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Our Public Trees

Arlington currently has about 18,000 public trees which are cared for by the Natural Resources Division of the Department of Public Works.  All trees within a public way or on its boundaries are deemed to be public trees and, as such, may not be cut, trimmed or removed by anyone other than the tree warden or his deputy.  No healthy public tree may be removed without a public hearing, notice of which must be given at least seven days in advance.

PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS

TREE-RELATED REQUESTS

To request the planting of a tree, get help with evaluating a street tree, or to report a damaged tree, visit the Town’s Request/Answer Center.  You will need to create an account, if you don’t already have one.

To request the removal of a tree, please read about the process first, then visit the Town’s Request/Answer Center to place your request.

To contact the Tree Warden’s office:  781-316-3311

LINKS TO TOWN AND STATE INFORMATION

Arlington Public Tree Inventory

Town’s Tree Division

State laws pertaining to trees

Removing damaged branches

Arborists remove damaged branches

SCHEDULE OF TOWN’S TREE-RELATED ACTIVITIES

All Year:  Prompt removal of damaged or fallen trees that block public thoroughfares or otherwise endanger the public takes precedence over any other tree-related activity.

February:  The Tree Division orders approximately one hundred new street trees which are shipped as bare-root saplings.

Mid-April:  Trees are delivered to Mount Pleasant Cemetery and “heeled in” until planted.

Late April:  Town crews have approximately two weeks to plant about one hundred trees before the trees leaf out in May.

Year-Round: Crews remove dangerous or unhealthy street trees and tree limbs.

 

TREE INVENTORY AND VALUATION

In 2017, a street tree inventory was undertaken in Arlington made possible by funding from The Department of Conservation and Recreation, Urban and Forestry Challenge grant.  The tree inventory was collected by Arlington’s Tree Warden, two hired interns, the Arlington Tree Committee, and many Arlington residents who crowd-sourced data using Open Tree Map software.The results can be seen in the Public Tree Inventory Map

 

The 2017 street tree inventory found:

A. Current Status:

  • Arlington has 8,734 public street trees and an additional 1,219 trees in location that may require maintenance by the Tree Department, including cemeteries, parks, the bike path, and school grounds.
  • The inventoried trees provide cumulative benefits from CO2 removed, storm water filtered, energy conserved, and air quality improved estimated at $758,320 per year.
  • The replacement value of the public trees inventoried is $43,000,000.
  • Fifty-seven percent of the trees inventoried were determined to be in ‘good health’, 33 percent in ‘fair’ condition, 10 percent ‘poor’ or ‘dead’ condition.
  • No evidence of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was found in Arlington
  • The inventory identified 6,401 potential public street planting sites.

B. Areas of Concern:

  • As of April, 2018, the inventory contained over 1,000 trees which require expeditious maintenance due to condition, size, and location, now categorized as ‘Priority”.  This number is constantly changing as teh Town completes ongoing maintenance and removals throughout the year.
  • Tree genus diversity is sub-optimal.  Arlington contains 56% Acer (Maple) genus.
  • Distribution of tree size is sub-optimal.  Arlington has fewer young trees (small diameter) and more mature trees (large diameter) than is ideal to maintain a healthy urban forest.
  • Arlington’s high number of ash trees (939 trees ) presents a significant risk if Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) moves into Arlington.

To review the 2017 Arlington tree inventory summary and Tree Management Plan based on this inventory, please see :  Arlington Tree Management Plan (based on August 2017 Town Tree Inventory)

Prior inventory:

A study was undertaken in 1998 by the Town of Arlington with the guidance of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management to assess the condition and to valuate the Town’s trees.  The results of this study are highlighted below:

  • The total estimated value of Arlington’s trees was $60,826,000.
  • The estimated 24,500 trees within 20 ft of the curb that were owned or controlled by the Town of Arlington represented 69 species.
  • The most common species was Norway Maple (40.8%), followed by Black Oak (5.1%), Hemlock (4.2%), and Arborvitae (4.0%).
  • 44.2% of all Arlington trees were in fair to poor condition.

You can read the complete report of the study results here.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

ARLINGTON’S MOST COMMON AND FAVORITE TREES in 1998

To see a breakdown of the most common tree species in Arlington as found in the 1998 statistical survey, click hereFor images of some of Arlington’s trees and favorites in the community, click here.

TREE CITY DESIGNATION

Arlington has been a designated Tree City USA every year since 2005.  To earn Tree City USA status, municipalities must … Read more.

ARBOR DAY

Arbor Day is celebrated throughout the Commonwealth on the last Friday of April.  In Arlington, the DPW Tree Division distributes seedlings to children in selected grade schools in Town on a rotating basis.  Read more.

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