Sustainable Marblehead plants 25 trees

Marblehead Tree Warden Jon Fobert supports a zelkova serrata as Brigitte Fortin and Rich Bowen fill soil in around it during Sustainable Marblehead’s third annual April street-tree planting. Photo by Spenser Hasak

More than two dozen volunteers, including State Rep. Jenny Armini (D-Marblehead), teamed up with Tree Warden Jon Fobert and Sustainable Marblehead to plant 25 bare root trees along Colgate Street, Dartmouth Street and Cornell Street on April 29.

For the past three years, Sustainable Marblehead has held tree-planting events each April to replenish populations in different parts of town, create a cooling canopy over the area, and absorb stormwater runoff.

“You spend less money on air conditioning in the summer, or if you have more trees, they filter pollutants out of the air, they help avoid huge rain runoffs, and they sequester carbon,” Sustainable Marblehead Board Member Louise Yarmoff said. “Trees really do have a lot of good benefits for communities.”

Yarmoff said that over the years, heavy winds, storms, urban impacts, and diseases have brought down more trees than the town has been able to plant.

50 years ago, Marblehead planted dozens, if not hundreds, of trees after the Dutch Elm disease killed most of the town’s shade trees. Over the years, most of the trees have been cut down either due to sickness, storms, or because they impeded sidewalks, roads, or electrical lines.

On Saturday, Fobert guided the volunteers through the process of digging, planting and watering 25 tree saplings before sprinkling woodchips around their bases.

“In this particular neighborhood, there are maple trees that are suffering,” Sustainable Marblehead Executive Director Elaine Leahy said. “Trees in urban areas last even less than just a tree growing in the wild.”

Leahy said she was grateful for the volunteers who spent their Saturday morning helping plant trees and learning about environmental sustainability.

“We are really so pleased with the turnout. It was a great way to give back to the community and get a lot of different folks involved,” Leahy said.