Preserving Trees and Planting Keeps the LMA Green

Recognized worldwide as a leading center of medical excellence and academic prowess, the LMA is home to 24 renowned institutions – hospitals, colleges, research organizations. More than 105,000 people are in the area every day for work, medical care, school, or other purposes..

Green space in this densely-packed 213-acre site is a precious commodity, and one that MASCO’s area planning department is committed to improving. Staff members work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the city and abutters to oversee the care and maintenance of thousands of trees throughout the LMA, and seek opportunities to add trees and landscaping to keep the LMA green. Over the last two decades more than 300 trees and 10,000 shrubs and annuals have been added – making the area more appealing for patients, students, employees and visitors..

Visible on All Major Roads
The evidence of this commitment to preserving trees and green space can be seen along all major roads in the LMA as well as on many smaller streets.

For fifteen years, the city, state, abutters and MASCO have worked to transform Huntington Avenue into a stately Avenue of the Arts. Last year, MASCO planted 21 trees and took on responsibility for care of more than 220 more between Brigham Circle and Ruggles Street – pruning, fertilizing, replacing dead trees and maintaining the underground irrigation system.

Adjacent to Evans Way Park, part of the Emerald Necklace of parks, MASCO worked with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to complete renovations of the pedestrian island that included planting tulip and shadblow trees, white Meidiland roses, 180 daylilies and 250 daffodil bulbs. These new plantings join the 33 trees planted during the first phase of renovations of the park two years ago. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a park abutter, is replacing landscaping this fall as part of the construction of their new building, which will open in January.

Along The Riverway, MASCO is supporting the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in their efforts to prune the historic oaks that line the road. MASCO made a $1,000 contribution to the Friends of the Muddy River in honor of Isabella Callanan, a long-time advocate of the Emerald Necklace parks and historic trees. These funds will be part of the matching grant to support this work.

Ash trees on The Fenway lend a strong rhythm to the road, so when one is damaged or destroyed it is very apparent. MASCO has replaced several of the trees, with DCR and abutter approval, to preserve the intended pacing.

On Palace and Pilgrim roads recent pruning of 53 trees removed low-hanging branches, trimmed limbs away from buildings, and helped make the trees more structurally sound and visually appealing. The trees were among the hundreds planted by MASCO over the years.

Along Avenue Louis Pasteur MASCO is working with arborists to preserve the 50 historic Linden trees that Frederick Law Olmsted selected to frame the view of Harvard Medical School. Many of the trees are reaching their natural maturity. For the last decade, efforts to save them have included spraying for insects, structural pruning and fertilizing. Several of the trees seem to be improving; those that have not survived will be replaced. MASCO will work with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and abutters to develop a long-term plan to address issues of soil compaction and salt contamination. Other work completed in this area includes working with Harvard Medical School to double the size of Oscar Tugo Circle and adding plantings to improve the safety and appearance of the pedestrian crossing at the intersection with Longwood Avenue.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center just completed a two-year project that expands green space on Brookline Avenue, on either side of the main entrance to their east campus. They reconfigured ground-level parking areas to expand garden space and added trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals, replaced sidewalks and benches, added new lighting and groomed existing plantings. Future programs include the addition of hanging baskets and sidewalk planters on Brookline Avenue between Longwood and The Riverway. For more information contact MASCO area planning at 617-632-2846.