Preserving Wellesley’s trees — two ways you can help

Wellesley Station Oak
Station Oak in Wellesley Square, in all its glory.



Wellesley’s trees suffered in the unprecedented drought this summer, making them vulnerable as winter approaches. We’re asking residents to help by watering a nearby tree once or twice a week, at least through the end of November. The NRC has put together a map of the at-risk trees and can direct you to one (or more!) in your neighborhood. Click here to let us know you can help!

Rain and cooler fall temperatures have brought some relief, but our trees are still affected by water deprivation. Why do trees need help in the aftermath of a drought?

  • Thirsty trees are more susceptible to disease and insect attacks.
  • Trees slow down transpiration and photosynthesis when they don’t get enough water – eventually resulting in starvation.
  • Reduced moisture content in the wood may cause tree limbs to break.

Thanks to the students in the Wellesley High School Evolutions program, you can plant your very own tiny seedling from the iconic Station Oak (next to the post office in Wellesley Square). The Evolutions students gathered the seedlings and are caring for them as part of a tree preservation project with the NRC. In the spring, the students hope to find new homes for the seedlings on public land, in school yards, and with Wellesley residents (subject to availability). Click here to let us know you would like a seedling. 

The Station Oak is a Red Oak (quercus rubra) and was planted in 1890 by the Boston & Albany Railroad as part of the “railroad gardens,” designed in part by Fredrick Law Olmsted. In addition to providing acorns for wildlife, oak trees are an important source of food for hundreds of butterflies and other pollinators, as well as migrating and wintering birds. Planting an oak tree is one of the best things you can do for our local environment!

Special thanks to Kent Warren and Suzy Jordan at the Wellesley Department of Public Works for their vision and their help. Many thanks also to Wellesley College and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for generously housing the seedlings for the winter!

Sign up for an oak seedling!

I signed up for both. My foster tree is a stressed-out elm on Cameron St., planted sometime within the last few years. I’ve been asked to give it five gallons of water per week until the ground freezes, and then again in the spring and the summer. My plan: fill up five empty milk containers, throw them in a box in the trunk of my car, and stop by when I’m out and about running errands, doing a pick-up, dashing off to a Swellesley something or other…you get the idea.

I’ve got just the spot for my Station Oak seedling, should I be lucky enough to score one. There’s a bare spot at the edge of the back forty, where a huge maple tree went down several years ago. I’d quite enjoy spending the next hundred or so years watching it achieve the greatness of the Post Office Square Station Oak.