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Wellesley Will: A Tree for You, a Tree for the Community

As spring approaches, the earth undergoes a metamorphosis. Brown and grey landscapes become tinged with green as new growth is stimulated by the promise of the warmer weather and longer days ahead. For many, now is the time to start planning for lawn and yard maintenance, new plantings and garden preparations. It is the hope of the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission that when residents make these plans, they adopt an environmentally-friendly approach to lawn and garden maintenance. The Grow Green Wellesley Initiative promotes education on topics such as natural and pollinator friendly landscaping, organic lawn care, composting, storm water management and more. 

Before beginning spring activity, members of the community are encouraged to consider using products and service providers that are safe for the environment, avoiding the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers and instead use organic and earth-friendly alternatives. For information about “green” alternatives to pesticides and fertilizers and a list of organic landscapers visit www.tiny.cc/GrowGreenWellesley.

Through Wellesley Will, Wellesley's Climate Resilience planning and action efforts, a blueprint has been developed for a sustainable landscape program. One key and simple way to combat climate change, global warming and species diversity in decline is to plant more trees. The benefits of trees are enormous. Trees and forests help produce clean air and clean water, prevent flooding, capture storm water runoff, which reduces erosion and filters pollutants from waterways, offer noise reduction and shade, create natural windbreaks, and provide food and shelter for many forms of wildlife. 

Every acre of trees meets the daily oxygen needs of approximately 18 people. Each human takes in about 740 kg of oxygen per year and an average mature tree produces about 100kg of oxygen per year. Thus every person alive requires approximately 7-8 trees worth of oxygen to live each year. In addition, one acre of trees can absorb the CO2 produced by driving a car 26,000 miles, reducing harmful greenhouse gases. Acting as the lungs for the planet, trees play a vital role in providing oxygen but the benefits trees provide are even more numerous. Trees reduce air pollution when they take in carbon dioxide, thus impacting air temperature and decreasing global warming. Tree transpiration, which is the movement of water into and out of a tree, and tree canopies affect local air temperature, radiation absorption, heat storage, wind speed, relative humidity, air turbulence, light and radiation reflection, and surface roughness - all of which can all have a significant impact on and cause changes to the microclimate. This can alter local pollution levels and summer air temperatures, affecting the formation of ozone which is reduced in cooler temperatures. 

In an effort to rebuild the Town's tree infrastructure, the NRC is offering Wellesley residents free trees to be planted on their property. To be eligible for the Free Shade Tree Program, residents must have room on their property for a tree to be placed within 20 feet of a public way and be willing to water and care for the tree. There are a variety of tree species offered for planting and interested residents can visit https://timber.constantcontactsites.com/ to learn about available tree species and request a tree.

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