February 2016, No. 187

Developing a Tree Ordinance: Part II

Species Spotlight: Invasives!

Grants, Webinars, Upcoming Conferences, News, Events, and more!

Download a high-quality PDF here (1.5 MB).


Developing a Local Tree Ordinance: Part II

By Mollie Freilicher

In Developing a Local Tree Ordinance: Part I, we explored the need for local tree ordinances and described a few different types of ordinances. In this installment, we will cover sections of a local tree ordinance and include examples from communities in Massachusetts. We will be integrating part I and II into one guide that communities can use to help guide the process of adopting a local tree ordinance.


Sections of a Local Tree Ordinance

Title: The title should be brief and descriptive.

Tree Protection Ordinance of the City of Cambridge

Regulations for Protection and Preservation of Public Shade Trees during Construction (Town of Belmont)

Purpose: The purpose can lay the foundation for the ordinance and lays out the goals and objectives for the ordinance.

The purpose of this bylaw is to promote a diverse, healthy and sustainable community forest in order to provide for the general welfare of Orleans’ citizens. Public trees define public spaces and create a civic identity. This bylaw protects public trees located on public rights of way from removal or preventable damage. (City of Orleans)

Some purpose sections also include information about the benefits of trees and the urban forest, information that may also appear in a “Findings” section, but can easily be combined with the Purpose section.

Section 8.66.020 Statement of Purpose The City Council hereby finds that the preservation of existing trees and the promotion of new tree planting is a public purpose that protects the public health, welfare, environment and aesthetics of the City of Cambridge and its citizens. The urban forest serves a wide variety of functions, which promote the health, safety and welfare of residents. These functions include:

(a) conserving energy, by providing shade and evaporative cooling through transpiration;

(b) improving local and global air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and ozone, absorbing particulate matter, and producing oxygen;

(c) reducing wind speed and directing air flow;  […] (Cambridge, MA)


Definitions: Mass. General Laws, Chapter 87 does not provide definitions of key terms. Doing so in a local tree ordinance will ensure that there is no ambiguity in terms and will enable the adequate enforcement of the ordinance. The definitions section can develop as you create the ordinance and find the need to define certain terms. There are terms to define at a minimum: public shade tree, Diameter at Breast Height (DBH), critical root zone, tree removal, public right of way, and tree warden. See Appendix A for sample definitions.


Jurisdiction: Mass. General Laws, Chapter 41 requires towns and cities to have a Tree Warden, and Chapter 87 assigns this person the responsibility for managing shade trees along public ways. This section should assign that jurisdiction to a tree warden or describe an alternate process compatible with state law.  In some communities, the tree warden oversees trees in parks at the request of park commissioners. This jurisdiction can be laid out here.


Administrative Responsibilities: This section designates authority to enact and enforce the ordinance. Will the tree warden be responsible for overseeing the provisions of the ordinance? Will a tree committee? In this section, or in a separate section, provisions for a tree board or committee can be stated. If a tree board or committee is established, details can be outlined here, including terms of office, compensation, duties and responsibilities, operations, and policies.


There is hereby created a Public Shade Tree Management Advisory Board which shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Tree Warden on all matters pertaining to tree and landscape planning and maintenance of shade and other public trees in the Town of Grafton. The Board shall review the Annual Work plan for tree maintenance, planting, and removal prior to its implementation. The Board shall consist of six members […] Board actions shall be governed by Article 7, Section 7-9 of Town Charter (Grafton, MA)


Provisions for Tree Management / Policies for Management of Shade Trees: This section should contain the principles and standards that will guide the shade tree management in the community. Provisions for planting, protecting, maintaining, and removing

non-hazardous public shade trees should be included, as well as provisions for protecting public shade trees from construction. Designations for significant trees on public or private property could also be included in this section. This section could also address trees infested with a pest or pathogen, though that could also be in its own section.



Does your community have specifications for planting, such as minimum distance guidelines to intersections, road signs, buildings, etc.? Does your community not plant certain species, such as ash (for EAB) or red maple (because they are overplanted)? Does your community have a procedure for selecting nursery stock?

The distance trees may be planted from curbs or curblines and sidewalks will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in Section 7 of this ordinance, and no trees may be planted closer to any curb or sidewalk than the following: Small Trees, 3 feet; Large Trees 5 feet. (Amesbury, MA)

If there are requirements for owners of private trees that may impact the public right of way, those could be included in this section also.


What are the standards for tree maintenance activities? Rather than including a lot of technical information in this section, when discussing tree management practices, it is helpful to refer to published standards, such as the ANSI A300. Because those standards may be updated, referring to them will ensure that the ordinance captures best practices now and in the future.


[…] The Tree Warden shall make every effort to repair and maintain shade trees prior to their removal in accordance with ANSI Standard A300 most current edition. (Grafton, MA)


Are there policies, specific to your community, that define actions that may harm trees (such as topping)? These may be in addition to practices prohibited in Chapter 87, Section 9.


Tree Topping - It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm, or town department to top any Street Tree, Park Tree, or other tree on public property. Topping is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. However, trees severely damaged by storms or other causes, or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning, practices are impractical may be exempted from this ordinance at the determination of the Tree Board (Amesbury, MA)

Removal of Healthy Trees

An issue that arises in municipalities, and for which MGL Chapter 87 provides little guidance in terms of penalties or compensation, is the removal of non-hazardous trees. Chapter 87 does not require a hearing for trees that endanger the public (though it does not define what constitutes a danger), but it is up to the municipality to decide how a municipality can be compensated for the loss of a healthy public shade tree whose removal was approved through the appropriate process. Some municipalities establish a tree fund that people pay into when removing a healthy, public shade tree, often through a formula based on the DBH of the tree. Other communities require that a replacement tree (or trees) be planted to compensate. Chicopee, MA has a section dedicated to this particular action.

Trees on public property belong to all residents of Chicopee and provide a service that benefits all residents of Chicopee and may be assigned a monetary value. The first priority of the City is to preserve and protect all trees on City property. Any decision allowing the removal of a healthy public shade tree will provide for equitable replacement to ensure the residents of Chicopee the continuing aesthetic, environmental and economic benefit of that tree. Any tree that is designated a protected tree will not be removed under this process. […](Chicopee, MA)

Control of High Risk Trees & Trees Infested With a Pest or Pathogen: Forest pests and diseases threaten the safety of our urban forests, and a section in the ordinance can facilitate inspection, removal, and abatement of nuisance trees. A nuisance tree may also include high risk trees that occur on private property and threaten public property or persons in the public way. Emerald ash borer is one nuisance insect that is, or will be, in communities in Massachusetts. It would behoove a community to plan for potential problems this insect can cause when trees on private property die and endanger the public way.

Private Trees that Endanger the Public or Public Property: This section can address private trees that endanger the public or public property. This may include trees that are dead, decayed, or infested. In some instances, the trees may require removal, and in others, risk can be mitigated by pruning. Who bears the cost for removal or mitigation work? The policies for addressing these nuisance trees can be laid out in this section. 

The maintenance of any tree which is so diseased, decayed or infested with insects as to render the tree a hazard to the health and safety of any person or to public trees is declared to be a nuisance which may be abated as set forth herein. (b) The director of lands and natural resources shall have the right to enter upon any lands upon receipt of a written complaint to determine the condition of any tree located thereon. In the event that the director shall determine that maintenance of the tree or trees shall constitute a hazard to the health and safety of any person or is in such condition as to constitute a threat to other trees within the city, he or she may issue a written order to the property owner to remove said tree or trees. The order shall specify the reason the tree or trees are to be removed and a time for compliance which shall not be less than 14 days from the date of issuance of the order. […] (Westfield, MA)

Appeals: This section outlines the process for appealing a decision the Tree Warden has made, including what types of decisions can be appealed.

Appeal - Any person who receives any order under this by-law from the Tree Warden and objects to all or any part thereof shall have the right to appeal such order. The Board of Selectmen shall hear such appeal within 30 days of receipt of written notice of the appeal. The Board of Selectmen shall by letter notify the party appealing the order of its decision within ten days after the hearing closes and file written decision with the Town Clerk. (Grafton, MA)

Penalties: This section should contain specific penalties for violations and the entity responsible for levying penalties.

Severability: This section states that if any portion of the ordinance is found invalid in court, the rest of the ordinance will still remain valid.

If any section, paragraph or part of this by-law is for any reason declared invalid or unconstitutional by any court, every other section, paragraph and part shall continue in full force.  (Town of Lexington)

Your community may find other sections useful as well, such as findings, a section for evaluating the performance of the ordinance, interference with tree management activities, and policies. It is also a good idea to consult with legal staff from the municipality throughout the ordinance development process.


There are a lot of resources to help you through the process of drafting a tree ordinance:

International Society of Arboriculture: Guidelines for Developing and Evaluating Tree Ordinances: http://www.isa-arbor.com/education/resources/educ_TreeOrdinanceGuidelines.pdf

Developing Successful Tree Ordinances, North Carolina State University: http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/developing-successful-tree-ordinances.pdf

Pennsylvania Land Trust Association: http://conservationtools.org/guides/show/37-Tree-Ordinance

DCR Urban and Community Forestry Staff

-------------------Species Spotlight--------------------------

By Mollie Freilicher—Community Action Forester

This month, we’re covering another tree on the Prohibited Plant List:  black locust.

The Prohibited Plant List includes terrestrial herbaceous and woody plants, as well as aquatic plants. The ban does not impact plants already in the landscape, but it is a poor practice to plant, and unlawful to purchase or sell, any of the plants on the list (and associated cultivars). For native alternatives, check out this list from the New England Wildflower Society: http://www.newfs.org/docs/docs/invalt2.pdf

For the full list of prohibited plants and more information on the list, go the website: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/farm-products/plants/massachusetts-prohibited-plant-list.html.     


Black locust--Robinia pseudoacacia

Native to (with some debate) the Appalachians and patches in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri.

Form: A medium-sized tree to 70 feet, with a relatively straight trunk and a crown of crooked branches. Often forms thickets by root suckering. 

Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, with 7 to 19 leaflets, 8 to 14 inches long. Leaflets are oval, one-inch long, with entire margins. Leaf color is green above and paler below.

Flower: Perfect, showy, and fragrant, white, one-inch long and pea-like, borne in five-inch long hanging clusters, appears in early June.

Fruit: Flattened legume, light brown, 2 to 4 inches long; containing 4 to 8 kidney-shaped, smooth, red-brown seeds, ripen in the fall.

Bark: Gray or light brown, thick and fibrous, heavily ridged and furrowed, resembles a woven rope.

Twig: Zigzag, somewhat stout and angular, red-brown in color, numerous lighter lenticels. Paired spines at each leaf scar (often absent on older or slow growing twigs); buds are submerged beneath the leaf scar.

Where you’ll find it: Statewide, often growing on roadsides, forest fragments, and edges of fields. Black locust was probably introduced to Massachusetts in the late 1700s. Wood was durable, rot resistant, and because of black locust’s ability to fix nitrogen, it could also thrive on marginal land, making in a popular choice for planting in settlements.


Leaf Bark Fruit Twig Flower

Find out more:

Michener, David C. 1988. The Introduction of Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) to Massachusetts. Arnoldia. 48: 4.  

Images and text adapted from Virginia Tech.


-------------------Growing on Trees-------------------------

We do our best to ensure that listings are accurate, but please check with program organizers for the most up-to-date information on registration and other details.


2016 Arbor Day Poster Contest

“Trees Grow with Us and for Us”

Your school can join us!

All 5th grade students in Massachusetts are invited to participate in this annual contest that combines art and science.

Each year, over 1,500 Massachusetts fifth graders participate in the Arbor Day Poster Contest. The winners reap rewards including art supplies, ice cream, and a tree for their school. Each year there is a theme for the posters; the theme for 2016 is “Trees Grow with Us and for Us.”  

The deadline for the 2016 contest is April 1, 2016. 

2016 Arbor Day Poster Contest Instructions (PDF)

Questions? Contact  Mollie Freilicher at 413-577-2966 or mollie.freilicher@state.ma.us or Julie Coop at 617-626-1468 or julie.coop@state.ma.us



Urban Forest Connections

The Forest Service’s Urban Forest Connections webinar series brings experts together to discuss the latest science, practice, and policy on urban forestry and the environment. These webinars are open to all. Past webinar presentations and recordings are available here.

February 10, 2016 | 1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. ET 

The Forest at School: Implications for learning

William Sullivan, University of Illinois

Recent research suggests that views of green infrastructure might make people smarter – at least temporarily. How can this be? Smarter how? For how long? Does everybody benefit or only some people? In this webinar, William Sullivan will address these questions and add new reasons to invest in urban forests. He will explain how views to urban forests improve test scores and show how even if you aren’t taking a test anytime soon, a view to green will improve your thinking. Connect to the webinar here:  http://www.fs.fed.us/research/urban-webinars/connect.php.

Future Webinars

March 9, 2016 | 1:00-2:15 p.m. ET

April 13, 2016 | 1:00-2:15 p.m. ET

May 11, 2016 | 1:00-2:15 p.m. ET


Urban Forestry Today

No February webinar.


Thursday, March 3, 2016, 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET

The Neonicotinoid Controversy, Dr. Richard Cowles, CT Agricultural Experiment Station

www.joinwebinar.com 124-740-683

These broadcasts are free, and each one will offer the opportunity for arborists to earn 1.0 ISA CEU and 0.5 MCA credit. Part 1 of this tree protection series, along with earlier webcasts, can be viewed at www.urbanforestrytoday.org.

For more information, contact:

Rick Harper, Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


The Urban Forestry Today 2015 Webcast Series is sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Conservation, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, University of Massachusetts Extension, and Massachusetts Tree Wardens' & Foresters' Association. 


i-Tree 2016 Online Training: Tools for Assessing and Managing Community Forests

i-Tree 2016 Webinars

Due to overwhelming response, PRE-REGISTRATION for the webinar sessions is required in order to deliver the most streamlined attendee experience. - See more at unri.org.

All instructional sessions begin at 1:00 PM (Eastern)

February 17, 2016 - Looking at i-Tree HYDRO 

March 16, 2016 - i-Tree DESIGN and CANOPY 

April 20, 2016 i-Tree STREETS 

May 18, 2015 - i-Tree Roundtable: Answering Your Questions About Using i-Tree 

June 15, 2015 - Using i-Tree VUE and STORM 

July 20, 2015 - Introducing i-Tree Landscape 

August 16, 2016 - What’s New in i-Tree ECO 

September 20, 2016 - Looking at i-Tree HYDRO 

October, 19, 2016 - DESIGN and CANOPY 

November 16, 2016 i-Tree STREETS 

December 21, 2016 - i-Tree Roundtable: Answering Your Questions About Using i-Tree

Please visit http://www.unri.org/itreeworkshops/ to learn more, and to find the log-in details.


Upcoming Conferences

2016 UMass Community Tree Conference: Work Safe, Stay Safe

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Stockbridge Hall, UMass Amherst

This one-day conference is designed for tree care professionals, volunteers, and enthusiasts, including arborists, tree wardens/municipal tree care specialists, foresters, landscape architects, and shade tree committee members.

The theme of this year's conference is safe work practices. Topics include: OSHA and the Tree Care Industry; Climbing Tips for Long-term Physical Health & Safety; and PPE, Deer Ticks, and Their Management in the Landscape.

Registration: The registration rate is $65 for a single individual, and $50 for each additional registration from the same company. For more information and to register, go to: https://ag.umass.edu/events/2016-community-tree-conference-work-safe-stay-safe 

Sponsored by UMass Extension in cooperation with the UMass Dept. of Environmental Conservation, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the USDA Forest Service Urban Natural Resources Institute.


22nd Annual Ecological Landscape Alliance Conference & Eco-Marketplace

Sustaining the Living Landscape

UMass Campus Center, Amherst, MA
March 9 -10, 2016 
Learn more and Register Today!


New England Society of American Foresters 96th Winter Meeting

March 8-11, 2016, Sturbridge, MA, http://www.nesaf.org 


Fall River Urban Forestry Workshop

Thursday, March 10, 2016, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Location: Hearing Room, City Hall, 1 Government Center, Fall River, MA

This FREE workshop will feature presentations on current urban forestry topics and provide regional updates from area specialists.   Topics include planting near utilities, using i-Tree to communicate tree benefits, and preparing for and living with emerald ash borer.  ISA and MCA continuing education credits will be offered, and morning refreshments will be served.


2016 Mass Land Conservation Conference

“Managing for Success”

Convened by the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Worcester Technical High School

One Skyline Drive, Worcester, MA 

This annual, day-long training and networking event provides an opportunity to participate in a full day of workshops and discussions that focus on fostering healthy communities in MA through land conservation. Join your colleagues in land conservation and acquire the information, skills, and connections you need to be most effective.

Who should attend?

  •  Land trust board members and staff

  •  Parks administrators and advocates

  •  Federal, state, and local government employees

  •  Students

  •  Philanthropists

This year’s plenary speaker will be Dr. M. Sanjayan, a global conservation scientist, writer, and

Emmy-nominated news contributor specializing in the role of conservation in improving human

well-being, wildlife, and the environment.

Find out more: http://www.massland.org/conference


DCR Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grants

Next deadline: November 1 (Full Application)

Challenge grants are 50-50 matching grants (75-25 for environmental justice projects) to municipalities and nonprofit groups in Massachusetts communities of all sizes for the purpose of building local capacity for excellent urban and community forestry at the local and regional level.

The USDA Forest Service provides funding for the grant program, and DCR administers the grants with guidance from the Massachusetts Tree Wardens’ and Foresters’ Association. The DCR Urban and Community Forestry Program assists communities and nonprofit groups in their efforts to protect and manage community trees and forest ecosystems, with the ultimate aim of improving the environment and enhancing the livability of all of Massachusetts’s communities.

For more information on the Challenge Grants, including our Eversource Go Green grants and National Grid Partnership Grants, contact Julie Coop at 617-626-1468 or julie.coop@state.ma.us or Mollie Freilicher at 413-577-2966 or mollie.freilicher@state.ma.us.


Changes to the DCR Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant

In 2016, our Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant will move to one grant round per year. The annual deadline will be November 1. This move will enable the program to better review and compare grant proposals. Look for some additional changes to the 2016 program in upcoming issues.


New England Chapter-International Society of Arboriculture

Arbor Day Grant

The Arbor Day Grant supports small towns and communities that need help to build their Arbor Day programs. This grant awards $1,000.00 to a town, organization, or community that demonstrates need to promote and support their Arbor Day celebration.

Communities must complete and submit their Arbor Day Grant application by March 25, 2016.

Get more information and download the application at: http://newenglandisa.org/arbor_day_grant.



New England Chapter International Society of Arboriculture

Undergraduates and graduate students are invited to apply. Two $1,500 scholarships are offered for students studying Arboriculture, Botany, Entomology, Horticulture, Plant Pathology, Urban Forestry, or a related field.  Applications due April 1, 2016. For complete instructions and eligibility, go to: http://newenglandisa.org/student_opportunities.html.

Mass. Arborists Association $2,500 Gordon & Frances King Scholarship for UMass and Stockbridge School students, due June 1. For more details, go to: http://www.massarbor.org/sections/scholarship.php


Upcoming Courses

Check out offerings from these organizations:

The Arnold Arboretum

Upcoming sessions include Botany Blast: Plant Morphology, Grafting Techniques for Ornamental Trees, Pruning Shrubs, Civic Ecology: Healing and Growing in Community, Planning and Creating a Compact Orchard, and more.

Go to: http://my.arboretum.harvard.edu/Info.aspx?EventID=1


The New England Wildflower Society

Upcoming sessions include Wetland Shrubs in Winter, New England Plant Diversity, Understanding and Managing Soils, Introduction to Prescribed Fire, Transforming your Yard into Habitat, Measuring Soil Health and Managing Site Challenges in an Urban Landscape, and more.

Go to: http://www.newenglandwild.org/learn/our-programs


Upcoming Seminars

Evenings with Experts

A Public Lecture Series at the Cambridge Public Library

  • First Wednesdays of each month, from February through May, 7:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.
  • Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA
  • Each talk will last about an hour, with time for Q&A afterward. 
    Author talks typically include sales of the speakers' books.
  • Download a Flyer of 2016 Lectures


February 3, 2016

Native Plant Gardens: Learning By Example
Carolyn Summers, Author of Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East


March 2, 2016
Restoring Nature's Relationships at Home

Douglas Tallamy, Author of  Bringing Nature Home; Co-author of  The Living Landscape


Harvard Forest Seminars

Attend in person or join online


Seminars are Fridays at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, unless otherwise noted. They are held in the Harvard Forest Seminar Room and also can be joined online via webstreaming. Seminars are free and open to the public; no pre-registration is required.


Friday, February 5, 2016 - Join seminar online

Emily Silver Huff - USFS Northern Research Station, Forest Inventory and Analysis
Do family forest owners see forests or trees? Applying the theory of psychological distance to forest landowner research.


Friday, February 12, 2016 - Join seminar online

Marissa McBride, Harvard Forest
Use (and abuse) of expert knowledge in environmental decision-making.


Upcoming Event: Maintenance and Preservation of Mature Trees

March 24, 2016, 8:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Cost: $15 for members; $50 for non-members (includes membership)

Earn 4.25 ISA Credits, 4 AOLCP CEU's

Sponsored by the New England Chapter-International Society of Arboriculture

For more information and to register, go to www.newenglandisa.org.


Complete Streets - Benefits, Eligibility, and Funding

Learn how the Complete Streets Funding Program can help you design and fund Complete Streets projects. After this training, you will understand how Complete Streets can benefit your community. Attendance by one municipal official is a prerequisite for eligibility for MassDOT’s Complete Streets Funding Program.

February 1, 2016 • Northern Essex Community College, 414 Common Street, Room LC301, Lawrence

February 5, 2016 • Franklin Regional Council of Governments, 12 Olive St #2, Greenfield

February 10, 2016 • Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, 60 Congress St., 2nd Flr. Conference Room, Springfield

Find out more at www.baystateroads.eot.state.ma.us/   


Application Period Opens for 2016 Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education Awards

BOSTON — January 12, 2016 – The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) today announced it is now accepting nominations for its annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education until March 30, 2016.

EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton will present awards this spring to Massachusetts teachers and students involved in school-based programs that promote environmental and energy education.

“I am proud to recognize the teachers and students leading and inspiring their communities as they tackle critical energy and environmental issues,” said EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton. “It is important to engage students early in issues like energy, recycling, conservation and wildlife, and they have so many fresh ideas to offer.”

All public and private Massachusetts schools (K-12) that offer energy and environmental education programs are eligible to apply for the Secretary’s Award. In 2015, schools and nonprofit organizations from 22 communities across the state were recognized for their work on issues including recycling, energy conservation, ocean science, wildlife conservation, and alternative fuels.

The Secretary’s Advisory Group on Energy and Environmental Education will review applications through mid-April. Qualified entrants are invited to attend a formal award ceremony with Secretary Beaton at the State House later in the spring.

Click here for application.


Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources—Arbor Day Idea!


If you have ash trees in your town and want to raise awareness about the impact of Emerald Ash Borer, the Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources is now offering free Tree-Tagging Kits to interested groups. The kits come with tags printed on durable, high-visibility, green material, flagging tape to tie them onto trees, and a tip sheet to get the most out of your tagging efforts. This type of outreach has been used in several other states with great success. To submit a request for a free kit, use this form.



Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer--2nd edition

Many homeowners, arborists, and tree care professionals want to protect valuable ash trees from EAB. Scientists have learned much about this insect and methods to protect ash trees since 2002. This bulletin is designed to answer frequently asked questions and to provide the most current information on insecticide options for controlling EAB. Download the guide here.


Additional resources:

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Potential Side Effects of Systemic Insecticides Used to Control Emerald Ash Borer

Research and Extension Specialists from Michigan State University, the Ohio State University and Extension, and University of Minnesota Extension have put together a comprehensive publication that addresses questions and concerns regarding insecticide use to control emerald ash borer. Download the publication here.


The latest EAB Infestation Map:



Changes at UMass Amherst

Thank you Dennis!

for all you have done for arborists and urban foresters in Massachusetts, the United States, and around the world over your 40-plus year career. We’ll be thinking of you and all your arboricultural technical terms.

It’s truly been a slice of heaven! Congratulations on your retirement, Dr. Ryan!


Hello Mark!

Mark Reiland has joined the faculty of the Department of Environmental Conservation in the arboriculture and urban forestry program. Mark is enrolled in the PhD program at UMass, working with Dennis Ryan and Brian Kane on the effect of cabling and pruning on trees, and has served as a teaching assistant in chainsaw and climbing labs. Take a moment to welcome Mark! You can find Mark at mreiland@eco.umass.edu or 413-545-6626.


Hello Tawny!

Tawny Simisky has joined UMass Extension as Woody Ornamental Entomology Specialist. Previously, Tawny was the DCR Incident Commander for the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication in Worcester. Tawny has a Master’s degree from the University of Maine, where she studied the use of Cerceris fumipennis in monitoring for emerald ash borer. Take a moment to welcome Tawny! You can reach Tawny at tsimisky@umass.edu or 413-545-1053.


UMass Diagnostic Services

UMass Plant Diagnostics Laboratory - The Plant Diagnostic Lab is available to serve commercial landscape contractors, turf managers, arborists, nurseries, and other green industry professionals. It provides woody plant and turf disease analysis, woody plant and turf insect identification, turfgrass identification, weed identification, and offers a report of pest management strategies that are research based, economically sound, and environmentally appropriate for the situation.  Accurate diagnosis for a turf or landscape problem can often reduce or eliminate the need for pesticide use. For sampling procedures, detailed submission instructions, and a list of fees, see Plant Problem Diagnostics


Soil and Plant Tissue Testing - The function of the Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory is to provide test results and recommendations that lead to the wise and economical use of soils and soil amendments. Testing services are available to all. For complete information, visit the UMass Soil and Plant tissue Testing Laboratory web site at: http://soiltest.umass.edu/   or call the lab at (413) 545-2311.


Ticks are active whenever temperatures are above freezing!  Remember to take appropriate precautions when working and playing outdoors, and conduct daily tick checks.  UMass tests ticks for the presence of Lyme disease and other disease pathogens. Learn more.


The Green Directory

The UMass Extension Green Directory is a comprehensive print guide to
educational resources for Massachusetts Agriculture and Green Industry professionals.
This 42-page guide is a useful reference all year long!

The directory includes:

  • Contact information for UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape
    Specialists and Faculty
  • Upcoming UMass Extension conferences, seminars, and workshops
  • UMass Plant Diagnostic Lab submission information for insect, tick, disease, and
    cultural problems
  • UMass Soil and Tissue Testing Lab information
  • Pesticide license information, including test dates, training workshops,
    and how to get a pesticide license
  • Phone resources for referral of  home gardener questions
  • Extension newsletters, web sites, and publications
  • Frequently used phone numbers related to Agriculture and the Green

To have a copy mailed to you, call (413) 545-0895, fax your request to (413) 577-1620, or email greeninfo@umext.umass.edu.

PDF of the 2016 Green Directory


Tree City USA, Tree Line USA, Tree Campus USA

2016 marks 40 years of Tree City USA!

Is your community considering becoming a Tree City USA in 2016?

What better way to observe the 40th anniversary of this national program than by joining the ranks for the first time or rejoining if your community’s Tree City status has lapsed. 

Contact mollie.freilicher@state.ma.us or 413-577-2966.


Women’s Climbing Workshop Fosters Atmosphere for Learning

By Clarisse Hart and Melissa LeVangie, CTSP

More than 120 women have successfully completed the Women’s Tree Climbing Workshop since its founding in 2009. The annual two-and-a-half-day workshop began as the brainchild of Massachusetts arborist Melissa LeVangie and came to life through collaboration with her sister, Bear LeVangie, and colleague Marcy Carpenter, of Arbor One Inc., a TCIA member company based in Douglas MA.

In 2016, the workshop will be held in two locations—Sacramento, CA (April 15-17) and Petersham, MA, (September 9-11)—and is open to women with all levels of climbing experience.

Read the full article in the January 2016 issue of TCI Magazine.


New Spanish Publication! Lo Esencial Para la Poda de Árboles (Tree Pruning Essentials)

Urban Forestry Specialist Lindsey Purcell's helpful publication "Tree Pruning Essentials" is now available in a Spanish-language version, "Lo Esencial Para la Poda de Árboles." This publication explores the techniques behind good pruning, from the planning process before planting to monitoring the tree's response after the pruning cuts.

Download the new publication in Spanish here.



Milton to Increase Annual Tree Plant City Trees

By Johanna Seltz

January 8, 2016—The town of Milton will plant about 50 new street trees in the spring – almost three times as many as usual – thanks to a $20,000 gift from the private Copeland Foundation. Residents have until January 29 to submit an application to have a tree planted at their property, according to Department of Public Works Director Joseph Lynch. He said the winners will be chosen in March by lottery – “to avoid any question of favoritism” -- and the trees will be planted as soon as weather permits. He anticipates planting a mixture of hybrid American elms, October glory maples, zelkova, honey locusts, and lindens, in an attempt to “balance the urban forest.” Read the full story in The Boston Globe.


Worcester More Prepared Than Most to Fight Latest Tree Pest

By Cyrus Moulton

January 6, 2016—Boylston - Only months after locals marked the 30,000th tree planted to replace those lost to the Asian longhorned beetle, there’s a new tree-killing bug in town that experts at a forum Wednesday said requires a different response. “With emerald ash borer we’re not trying to eradicate it like we are with Asian longhorned beetle, we’re trying to mitigate it,” Nathan Siegert, a forest entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Durham, N.H., said Wednesday during a presentation at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. […]Ken Gooch, director of the Forest Health program at DCR, said his organization is using several methods to detect and monitor the infestation, including a statewide quarantine on firewood and ash products, traps to attract the beetles, introduced wasps that target the beetles, and insecticides to protect valuable trees.


“The objective is to slow the population growth and the spread,” Mr. Gooch told attendees. “It buys time for planning and can mitigate a catastrophic loss.”

But those “own terms” vary significantly among municipalities, large landowners, and other groups across the state, according to Felicia Bakaj, a Forest Pest outreach coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Read the full story at telegram.com.


RE-CO BKLYN Turns Lumber into Tables, Desks and Other Custom-Made Pieces.

By Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Dec. 28, 2015

Roger Benton stood at the southern tip of Prospect Park and watched as a front-end loader and an excavator took hold of opposite ends of a 12,000-pound log and hoisted it onto a flatbed truck. The last of four pieces of the European Elm that had rooted itself in the park for an estimated 150 years, the wood was headed to a sawmill in Ulster County, where it will be made into boards for RE-CO BKLYN, a furniture-making company owned by Mr. Benton and his partner, Dan Richfield. Cut-down trees from the city aren’t usually milled, but rather chipped or grated into mulch, said Andrew Ullman, director of Brooklyn forestry at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. But Messrs. Benton and Richfield see value in the trees of the concrete jungle. Their products are made from timber that comes from the backyards of private homes, graveyards, and the stock of tree-removal services in New York City. Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.


Carbon Content of Temperate Forests Overestimated, Study Suggests

November 24, 2015—Digital measurements of millions of trees indicate that previous studies likely overestimate the amount of carbon stored by temperate U.S. forests, according to a new NASA study.

The findings could help scientists better understand the impact that trees have on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Although it is a well-established fact that trees absorb carbon and store it long-term, researchers are unsure how much is stored in global forests.

"Estimates of the carbon content of living trees typically rely on a method that is based on cutting down trees," said Laura Duncanson, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "It takes a lot of effort to cut down trees, particularly the biggest ones, so this just isn't practical to do in large numbers." Read the full story at ScienceDaily.


Vancouver, BC, Canada, Considering Security Deposit for Replacing Old Trees With New Ones

By Matt Lee

December 15, 2015—Vancouver city councillors are expected to decide on a motion asking residents to pay a “security deposit” if they want to replace old trees with new ones. It’s part of the city’s urban forest strategy. Vancouver wants owners to pay a security deposit of $500 or $750, depending on the size of the tree, when they remove one. Those are funds the city will hold onto until owners can prove they’ve planted a new tree and cared for it for at least a year. The security deposit is designed to ensure people plant and care for a replacement tree, part of Vancouver’s goal of maintaining its urban forest. Seen at cknw.com.

On the Horizon

Feb 10                 Urban Forest Connections Webinar, http://www.fs.fed.us/research/urban-webinars/

Feb 17                 i-Tree Webcast: HYDRO, http://www.unri.org/itreeworkshops/

Feb 21-26            Municipal Forestry Institute, Shepherdstown, WV, www.urban-forestry.com/mfi-2016

Feb 23                 Mass. Arborists Association Annual Meeting, www.massarbor.org

Mar 3                   Urban Forestry Today Webinar, Go to www.joinwebinar.com 124-740-683.

Mar 8                   UMass Community Tree Conference, Amherst, MA, www.umassgreeninfo.org

Mar 8-11              NESAF 96th Winter Meeting, www.nesaf.org

Mar 9                   Urban Forest Connections Webinar, http://www.fs.fed.us/research/urban-webinars/

Mar 9-10             ELA Conference and Eco Marketplace, Univ. of Mass., Amherst, MA, www.ecolandscaping.org

March 10            Fall River Urban Forestry Workshop (more info coming soon.)

Mar 16                i-Tree Webcast: DESIGN and CANOPY, http://www.unri.org/itreeworkshops/

Mar 24                Maintenance and Preservation of Mature Trees, New England Chapter- ISA,

Hanover, NH, www.newenglandisa.org

Mar 25                 Deadline for NEC-ISA Arbor Day Grant, http://newenglandisa.org/arbor_day_grant

Mar 29                 MAA Safety Saves and Dinner Meeting,    www.massarbor.org/

Apr 1                    Deadline: DCR Arbor Day Poster Contest, 2016 Arbor Day Poster Contest Instructions

Apr 2                    Mass Land Conservation Conference, Worcester, MA, http://massland.org/conference

Apr 13                  Urban Forest Connections Webinar, http://www.fs.fed.us/research/urban-webinars/

Apr 20                  i-Tree Webcast: STREETS, http://www.unri.org/itreeworkshops/

Apr 22-24            Northeast Natural History Conference, Springfield, MA

Apr 29                  Arbor Day in Massachusetts!


Oct 14-15            SAVE THE DATE! 2016 Tree Steward Training, Petersham, MA 


Do you have an event you want in the calendar? Contact mollie.freilicher@state.ma.us

The Citizen Forester is made possible through a grant from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry.

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Department of Conservation and Recreation

251 Causeway Street

Boston, MA 02114


Julie Coop, Urban and Community Forester




Mollie Freilicher, Community Action Forester


(413) 577-2966


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Charles D. Baker, Governor

Karyn E. Polito, Lieutenant Governor

Matthew A. Beaton, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Leo Roy, Commissioner, Department of Conservation and Recreation

Peter Church, Director of Forest Stewardship, Department of Conservation and Recreation

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