Somerville’s Public Space & Urban Forestry Division Announces Preventive Parks Tree Health Program

Trees in City-owned parks to undergo preventive maintenance in 2020 following comprehensive health assessments.

Beginning in February 2020, Somerville community members will see preventive maintenance operations on trees in some City-owned parks, thanks to a new Parks Tree Health Program launched by the Public Space and Urban Forestry Division in fall 2019. The new program analyzes and proactively maintains trees located in City-owned parks using best arboreal practices to promote healthy tree growth. The program goes beyond standard tree maintenance to perform comprehensive health assessments of the trees in each park, creating and executing a proactive, preventive work plan for tree maintenance, and creating long-term maintenance recommendations.

Each year assessments will be completed at between four and seven public parks. In fall 2019, assessments were completed at Marshall Street Playground, Ed Leathers Park, Somerville Junction Park, Osgood Park, and Nunziato Park. Maintenance work will be performed at each park as outlined in the health assessments, available at beginning the first week of February.

Maintenance work in each park may include:

  • Pruning: Pruning branches is needed for the health of the tree, to remove dead or diseased branches, proper branch structure, and for the safety and visibility of pedestrians, among other things.
  • Root pruning to stimulate tree growth
  • Hazardous tree removal: Tree removal is always a last resort. However, in some instances removal is necessary to protect public safety. Trees that are deemed by a certified arborist to be dead or diseased, posing hazards to the public, will be removed. Although a tree may have some buds or leaves on it, and may be large, old, and beloved, if a tree is determined to be beyond recovery and to pose a safety risk, it will be removed to avoid potential injury to the public, pets, or wildlife.

The maintenance operations at each park are guided by the recommendations of the respective assessments. For full details of what the assessments include, and to review the reports, visit During the work, parks may need to temporarily be closed to the public for one or more days.

For more information about the program and to view the health assessments for each park, visit