Public Policy


BrandonThese resources are intended to support municipalities and citizens in understanding and developing public policies to promote, maintain, and protect community trees.

Vermont Tree Warden Statutes were adopted in 1904 and amended in 2020. This is the only existing state legislation pertaining to tree warden responsibilities with respect to tree care in public ways and places.

Tree Ordinances and Policies Overview outlines what a tree ordinance is, the benefits of having an active tree ordinance, and the process of establishing a tree ordinance. Note: This document is not yet updated to reflect the 2020 changes to Municipal Tree Law. See our webpage about the updated Vermont Tree Warden Statutes or the Municipal Tree Law webpage by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

Tree Ordinance Guide is intended to act as a tool for Vermont communities as they consider developing a tree ordinance. Note: This document is not yet updated to reflect the 2020 changes to Municipal Tree Law. See our webpage about the updated Vermont Tree Warden Statutes or the Municipal Tree Law webpage by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

Making Your Community Forest-Friendly: A Worksheet for Review of Municipal Codes and Ordinances is a publication from the US Forest Service and the Center for Watershed Protection.  

Tree Board University is a unique online training focused on trees, people, and serving in a citizen advisory role in your city, town, or village.

Tree Ordinances is a great online tool for understanding and developing policies for trees.  

    Existing Vermont Municipal Tree Ordinances and Policies

    Note: These ordinances and policies pre-date the 2020 changes to municipal tree law. See our webpage about the updated Vermont Tree Warden Statutes or the Municipal Tree Law webpage by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

    Tree Planting on Private Property

    Tree planting by a municipality on private property can occur when landowners are willing to support public shade tree programs by providing permission for municipally-funded trees to be planted and maintained on private property bordering public ways and places. Tree wardens, municipal tree boards, or other committees can enter into a written agreement with the landowner that outlines what both the landowner and municipal volunteers or officials will (and will not) provide for the tree.

    Ensure that a written agreement addresses tree planting and care and that it includes the rights and responsibilities of both the landowner and the municipality and the duration for which the agreement will exist.  Agreements should be signed by both the landowner and a municipal representive and should be kept on file. 

    Sample language that might be found in an agreement:

    • I, a qualifying resident, will plant and care for my tree according to the [insert any reference material you’d like, the US Forest Service's Tree Owner’s Manual or ISA’s tree planting BMP would also be good] for as long as I am a resident of this home.
    • I agree to plant my tree(s) immediately at the address listed above, give my tree(s) on-going care while I own it, and to not remove any mulch applied at the base of the tree by the municipality. I understand the tree(s) are under no warranty or guarantee.

    Examples of tree planting agreements with private landowners

     

    PLANT. LIVE. GROW.