambridge staff and volunteers will assist with tree transport, planting and education.
City Tree Planting: For property owners looking to plant trees on or near the edge of their property, the City of Cambridge will do so within 20 feet of the sidewalk at no cost to you!
Water a Tree Program
The Water a Tree Program is a street tree watering program built on the success of our rain barrel conversion and installation programs. For property owners who don’t have gardens or green spaces on their property, this program enables them to make use of a free rain barrel to contribute to the environmental well-being of Cambridge. The use of rain barrels can help conserve water and prevent storm water runoff, a large scale issue in cities. Homeowners can apply to receive a free rain barrel, constructed by Green Cambridge staff and volunteers from recycled food shipping containers, to provide hydration for nearby street trees. This program aims to empower property owners who wish to improve the health and longevity of often under-watered city street trees.
Feed a Tree Program
The Feed a Tree program is working to extend the short lifespan of city trees by piloting sustainable ways to increase their soils health and nutrients. Urban trees have an average lifespan of 7 years as opposed to the 34 year lifespan of suburban trees. This is because street trees are grown in small soil pits and therefore suffer from having poor soil nutrients. Green Cambridge is launching a pilot study on the effectiveness of biochar in improving the lifespan and health of urban trees in Cambridge. Biochar is a high-carbon plant based charcoal used to rebuild and maintain soil nutrients. We believe that biochar has great potential to improve the health of our urban forest.
For our pilot study we are partnering with Bruce Fulford from City Soil and David Lefcourt from the Department of Public Works to monitor a small set of street trees growing in soil enhanced with biochar and comparable control trees. We will be doing carbon and pH soil readings over the course of several years and will release progress reports throughout the pilot. Following a successful pilot, the hope is that the city government and private property owners will use biochar more widely to improve the health of many more of Cambridge’s trees and gardens.
How To Get Involved
Green Cambridge welcomes new members to the Cambridge Trees Advisory Committee, which meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00PM in the Eastern Bank Community room at 1 Brattle Square.