Support an update to Chapter 87 Public Shade Tree Law

Sign on to our letter of support

If you represent an organization or group focused on urban forestry, we hope you will consider signing on to the letter below to support an update to Chapter 87, the public shade tree law. We kindly request your signature by the 5pm July 17, 2023. The hearing is will be held by the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM in Hearing Room A2.


Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government,

We are writing this letter in reference to An Act to update the public shade tree law, S.1280 and H.2094. We applaud the efforts of Sen. Creem and Rep. Owens and all the co-sponsors to update Chapter 87 of Massachusetts General Laws. According to the Massachusetts Tree Wardens’ Association, Ch. 87 law has been on the books for over a century with only minor revisions. During this time the physical and scientific landscape in the Commonwealth has changed considerably, with more urban areas, more vehicles (powered by engines instead of horses!), larger developments, and new science around tree care. It is high time that our laws governing one of any municipality’s greatest assets – its public trees – catch up with the times.

The proposed revisions update policies to align with modern, evidence-based best practices in arboriculture, clearly articulate the necessary requirements of professional tree wardens, and adjust the penalties for damaging public trees to 2023 dollars. These recommended changes align with new professional practices and standards and allow for future changes as the field develops over time. It is our belief that this update is sorely needed to ensure that our urban trees continue to receive the protection and care they deserve. Finally, the law empowers the Department of Conservation and Recreation to promulgate regulations pertaining to this law, providing a mechanism for regular updates related to scientific and professional advances and also allowing it to adjust fines to keep up with inflation.

This law has the backing of the Massachusetts Tree Wardens and Foresters Association. We, the undersigned, are joining their call to move this bill forward.


David Meshoulam, on behalf of Speak for the Trees
Joy Madden, on behalf of Acton Garden Club
Patty, on behalf of Dahlgren Creative
Charlie Wyman, on behalf of Lexington Living Landscapes
Libby Shaw, on behalf of Trees for Watertown
Brandon Schmitt, on behalf of Wellesley Natural Resources Commission
Diane Reid
Mary Ellen Aronow
Lee Eyler
Nancy M. Sofen
Eugenie Johnston
Jerry Loew
Suzanne Morse-Fortier
John McDermot
Emily Sparks
Michele Waldman
David Barone
Kellie Jacques
Carol Rogers
Jacqueline Edwards
Kathy Kerby
Elaine Jones
Louise Monahan
Vincent Da Forno
Vivian Hood
Cheryl Scofield
Debra Hofman
Stephen szaraz
Leslie Morgan
Judith Weiler
James Corwin
Farrah Jeong
Angela Beckwith
Mary Leach
Judith Cooper
Justin Damon – Billerica
Thomas Boston
Elizabeth Politis
Robert Egri
Cristine Van Dyke
Sandra mayo
Rob Moreau
Susannah Chinoy
Libby Shaw
Herbert Morande
Nan Wang
Beth Santo
David Owen
Juan Rodriguez