The Forestry Division is responsible for the care of public shade trees in Springfield. While our primary focus is on street trees, the Division also helps maintain the beauty of our park trees, shrubs, and other vegetation. The Forestry Division is committed to preserving the urban tree resource of the City while maintaining public safety.
The work done by the Forestry Division includes:
- Street Tree Inspection
- Tree Trimming
- Hazard Tree Removal
- Planting of Public Shade and Park Trees
- Stump Grinding
Daily operations of the Forestry Division include routine trimming, tree inspections and hazard tree removals. While the immediate maintenance needs of the City's trees is important, planning for Springfield's future urban forest is also a priority of the Division. Tree planting is an integral part of maintaining a healthy urban tree population. The Forestry Division plants trees in the Spring and Fall. A combination of contracted services, in-house tree planting crews, and volunteer efforts are used to acheive the Division's planting goals.
Planning for the future also means keeping track of an ever-growing list of invasive pests and non-native diseases of trees. The Division continues to monitor the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid within the City. We are also keeping an eye out for pests not currently found in Springfield such as the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer. Detecting infestations of these invasive pests early is key to managing the impact on the urban forest.
The history of the Forestry Division is long and pride in the Division runs strong. The Forestry Division strives to maintain and beautify Springfield's urban tree resource as we have done since 1898.
The Forestry Division was commissioned in January of 1898. The mayor, Henry S. Dickinson, appointed the City’s first forester, William F. Gale, on February 1, 1898. The division was assigned to the Streets and Engineering Department, and their duties were to care and protect the beautiful trees of Springfield.
The division’s most important assignment was the removal of the Queen Elm in 1898. The Queen Elm measured 23 feet 2 inches in circumference, from 3 feet off the ground. The smallest part of the trunk was 19 feet, 10 inches in circumference. The tree had 9 main branches; the smallest was 15 ½ through the center of the branch, while the largest was 3 feet through.
Over a century later, the goals of Forestry remain largely the same. In 1918 the Forestry Division was moved to the Park Department and has continued to provide care and protection of Springfield’s trees.
Following in William Gale’s footsteps is Edward P. Casey. Forestry is in charge of planting, pruning, and the removal of the all-public shade trees. Mr. Casey is a Graduate of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. He is an ISA and Massachusetts Certified Arborist. He has led the Forestry Division for over two decades and is very active within the community.
Since its inception in 1898, Forestry has provided services for the City and has handled many emergencies. Downed limbs, trees on houses, and trees blocking roads due to hurricanes, strong winds, and heavy snow have been handled by this division. Forestry is proud of its work ethic and is proud of its history in the City.
Today’s Forestry Division is not unlike the Forestry Division of a hundred years ago. We are dealing with very similar issues such as insects, diseases, hazardous trees, and the expansion of a small city. Although different issues are present the Forestry Division’s goals of maintaining the health and vigor of our street and park vegetation has stayed the same. The history of the Forestry Division goes deep, and pride in the department runs strong. This department helps maintain and beautify the landscape of this great city same as we did back in 1898.