Trimming and Removing Street Trees

To report street trees that are dead or dying, as well as dead limbs that pose a hazard to sidewalks, roadways, or privately owned structures residents can submit a Tree Request via the Request/Answer Center. You can also call 781-316-3311 during DPW Yard business hours.

The Tree Warden identifies street trees for removal beginning in late May or early June, when healthy trees have leafed out and dead or dying specimens can easily be identified. Tree crews also keep an eye out for hazardous dead limbs. Trimming and removal work takes place year-round, depending on weather conditions.

Tree removal is generally a three-stage process, and the work may be spread over several days. Step 1: The crew removes upper limbs, down to the main trunk. Step 2: The main trunk is cut into lengths and removed. Step 3: The stump is ground.
Healthy street trees cannot be cut down – either at the request of residents or the Tree Warden – without a hearing. The date and time of this hearing is publicized on a placard affixed to the tree, in the legal notices section of the Arlington Advocate, and on the DPW web site, here. Anyone who objects to the removal must protest by writing to the Tree Warden or by appearing at the scheduled hearing. The removal request will be turned down if there are any objections. In this case, the resident who wants the tree cut down can file an appeal with the Select Board.

Residents who ask for removal of a healthy street tree are legally responsible for all costs associated with this process, including notification, conducting the hearing, removing the tree, and planting a replacement in a nearby location.

Planting New Street Trees

The Arlington Tree Division orders about 100 bare-root trees in late February or early March, at a cost of $70 - $90 each. The orders are generally placed mid-March. The trees are generally delivered in mid-April and are heeled in at the cemetery for temporary storage. Town crews rush to plant the young trees within two weeks, before they leaf out in May. The crew leaves written watering instructions at the home nearest the planting location.

Many of these trees are already spoken for when they arrive. Residents who have requested replacement trees are at the top of the planting list; the remaining trees are planted in locations chosen by the tree warden. Due to budget constraints in recent years, the town has not been able to replace as many trees as it loses each year.

Another option is for residents to select and purchase a new street tree at their own expense, then make an appointment for a DPW crew to plant the tree in the curb strip. There is no charge for this service. If you are interested in doing this, please consider purchasing one of the trees on the recommended list.