Metal fencing set to protect 400-year-old Sunderland tree

The historic Buttonball Tree on North Main Street in Sunderland, Massachusets, will be surrounded by metal fencing after local residents raised concerns about an upcoming road reconstruction project and its potential impact, a recent news report in the local media has been able to suggest.

Select Board member Tom Fydenkevez said at a board meeting last week that he and Town Administrator Geoff Kravitz met at the Buttonball Tree on April 9 with a representative from the state Department of Transportation, the contractor for the project, arborists and others to consider ways to protect the tree, an American sycamore on North Main Street (Route 47) believed to be roughly 400 years old.

A plaque, embedded in a rock in front of the tree, states the National Arborist Association and the International Society of Arboriculture in 1987 jointly recognized the tree as having been in Sunderland when the U.S. Constitution was signed 200 years earlier.

The meeting with the contractor followed a demonstration on April 5, where residents gathered at the tree to advocate for its protection during the upcoming road construction project, which will involve widening nearby sidewalks and replacing a storm drain under the road. The project is expected to be mostly completed by October.

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