Community Tree Plantings

Fall 2016 tree planting

Are there empty spaces on the berms in your neighborhood where street trees formerly provided shade and beauty? Would you like to work with your neighbors and the Newton Tree Conservancy (NTC) to plant new trees? The NTC is now accepting applications for our Spring 2018 Community Tree Plantings. (Fillable PDF form here.) The deadline for applications is November 18, 2017. Planting Day will be a Saturday morning in late April — most likely April 28, 2018, (with someone from each house requested to be present to help and resolve questions). Applications received after November 18 but before June 1, 2018 will be considered for Fall 2018 plantings.

Contributions from NTC members and the community, and grants from Newton Community Pride’s Stella and Leo Levi Tree Endowment Fund, have enabled the NTC to plant almost 800 trees since 2010. We have available funding and logistical capability to plant about 200 trees per year. We welcome group applications for Spring 2018 or beyond.

General Information

In order to plant where the need for trees is greatest, and for logistical reasons, our preference is to plant in clusters of eight or more trees where five or more homeowners, in relatively close proximity, have empty spots. Because we like to fully plant whichever blocks we do, we will plant more than one tree per requesting property if there is more than one appropriate space on the berm.

Serviceberry_spring_bloomWebSpecies will be selected in consultation with Newton’s Director of Urban Forestry, Marc Welch, taking into consideration the presence or absence of utility wires and other location factors, and availability of species when ordering. (Species most frequently planted under utility wires include serviceberry, crabapple, and Amur maackia, tree lilac, and cherry. Where wires are not present, we have planted swamp white oak, red oak, linden, London plane trees, both hybrid and disease-resistant American elms, and pear. When available, other species have included hornbeam, hophornbeam, Kentucky coffee tree, Turkish filbert, Worplesdon sweetgum and mountain ash.)

In order to plant as many trees as possible with limited funds and people, we ask that each group provide one planter/helper per property on planting day, and that at least three of these people attend Newton Tree Stewards planting training. Please note that while some digging ability is helpful, we will have a crew to get the holes started, and we need people to hold the trees upright and spotters to make sure they’re straight as the hole is filled, so not all jobs are strenuous. Also, bare-root trees are not heavy and are therefore much easier to plant.

Also please note that the planter-helper and the caretaker (person who will water and weed the tree) do not have to be the resident/owner. If you have elderly neighbors who would like a tree but are not up to physical participation, or absentee landlords, we encourage the group to ask for the participation of other neighbors to help with the work. Having neighbors as backup to water will also be helpful during vacation absences.


1) The group’s organizer should submit the Community Tree Planting Group Application, including Attachment 2 – Summary (list of requesting addresses) and Attachment 3 – Supporting Detail (copy to be filled out be each requesting resident/owner). Each participant should read Attachment 1 – Commitment/Expectations. You can download the Group Application as a fillable PDF (opens in new window).

2) Each requesting address should have a suitable empty spot on their berm (the grass strip between sidewalk and street) and have a person willing to water the newly-planted tree weekly for the first two years of its life and keep its mulched area weeded. We must ensure that any trees we plant will have sufficient water; otherwise they will not survive and your efforts and our money will have been wasted. To facilitate watering, each tree will have a drip irrigation bag, which will need to be filled with 20 gallons of water approximately once a week from spring to fall.

3) Applications should be submitted by June 1, 2017 to allow time for review of locations, species selection, and ordering for Fall 2017 plantings. Applications not accepted for Fall 2017 will be held for future consideration.

Training and planting dates:



Training for Participants – Saturday morning, November 4, 2017

Planting Day – Saturday morning, November 18, 2017


Training for Participants – Saturday morning to be determined (early April)

Planting Day – Saturday morning to be determined (late April)

Leave a Reply