Beacon Hill Trees
To the Editor:
About fifteen years ago I participated in a tree inventory project with the Urban Ecology Institute that targeted various city neighborhoods, including the South End and East Boston but not Beacon Hill. It was a partnership between the City’s Parks Department, the Institute, Tufts University, and Boston’s Urban Forest Coalition. Volunteers were provided with digital devices to input data about each tree, such as species, age, and health.
I am glad to learn that an inventory has finally been completed for our neighborhood but curious why Ailthanthus altissima was omitted. I would be surprised if it doesn’t qualify among the top 10 most common ‘trees’ on the Hill — even though it’s not a tree by definition. In fact, it’s a highly invasive species, but this might come as news to many people. In 2005 the Urban Ecology Institute published “A Guide to the Street Trees of Greater Boston” and included Ailanthus, albeit with the disclaimer about it not being an actual tree. I dare say that if it weren’t for this much maligned invasive, the north slope of the Hill would be a much less pleasant and more exposed streetscape. Deborah Holt