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Trimming/Removing Street Trees

Downed tree on Minuteman Bikeway June 2010

Residents should contact the DPW via its Request Answer Center 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. 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. 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 Board of Selectmen.

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.

Trees that are planted on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.  If your trees are in need of care, it is advisable to contact a certified arborist.

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