A 44-year-old Boston man was arrested yesterday for allegedly using a chainsaw to cut wood inside the Fenway Victory Gardens.

Boston Police said several people saw Michael Scanian using the power tool to damage the trees inside the garden around 9:30 a.m., then fleeing to an apartment building at 15 Park Drive.

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department reported that within the last six months, there have been more than a dozen instances of tree vandalism where burls were cut off healthy trees on city property.

When officers arrived at Evans Way Park on the Fenway, they said there were several pieces of "freshly cut wood."


Police eventually tracked Scanian down to his apartment, and questioned him about the wood.

Scanian allegedly admitted to police that he did cut the wood, but said the wood "had been dropped off by a friend" whose name he could not remember.

There were also reports of trees that were vandalized in Franklin Park.

He was charged with willful and malicious destruction of property.

Boston Parks Department Arborist Greg Mosman explains that a burl is a growth abnormality that can appear anywhere on the tree trunk. Because of their rarity and unique grain pattern, burls are highly desired for woodworking, sculpture, and inlays on the interiors of high-end automobiles.

Mosman says the vandals use chainsaws to remove the burls, inflicting scars and injuries that adversely affect the overall health of the tree and can eventually lead to its death.

He also said that no particular species seems targeted with oaks, hemlocks, and lindens being among the species damaged recently.

[View the story "Park dept. barks about slaughtered trees" on Storify]

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