As per Chapter 87 of the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL), all trees within a public way or on the boundaries thereof shall be public shade trees.
Chapter 87, Section 3:...Public shade trees shall not be cut, trimmed, or removed, in whole or in part, by any person other than the tree warden or his deputy, even if he be the owner of the fee in the land on which such tree is situated, except upon a permit in writing from said tree warden, nor shall they be cut down or removed by the tree warden or his deputy or other person without a public hearing and said tree warden or his deputy shall cause a notice of the time and place of such hearing.
The Reading Department of Public Works has an inventory of public trees planted along most roadways, so if a resident is not sure whether a tree is public or private, the first step is to call the DPW office at 781-942-9092. We will research the status of a tree and respond back to the resident.
If a resident requests a healthy tree be removed, a request should be put in writing to the Tree Warden, c/o Town Hall, 16 Lowell Street, Reading, MA 01867-2601. The tree warden will make a determination and a public hearing will be held.