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Brookline is planning to plant a mini-forest in a park near you. Lend your thoughts at upcoming public hearings at the Parks and Rec Commission Public Hearing on June 13 at 6:00 pm. Go to the Town’s Park and Rec Commission webpage to register or email [email protected] or [email protected].
Mini-forests have been planted in many countries, from France and the Netherlands in Europe, to Indiaand Japan. Mini-forests have also been planted in several cities in the U.S. The first mini-forest in NewEngland was planted at Danehy Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2021. Cambridge planted itssecond mini-forest in 2022.
All of the vegetation planted in a mini-forest must be native to the region and should be compatiblewith conditions unique to the planting site. Generally, between 30 and 50 different species are planted.Most of the species are canopy trees, understory trees, and shrubs.The trees and shrubs are planted as seedlings. Before planting, the soil is de-compacted and enrichedwith compost to ensure that seedlings have access to ample food and nutrients. Approximately threeseedlings are planted per square yard. After planting, the soil is topped with mulch to encouragemoisture retention and deter weeds. Fencing may be needed to protect the mini-forest from animalsduring the first three years.
The cost of planting a mini-forest depends on its size and the amount of preparatory work needed.Expenses include plants; labor, supplies, and equipment associated with preparing the soil; andfencing to protect the mini-forest during the first three years. Planting seedlings is less expensive thanplanting 6΄-8΄ trees. Using volunteers to plant a mini-forest helps the town save in labor costs. Once amini-forest is planted, the costs are minimal. Periodic weeding and watering are needed only in thefirst three years. After three years, the forest maintains itself.
Brookline residents will be invited to share their thoughts in public hearings about proposed locations for a mini-forest. Additionally, all community members will be encouraged to participate in plantingthe mini-forest and helping with weeding and watering in the first three years. Most importantly, it ishoped that Brookline residents will enjoy the forest by watching it grow and experiencing the shadeand biodiversity it brings to the surrounding area!