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How to request to have a tree planted on a City street

Last updated:

You can make a request to have a street tree planted on the sidewalk in front of your home or business.

Step
1

Before you get started

You can request to have a tree planted in an empty tree pit. If there isn't an existing tree pit, the abutting property owner must be the one to request to have a new tree pit cut in the sidewalk. Before we plant a tree though, the spot must meet these requirements:

  • The tree must be 10 feet from any light poles, driveways, or hydrants.
  • The tree needs to also be 10 - 20 feet from any intersections, depending on the direction of traffic.
  • You can only plant trees on sidewalks that are six-feet wide (72 inches), not including the curb.
  • We aim to maintain a five-foot clear pedestrian path of travel on all sidewalks. But, we will consider a narrower dimension under certain circumstances.  Tree pits should be 24 square feet at minimum, and are preferably four-feet wide and six-feet long. Narrower tree pits will be considered on a case-by-case basis, as long as the overall pit is 24 square feet.
  • The tree species needs to fit the neighborhood, and there must be enough space for the tree to grow.
  • The tree cannot interfere with power lines.
  • The planting cannot located in front of a building entrance.

We also only plant certain types of trees. See a list of the trees we will plant.

Step
2

Call us to make your request

You can call the Urban Forestry Division at 617-635-TREE (8733), or dial 3-1-1 to make your request. When you call, you can also request a specific species of tree.

Step
3

Or make your request online

You can also make an online request for a tree planting through BOS:311. When you make your request, you can also ask for a specific species of tree.

Step
4

Wait for the City's response

Once we create your case, we’ll send an arborist out to inspect the site and see if we can plant a tree there.

If the arborist approves the site, the tree will be planted within a year of the case being created. We plant trees twice each year: in the spring and a limited number of trees in the fall.

  • Have questions? Contact:

    URBAN FORESTRy Division
  • Who takes care of the tree?

    We are responsible for the care and maintenance of all street trees. Our contractor warranties new trees and provides basic maintenance for two years.

    The contractor will water the tree once every two weeks during the growing season. We also encourage local residents to care for new trees.

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