Tree Wardens in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are the guardians of municipal public shade trees. They have the authority to decide when and where to plant new public trees, and whether to allow alteration of the current municipal landscape by permitting trimming, cutting, or outright removal of existing public shade trees.
All trees within a public way or on the boundaries thereof including trees planted in a public way for the purpose of improving, protecting, shading or ornamenting the same shall be public shade trees.
A public way is a passageway for public access drawn out by the municipality. In Ashby, this includes the roadway and the Town’s easement on either side.
Public Shade Trees and the powers of Tree Wardens are defined by M.G.L Chapter 87
Chapter 87 Section 14 defines the responsibilities of our electric utility – UNITIL – for public shade trees.
Unitil’s responsibility for tree maintenance for electric lines:
From Unitil: “Unitil’s pruning is limited to tree branches that affect electric wires. We don’t trim trees or branches that affect individual customer service lines or phone and cable wires. It’s your responsibility to keep trees clear of the electric service line that runs from the pole to your house. “