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Board Discourages Junipers and Oaks




While many juniper species are commonly used in landscapes, the Framingham, Mass. landscape guidelines discourage planting all its species. Perhaps they object to the female seed cones or the hard, sharp needle-leaves. While Framingham objects to them, it's asserted many of our earliest prehistoric ancestors lived in or near juniper forests, which furnished food, fuel, shelter and implements. The Navajo have also used juniper to treat diabetes, which is the subject of a clinical study.

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The Framingham, Mass. Planning Board approved new landscape design guidelines at a July 7, 2011meeting, but left open a provision for extensive edits to the 13-page document.

''Guidelines,'' while a little stronger than ''suggestions,'' certainly seems to indicate a fair amount of wiggle room.

One area of contention was the subsection "Discouraged trees and plants," which included (with certain exceptions noted in the appendix) honey locusts, juniper species, Zelkova species and American arborvitae (conifer evergreen native to Minnesota), plus nut and sap producing trees in high traffic areas.

Discouraging entire species of trees, i.e., junipers and nut bearing tress like oaks, was challenged by a board member who averred some oak species should be preferred street trees.

One board member said oak trees were discouraged because they ''bring in squirrels,'' and their acorns can be slipping hazards.

At least one board member called for removing the entire section on prohibited and restricted plantings from the guidelines.

The FraminghamPatch quoted Town Planner Jay Grande: "Again, these are guidelines. If you want to put an oak tree as a street tree and you can justify it to the board, then you can use it." Grande noted the board is free to amend the guidelines.

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April 24, 2014, 10:01 am EST

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