city_hall

Official websites use .boston.gov

A .boston.gov website belongs to an official government organization in the City of Boston.

lock

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Global Technology Outage
/
City of Boston services may be impacted by a global technology service outage. We encourage residents to call ahead before attempting to access services at municipal buildings. We will provide additional updates as they become available.

How to Request a Tree Removal Hearing

Last updated:

If you need to remove a street tree for construction or another reason, you must follow the process in accordance with MGL 87. An explanation of the process and application form can be found here.

Step
1

Making the Request

Please download the Tree Hearing Request Form below. Fill out the form completely and return the form along with a site plan and any pertinent documents to trees@boston.gov.

If sets of plans are not easily sent electronically, they can be dropped off at the Parks and Recreation Department main office at: 1010 Mass Ave. Dorchester, MA 02118.

Download the Form

The review process will not begin until all documentation has been properly submitted.
Step
2

Holding a Public Tree Hearing

The Tree Warden and members of the Parks Department will review all submitted information. The Tree Warden will also conduct an evaluation of all public shade trees that will be impacted by the project. After the evaluation of the tree(s), a public tree hearing will be scheduled at the next available date. Tree hearings are scheduled for the first Thursday of each month starting at 10 a.m. All meetings are virtual. If the first Thursday of the month is a holiday observed by the city, public tree hearings will be scheduled for the second Thursday of the month.

We post all of our upcoming hearings on the public notices section of boston.gov. The public hearing notice will also be published in the newspaper and on the urban forestry webpage section about Participation in the Public Tree Ordinance Process. Notice will also be posted on the impacted trees at least 7 days before the hearing.

During the tree hearing the proponent will explain the project, the Tree Warden will describe the impacted tree(s) and the public will be able to make comment in support or against the impact to public shade trees. The public may submit comments in writing prior to the meeting in addition to commenting in person at the meeting. Public comments can impact the outcome of the hearing.

If approval is given to remove a tree(s), the removal costs and replacement fee are the responsibility of the proponent making the request. Tree replacement fees paid go into the Fund for Parks and Recreation. Please note, there is a possibility to recoup the replacement funds determined by a formula which will be outlined during the tree hearing.

 

Step
3

Wait for the City's Decision

You will receive notice of the outcome of the tree hearing within two weeks of the hearing date.

Understanding the Process

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 87 has been in effect for over a century and extends protections to public shade trees. A public shade tree, often referred to as a street tree, is a tree located within the public right of way of a city street - generally the area between the curb and the back edge of the sidewalk. The Parks and Recreation Department maintains these trees for the benefit of the public. The Parks Department will remove trees that are evaluated by a certified arborist and found to be dead, diseased or dying, or posing a risk to public safety.

If an entity proposes to remove a healthy and viable public shade tree to accommodate a construction project or some other endeavor, they will need to request a Public Tree Hearing conducted by the City’s Tree Warden.

Understanding the Cost

The work to remove a healthy and viable tree, if granted, would be contracted by the proponent at their own expense. The proponent would also be required to pay a replacement fee to mitigate the loss of the tree from the urban tree canopy. The current replacement cost is $550 per diameter inch of the tree being removed (measured at 4.5 feet above grade).  There is no cost for the tree hearing itself.

Join a tree removal hearing

Want to attend an upcoming tree removal hearing? We have information about how to take part in Parks and Recreation hearings:

Attend a Parks hearing

Upcoming hearings

More tree removal hearings
Back to top