Property owners and the Town share a responsibility for the roadway plantings.

Public Right-Of-Way (ROW): The Town plants and maintains trees, shrubs, and ground covers within the ROW. Property owners can plant ground covers, grasses and perennials in the ROW with the understanding that such plantings are subject to the effects of plowing and mowing by the Town. In some cases where perennial plantings (e.g. day lilies, ferns) are within the ROW and/or adjacent to stone walls, the Town practice is to mow around the plantings.

Bordering Landscape: Private property owners can plant in the bordering landscape, outside the public ROW.

See the Roadside Plantings of Merit section for recommended roadside plants and trees.

Planting guidelines

  1. Within the ROW, shade trees should be planted and maintained a safe distance from the travel way. While conditions vary, a distance of 6 feet from the pavement edge is suggested both for public safety and the health of the trees.
  2. Within their bordering landscape, residents who consider planting trees under or near utility lines should consider:
         —  planting shade trees at least 20 ft. from overhead utility lines
         —  planting “understory” or medium size trees such as crabapple,
               magnolia, dogwood, birch, amelanchia, dogwood near or under
               utility lines
         —  planting evergreens with a wide base and narrow top such as
               spruce, fir and hemlock.
  3. After cleaning up a roadside area, replant with appropriate ground covers and native grasses such as no-mow grass and ferns. See Roadside Plantings of Merit for recommendations.

  4. Use native plant materials wherever possible. Never use plants categorized as invasive by the Massachusetts Prohibited Plants List.
  5. When working in the ROW and the bordering landscape, preserve informal, naturalistic landscaping.
  6. Preserve existing trees and buffers, except where overgrowth blocks views of agricultural fields, historic buildings or intersections. Open up views to fields, wetlands and historic buildings.
  7. Inform DPW of special plantings within the ROW so that they can mow around them.
  8. Check with Conservation Commission if wetlands are present.