Trees in the Mission Hill area and around the city have been damaged in recent weeks by wood thieves who hack off large knobs known as burls. A Dorchester man was arrested Oct. 3 in the Fenway on burl-stealing charges, but officials are warning residents to stay alert to any suspicious tree-cutting.
Burls are abnormal growths that may contain a complex, attractive wood grain pattern that is highly valuable for art objects and other luxury goods. City parks officials have noticed burl thefts this year on Evans Way in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area and other parklands around the city.
According to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, burl thieves have used handsaws and chainsaws, and even worn orange safety vests like legitimate landscapers. Residents who see anyone cutting a tree in a suspicious manner should contact Boston Police at 911. Any damage discovered after the fact can be reported to the Mayor’s Hotline at 617-635-4500.