The Removal Of Street Trees Requires City Approval
Illegal cutting results in fines
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For Immediate Release
May 19, 2013
Released By:
Parks and Recreation
For More Information Contact:
Parks Department
Parks@cityofboston.gov

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department would like to remind property owners and contractors that it is illegal to remove street trees without review or approval from the City of Boston Tree Warden.  Street trees on public property are protected by Massachusetts General Law Ch. 87, and may not be cut down without a public hearing and authorization by the City Tree Warden.

The street tree removal process is outlined on the City of Boston website at http://www.cityofboston.gov/Parks/StreetTrees/hearing_notice.asp and says in part:

  • The resident/abutting property owner submits request and site plan(s) to the BPRD Commissioner/Tree Warden for review by mailing information to Tree Warden, Boston Parks and Recreation Department, 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02118.
  • The Tree Warden or designee inspects the site to determine tree size, tree species, tree condition, and whether any other trees will be impacted by construction.
  • A public hearing notice is submitted to the local newspaper and a public hearing before the Tree Warden is held.  If approved, the cost of removal is at resident's expense; and $300 per inch of diameter of removed trees will have to be paid into the Fund for Parks and Recreation before the permit is granted.

In cases where a tree is cut down and that tree removal has not been approved, the property owner or contractor is responsible for the full replacement costs plus damages, typically three times the replacement cost.  

Anyone with questions concerning the process to follow should contact the Boston Parks and Recreation Department by email parks@cityofboston.gov or by phone:  617-635-4505.

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