Request a Street Tree

If you would like a new public shade tree in front of your house or a replacement tree, the town will plant one at no cost to you, as long as the division can determine a tree is sustainable at that location. In the case of a replacement tree, there may be a legitimate reason why the previous tree did not survive.

If you would like to request a street tree, please contact the Parks and Open Space Division at 617-879-5650, or click here to request online using BrookONLine. You can also use a SmartPhone to download the BrookONLine app to make requests from anywhere in town using a mobile phone. The Tree Planting Committee will review your request and the site conditions, and determine the species that is appropriate for your location.

"Back of Sidewalk" Program

An alternative to planting in the sidewalk along the curb line is to utilize the "Back of Sidewalk" program.

The "Back of Sidewalk" program is designed to plant new street trees in an environment that is more conducive to sustained growth. The improved growing environment provided through the "Back of Sidewalk" program will result in improved long-term health of the newly planted trees.

The purpose of the "Back-of-Sidewalk" program is:

- To expand the diversity of street tree species
- To provide trees where few exist now
- To extend the average life of new trees by planting them, where feasible, behind the sidewalk on private property

Click here to view photos and descriptions of plantings and download the "Back of Sidewalk" Tree Planting Form (PDF)

"Brookline has thousands of beautiful trees on its public highways and private estates, and its citizens may well be proud of them."
Emma G. Cummings, Brookline's Trees, 1938.


Increase Street Tree Diversity

Increasing the diversity of Brookline's street trees reduces the risk of blight (such as Dutch Elm disease), and provides a more varied look to each street. Species that have been planted include Japanese maple, magnolia, sweetgum, weeping cherry and Korean Mountain ash. Criteria for species selection include the size of the house, the width of the street and the existing tree species on the street. Because this program serves primarily to enhance the streetscape, the tree must be completely visible from and planted within 20 feet of the sidewalk.

Restricted Growth

In urban areas, opportunities to plant new street trees are often limited to small cutouts in the sidewalks called tree pits. This type of tree pit planting stresses a newly planted tree for many reasons. These include a restricted area for root growth that restricts the uptake of water and nutrients, higher temperatures in the summer due to the surrounding cement and asphalt, impacts by road salt in the winter and soil compaction in the spring, summer and fall. While trees are amazing plants, this type of growing environment is a difficult spot for trees to establish new root growth for the long term.

How to Sign Up

To participate in the "Back of Sidewalk" program, review, sign and submit the "Back of Sidewalk" Tree Planting Form (PDF). The Tree Planting Committee will review your request and render a decision.