City removes 10 linden trees from Back Bay street

Boston, MA - 6/4/2017 - Passersby walk near the houses on St. Germain Street in the Fenway neighborhood in Boston, MA, June 4, 2017. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
Keith Bedford/Globe Staff
St. Germain Street in Boston.

If you live on one Back Bay street, you might have noticed your neighborhood is a little less green this week.

That’s because the city removed 10 linden trees from St. Germain Street after residents reported that they were dead or diseased, said Ryan Woods, a spokesman for the Parks and Recreation Department.

“There’s clearly some issue on the street that’s causing the death of these trees,” he said.


Just what that issue is remains unclear to the city, but the Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with the Environment Department to determine what might be killing the Back Bay’s trees.

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Woods said the city’s trees have been killed in the past by gas leaks in pipes underground, or residents covering the soil in rock salt in an annual attempt to melt ice and snow.

It’s “very rare” for city trees to die in Boston, he said.

When a Boston resident requests that the city remove a healthy tree, typically to make room for new construction or property expansion, the city holds a public meeting to discuss the request, said Woods.

If the removal is approved, the resident making the request pays a fee of $300 per inch of diameter of the tree to the city’s Fund for Parks and Recreation, according to the department’s website.


But the city’s arborist can remove a tree without a hearing if needed, he said.

“Any tree that’s dead or deceased is removed by the City of Boston as a precaution so they don’t fall and hurt anyone or hit any cars,” he said.

This isn’t the first batch of trees that the city has removed in the Back Bay in recent years due to disease, Woods said.

“To add to this, 12 additional trees were removed in January on the same street,” Woods said.

After they were removed, the city replaced them with 12 new trees, two of which have died since being planted.


“It’s clearly an issue,” Woods said.

Alyssa Meyers can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ameyers_.