Bedford DPW Installs the First Round of (Almost) Free Trees

Employees of the DPW's Grounds Division finish planting a sugar maple, the first (almost) free tree - Image (c) JMcCT, 2016 all rights reserved
DPW Grounds Division employees finish planting Bedford’s first (almost) free tree, a sugar maple – Image (c) JMcCT, 2016 all rights reserved

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

Recipient Meighan Matthews filling the ‘alligator bag’ that will slowly release water to the roots of the newly-planted (almost) free sugar maple – Image (c) JMcCT, 2016 all rights reserved

Bedford’s Arbor Resources Committee (BARC) distributed flyers at Town Meeting in March, announcing the (Almost) Free tree project. Arranged in collaboration with the Department of Public Works, the initiative solicited homeowners’ help in maintaining new street trees for the town.

According to BARC’s handout, the installations are part of “a pilot public-private partnership we’re calling the (Almost) Free Street Tree Project.”

The Town will buy a tree and plant it in that part of a resident’s front yard, close to the street, that belongs to the Town.   They’ll leave you an alligator watering bag. You and your family get the pleasure and other benefits of the tree for the price of committing to watering it for its first three years.  While the pilot project will only plant 5 trees this spring, we plan to expand the program in the future and are collecting names of interested residents for both this season and next.

The response to the program was understandably positive, and planting began early on Thursday [July 14]. Workmen undaunted by the early morning’s heavy drizzle dug holes, added compost, and planted sturdy trees in five front yards around Bedford.

A truckload of 'almost' free trees, ready to install - Image (c) JMcCT, 2016 all rights reserved
A DPW truck loaded with sugar maple, Princeton Elm, and oak saplings delivered the trees – Image (c) JMcCT, 2016 all rights reserved

The first tree was installed on Rand Place, and homeowner Meighan Matthews said on Facebook, ” This morning we received a free “street tree” from the town in exchange for watering it responsibly. We’ll enjoy this sugar maple’s pretty leaves in the fall, and if we’re very lucky we can make syrup with our grandchildren.”

Dennis Freeman, the DPW’s Grounds Operations Manager and a certified arborist, notes there is a list of nearly two dozen households waiting for trees. The program will re-open for additional requests once the original list is reduced.

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