Neighbor Implores City to Implement Street Tree Guidelines Amid ‘Less Than Ideal’ Planting

(File photograph)

Environmental advocate and Haverhill Highlands resident Dave LaBrode is fed up with what he calls “less than ideal” planting of street trees across the city—including on Park Street in his own neighborhood—and is imploring local leaders to do something about it.

During a meeting of the City Council’s Natural Resources and Public Property Committee earlier this month, LaBrode—who donates his time to the Brightside beautification group—spoke up about the detrimental effects that could result from hastily planted trees.

“It’s great that the city is planting all these trees, but they’ve got to put the right trees in the right location, and in many instances, that’s not being done,” LaBrode told WHAV. “It’s only going to be a disservice later down the road when they have to repair the infrastructure or send out a tree service to prune or top these trees.”

He told WHAV about one particular instance on Park Street where a National Grid subcontractor hacked away at one plant, leaving a “skeleton of a tree.”

LaBrode estimates that 1,200 trees have been planted across the city over the last three years, with funding for those plantings coming from Haverhill’s budget, state grants, or funding through the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Conducting research alongside local arborist and Park and Tree Department employee Neil Kelleher, LaBrode presented the committee, chaired by Council Vice President Thomas J. Sullivan, a list of recommendations from other cities Haverhill could adopt into a formal policy.

Further, LaBrode hopes Mayor James J. Fiorentini—whom he said “in many cases decides where trees are going”—will reinstate the Street Tree Advisory Committee formed in 2017. LaBrode was among those appointed to the board, which has never met.

Sums up LaBrode: “I don’t necessarily fault the mayor. I just think there needs to be more oversight in the planting.”

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