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Charles River Esplanade gets donation for tree care

The Esplanade Association works to improve tree care along the Charles River Esplanade Park throughout the month. PHOTO BY AMANDA LUCIDI/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Esplanade Association and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation are teaming up for the next two and a half weeks to prune more than 172 trees in the Charles River Esplanade, according to a Feb. 14 press release from the Esplanade Association.

The project is paid for by an anonymous donation designated to be used for tree care on the Esplanade, according to the release.

Bartlett Tree Experts, a company that has completed multiple pruning projects on the Esplanade since 2015, will begin the process starting Tuesday at the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge and then proceeding westward to the Dartmouth Street Comfort Station, said Renee Portanova, the horticulture manager of the EA.

“Mostly they’re going to be doing what’s called cleaning the trees, removing any diseased, dead or damaged branches, and they’re going to be doing some structural pruning as well,” Portanova said.

Pruning is the process by which trees are maintained, and is important for preserving the condition of the trees and to ensure the safety of visitors to the park, according to the release. Over 1,700 trees surround the Esplanade, many of which are mature and contribute substantially to the urban tree canopy of Boston.

The EA and its partners will be removing three failing trees in addition to pruning the rest, according to the release. The removal of these trees is necessary, as they are unsafe to Esplanade visitors, but the EA does have plans to replace them later in the year.

Portanova said pruning can be used to make trees more aesthetically pleasing, but the arborists working on the Esplanade are only pruning for structural safety reasons.

“It’s really for the health of the trees that they’re doing this pruning of the limbs,” Portanova said.

Portanova said the trees that are receiving maintenance were carefully selected through a collective process led by Portanova and DCR arborist Jeff Enochs. The two organizations have worked in partnership for 15 years.

“Jeff Enochs has worked with me to identify tree care needs and approve the work order being carried out by Bartlett Tree Experts,” Portanova said. “Additionally, DCR staff will be helping to ensure safety for park goers near the work site.”

Portanova said safety is a priority for the EA, and because heavy branches will be falling during the maintenance, they have temporarily placed detour signs along certain paths to direct park-goers toward safer routes.

The Esplanade Playspace will also be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for safety purposes, Portanova added.

Several Boston residents expressed their approval of the Esplanade tree care project.

Courtney Zentner, 28, of the South End, said she visits the Esplanade on a regular basis, and believes the project will be beneficial to residents and the environment.

“I think it’s amazing,” Zentner said. “Anything that continues to make Boston better and greater, I’m all for.”

Maxwell Sherman, 60, of the South End, said he believes this project, unlike some others, will serve as a good use of resources for the city.

“[The Esplanade] is well cared for,” Sherman said. “The city needs to be greener than it actually is and [Boston has] too many developments right now, building things that aren’t even being used.”

Stephanie Aigbe, 23, of Back Bay, said she cares for the environment, and she is happy to see the trees on the Esplanade are being cleaned.

“I’m all for it,” Aigbe said. “I’m Canadian, so I love the mountains. I love anything that has to do with environmental friendly habits, whether it’s planting trees or cleaning them up.”

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