Letter: Healthy native trees to replace those cut on Adamsville Road

Posted 2/7/19

To the editor:

The Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT) has been hard at work at the former St. Vincent de Paul property on Adamsville Road. Anyone passing by has likely noticed the 13 …

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Letter: Healthy native trees to replace those cut on Adamsville Road

Posted

To the editor:

The Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT) has been hard at work at the former St. Vincent de Paul property on Adamsville Road. Anyone passing by has likely noticed the 13 buildings WLCT removed last September and the mature, though invasive, Norway maple trees removed last week.

All of these efforts are part of WLCT’s plan to create Westport’s first community park on the site of the 82-acre property. This plan was thoughtfully crafted over a year with community input, in partnership with the town and with a conceptual plan from a landscape architect.

Addressing invasive plants is one of the challenges WLCT has faced while implementing this plan. The Norway maple tree is one such invasive, and is one of the best-known Massachusetts state-listed invasive trees species. Seeds spread fast, then young saplings grow quickly, choking out native vegetation. This allows other invasive plants such as multiflora rose and bittersweet to take hold. All three of these invasive plants have taken hold in the open space on this property.

Even though Norway maples are invasive, WLCT understands how the aesthetic quality of these mature trees contributes to the beauty and design of the landscape. Before deciding to remove these trees WLCT assessed alternatives with a professional arborist.

According to Executive Director Ross Moran, “Unfortunately, we concluded that most of these trees were in poor health with rotted trunks and falling limbs. We determined that pruning the trees would not save them in the long term. We also needed to consider the safety of our visitors once the park opens this June.”

It is hard to see any mature tree cut down, but rest assured the landscape will not remain empty. WLCT will soon plant 15 native sugar maple trees to replace the removed trees. These trees are already 12-14 feet high and will grow fast to 30 feet in 10 years. Some less obvious but also crucial changes include the 100,000 square feet of impermeable surface now removed and the native grasses planted in its place; and the 50 new trees planted across the property, including the restoration of the line of trees along the main drive.

Transition can be slow, but WLCT has already observed improvements in the meadow after one year of management. Letting the meadow grow coincided with the return of eastern bluebirds to the site. If you are interested in getting involved with caring for the property or preparing for the public opening, contact Executive Director Ross Moran at ross@westportlandtrust.org.

Brendan P. Buckless

Outreach and Stewardship Coordinator   

Westport Conservation Land Trust

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