Public Tree Assessment

The Department of Public Works - Grounds Division is responsible for all maintenance of trees located on public land, along public roads right-of-way and in conservation areas as well. During the year trees are pruned and hazardous trees removed by town staff although some jobs requiring larger equipment are contracted out to help get the work done. Trees are all around us and are a big part of our community that brings our parks, roads, and landscapes to life. Because of that, we need to be aware of any potential hazards and problems that might occur should a tree become and/or present a hazardous condition. As such, the tree warden acts on behalf of the town in determining any type of work to be performed for any reason.

Tree Assessments

Please contact the Department of Public Works at 781-275-7605 if you have a request or concern involving a town tree. At the time of the request you will be asked to leave your name, address, and telephone number along with your concerns. Once received a work order request will be submitted and an assessment scheduled. It is important to understand that work and assessments are done based on priority therefore if you believe the issue is urgent please express that during your call. Conversely, we ask that you are patient


Massachusetts General Law governs the removal of public shade trees in the Town of Bedford and is only done with the consent of the Tree Warden or their deputy. However, the decision will be based at times in unison with discussions and input both from residents and Bedford Arbor Resource Committee (BARC). It is the understanding of all that a "hazard tree" be removed in order to maintain the safety of the community. The United States Department of Agriculture defines a "hazard tree" as a tree with structural defects likely to cause the failure of all or part of the tree, which could strike a "target." A target can be a vehicle, building, or a place where people gather such as a park bench, picnic table, street, or backyard.

Once the Tree Warden determines a hazardous tree should be removed it will be posted with the Town of Bedford placard for two weeks noting the date thereof during which time anyone who objects to the removal may seek further review. A hearing may be requested in compliance with MGL Chapter 87 should the process continue with opposition provided all parties involved agree that time permits.

General Care

Pruning and inspection are important parts of the maintenance of a healthy tree. While the town resources do their best to care for the community's trees the residents play a significant role in requesting general care. While some pruning involves minimal removal of branches others involved excessive thinning in order to ensure that the tree continues to grow and flourish properly. These requests fall under the same procedures as removal and are done as needed as time permits. The Utility Companies such as NSTAR also help with pruning in and around their utilities and power lines. Please identify upon request whether pruning needs to be done near wires.

Stump Grinding

All stump grinding is done once there is enough work for a full day. The area will then be cleaned, loamed, and seeded.

Storm Operations

Severe weather that causes numerous trees to come down creates challenging work for the department. in the right-of-way. This work may also involve contracted help provided the extent of the damage. Please be patient during these circumstances particularly if they involve downed wires. At no time should anyone go near a tree that has taken down any wires.