Trees in the City - Right Tree, Right Place

Illustration from the Arbor Day Foundation Showing What Size Trees Should be Planted in Various Locations

Trees enhance the beauty and value of homes, streets and communities. However, trees planted in the wrong place can cause property damage and become a detriment rather than an asset. Planning the location and species of a tree will ensure that the tree will be an asset and not grow into a hazard or a nuisance.

THE RIGHT TREE - Trees must be selected carefully in order to accomplish their intended purpose. Characteristics such as tree shape, size at maturity, flowering, colors and texture should be considered.

THE RIGHT PLACE - Growing space both above and below ground should be considered when selecting a tree. Allowances must be made for the increased size of the tree when it matures. Some of the problems that can be avoided by selecting the proper tree for the available planting space are:

  • Damage to houses through cracked foundations, leaves in gutters or abrasion of tree limbs hitting the house.
  • Cracked pavement of sidewalks, driveways, porches and patios.
  • Sewer lines or septic tanks clogged by roots.
  • Dangerous screening by obscuring traffic signs, pedestrians or vehicles.
  • Storm damage and electrical problems from trees or limbs affecting utility lines.

If the correct tree species is chosen for a particular site, a tree has less chance of dying and will mature to full growth faster. Planting the right tree species in the right space saves money on maintenance costs over the life of the tree as well as repairs to surrounding features.

Urban Forest Master Plan

The City of Worcester has finalized the development of the first Urban Forest Master Plan. The Plan serves as a roadmap to proactively manage and grow the City's tree canopy and provides a shared vision for the future of the urban forest to help inspire us to care, plant and protect our trees.

View the Master Plan


Urban Forestry Tree Commission

The Commission aids the DPW&P, Transportation Advisory Group and the Tree Warden in proactive research, tree inventory, tree campaigns and help increase and protect the City's shade tree canopy and help improve the City's urban community forest overall.

Agenda items must be submitted (3) three business days before each Commission Meeting with the subject line "Agenda Item" to

Commission Profile

Asian Longhorned Beetle

The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) is an invasive insect that is a serious threat to a wide variety of trees in the United States. The ALB larvae bore deep into deciduous hardwood trees such as maple and birch, eventually killing them. Once a tree is infested, it does not recover or regenerate.   

Learn More About ALB

Memorial Tree Planting

Planting a tree is an appropriate and time honored tradition to honor the memory of your loved ones. This meaningful memorial is one that will benefit coming generations. Remembering them with a living tree is an act of love for them, their families and our earth. It can also be done in celebration of birthdays, anniversaries, new births or any special occasion. By planting trees in celebration, you can honor your loved ones while caring about the environment and replanting our City's forest. To apply, please fill out the Memorial Tree Planting form.

Protection of Public Trees

The Parks & Recreation Division Forestry Section is responsible for the care and removal of city-owned trees that are generally located within the sidewalk adjacent to a street and on city-owned property. If the tree is clearly on private property or on a private street, then it is the responsibility of the property owner. If you are unsure who owns a tree, you can call 508-929-1300 to ask for Forestry to help with this determination.

Private Property Tree Adoption Program

In the spring of 2010, the City of Worcester began planting the first generation of tree adoptions on private residential properties throughout the City. This was accomplished after the passage of the Ordinance Relative to the Protection of Public Trees. The program allows for the City to plant a shade tree within the first twenty (20) feet of the public way layout on private property. The property owner is required to care for and maintain the tree for a minimum of three (3) years. Once the three-year period has been completed, the tree becomes the full responsibility of the property owner.

Contact Information

Parks & Recreation
50 Officer Manny Familia Way
Worcester, MA 01605

Accessible via WRTA Bus Line. View Schedules

Phone: 508-799-1190
Fax: 508-799-1293
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8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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