Tree Protection and Tree Removal in Brookline

Photograph of large tree on top of hill with a clear, cloudless sky behind it

Public Shade Tree Removal

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 87 protects public shade trees.

The Brookline Parks and Open Space Division does not remove town trees without good reason. The town will not remove trees because they drop leaves or acorns, because it has grown too large or shades a private lawn, or because it is not conveniently located. The removal of public shade trees requires a public hearing in front of the Tree Planting Committee and the Tree Warden as prescribed by state law.

How to Request the Removal of a Public Shade Tree

If you wish to pursue the removal of a public shade tree you begin by submitting a written request to the Tree Warden, which must state your name and address, the location of the tree you are requesting be removed, and the reason for the request. This will then begin the process, which will include a public hearing, and culminate in a decision by the Tree Warden either approving or denying the requested removal.

Private Tree Removal

Brookline's Stormwater Management Bylaw (Article 8.26) was amended in September, 2018 to include tree protection measures. The Bylaw now requires an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan be submitted to the Town of Brookline's Engineering Division when there is removal of more than 32" in aggregate of "protected trees" (defined as trees greater than 8" diameter at breast height (DBH)). This plan should show existing tree locations, designating those to be removed and those to remain. A written description of the scope of the work and the proposed erosion control measures should also be submitted. Additional information may be required for projects of major significance. More information can be found by contacting the Town of Brookline's Engineering Division.