Shade Tree Philosophy


Shade Trees

(Link to MGL Chapter 87)

It is the desire of the Selectboard to preserve, protect, and promote Northfield’s canopy cover for the benefit of its citizens.

Shade trees offer invaluable environmental, health, aesthetic and economic benefits to our community. To this end, the Tree Warden acts to recommend the appropriate tree species and cultivations along with possible site selections and proper tree care, including pruning, in our public areas, which include town-owned land, school properties, and public roadsides. The Selectboard shall also foster and promote good stewardship through advocacy, education, and awareness for the benefit and longevity of our shade trees.

Occasionally shade trees will need to be pruned or removed due to disease, death, or because they are a danger to pedestrians or drivers. We encourage you to sign up to receive notifications about the tree warden and highway department’s upcoming work.

"The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more," Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Shade Tree Administrative Guidance:

  • To encourage planting appropriate species of shade trees in suitable sites on town-owned land.
  • To seek recommendations regarding planting new trees, caring for existing trees, or ascertaining the health of trees under consideration for removal.
  • To care for existing trees on town-owned land by careful pruning to remove broken or diseased branches or those branches that are encroaching on the road.
  • To seek solutions to caring for aging open canopy trees that would not require their removal.
  • To remove trees only when they are dead, seriously damaged, diseased or a danger to people, and to announce plans to remove said trees on the highway department’s page of the town website before cutting when practical.
  • To hold a public hearing when considering the removal of an open canopy shade tree that is not dead, diseased, damaged, or dangerous, following the procedures required by MGL Chapter 87.
  • To recommend appropriations for the planning for trees in public and park areas whenever possible

Recommendations for Trees by MassDOT