“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.

The second best time is now.”

Our town draws visitors throughout the year for its beauty with fully restored historic buildings, the old village landscape, and the shade tree canopies along its main roads and byways. The concerted efforts of devoted residents over the centuries allow our generation to enjoy this beauty.

Across America today more and more of the soaring sidewalk trees—pin oaks, lindens and ash—are wrapped with ribbons to mark their ready demise. Repaving, utility wires, old age, blocked safety views all contribute to this.

How do we replace this color, texture, quality of air, and life on our streets?

The Town of Sandwich has a mere $6,000 budget for all trees, shrubs, flowers, mulch, and turf care. We used to have a tree warden, separate from the Department of Public Works. Our current tree warden, Justin O’Connor, works within the DPW and provides so much more than tree placement, maintenance and landscape design to the town. He is one busy man.

Our town also has a Conservation Commission under the leadership of Brett Butz. They accomplish much through regular hard work as they preserve wetlands and other conservation areas. However, this department has no authority to beautify areas. Consider the entryway to the Fish Hatchery on Route 6A and Main Street. Reacting last year to the unauthorized cutting of more than 30 mature cedar trees along this wetland area, they voted to plant blueberry bushes where one of two uniform rows of graceful cedar trees disappeared. The conservation commission preserves wetlands, not our natural beauty.

Both the small budget for all beautification in town and the limited authority of the conservation commission invite a private-public collaboration for beautification. Many people contributing small amounts to care for and enhance our landscape can accomplish tremendous beautification. Together we will endure and replenish old monuments of nature for us and our children.

Felled trees require planting new trees. Traffic islands are often cared for by volunteer landscapers who would benefit with donated new shade trees. A new Brady’s Island cleanup initiative and preservation of a rare grove of streetside shagbark hickory trees on 6A at Chipman Road need contribution and ready hands. Consider a $25 contribution today to Sandwich Tree & Landscape Advisory Committee, PO Box 2031, Sandwich MA 02563.

Editor’s Note: The Sandwich Tree & Landscape Advisory Committee will be writing a new Tree Watch column for The Sandwich Enterprise each month.

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