Before doing any work on your property we suggest that you determine if your land contains wetlands/vernal pools, easements, conservation or deed restrictions. For wetland questions contact the Conservation Commission, for Easements and Scenic Roadway questions contact the Planning Board, for Conservation Restrictions contact the Registry of Deeds or the holder of the Conservation Restriction.
The Town of Dover does not perform inspection, maintenance, care, and removal of trees on private property. This is the responsibility of the property owner. The Town of Dover will only assist in very limited situations such as when a private tree has fallen and is blocking a public right of way.
For private trees, the Town of Dover DOES NOT RECOMMEND particular arborists or companies. Residents may wish to contact a certified arborist for assistance in the care and maintenance of private trees located on their property. Lists of arborists certified by either the Massachusetts Arborists Association (MCA) or the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) can be located via the following links:
Plant a Tree on Your Own Property
The Town does not have jurisdiction over trees on private property unless they are within the buffer zone of wetlands or a perennial stream. In such a case, you should contact the Conservation Commission to determine any approvals needed. Learn More about Buffer Zones in the Dover Town Code Chapter 263.
Times to Plant
All tree and shrub plantings and new lawns should be planted in the spring or fall to avoid irrigation during the summer months when water use should be limited. In addition, plants native to the region can be used in your landscape design to reduce watering needs.
Choosing a Location
The University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment has guidelines for planting trees and shrubs. The guidelines cover choosing a location, selecting a type of tree, setting the plant, and tree care. Alternatively, choose a tree type by available space by visiting Arbor Day Foundation's Right Tree in the Right Place guide.
How To Plant Your Tree
Visit the Arbor Day Foundation guide on how to plant your trees, based on root configuration.
Caring for New Trees
The Massachusetts Urban & Community Forestry Program has a guide for caring for new trees. The guide covers watering, tree stabilization, mulching, and inspection.
Native Tree Types to Plant
|Large Trees (40-80ft)
|Medium Trees (30-40 ft)
|Small Trees (less than 30 ft)
Non-Native Species to Avoid Planting
The Massachusetts Prohibited Plant List prohibits the importation, sale, and trade of plants determined to be invasive in Massachusetts. This ban also covers the purchase and distribution of these plants and related activities, and includes all cultivars, varieties and hybrids of the species listed. The Prohibited Plant List was last updated in February, 2017. (https://www.mass.gov/massachusetts-prohibited-plant-list)
Try to avoid planting any of the following trees and shrubs
|Any of the Asian Honeysuckles
- Is there anything I need to do before I cut down trees on my property?
The Town does not have jurisdiction over trees on private property unless they are within a municipal right of way, public easement, or the buffer zone of wetlands or a perennial stream. Before removing trees residents are encouraged to first determine whether the tree(s) you wish to remove fall within one of the above-mentioned areas on your property or outside your properties boundaries. For the latter a survey of your property lines is encouraged. For additional guidance please reach out to one of the following town agencies:
A plan to remove trees along a scenic road may require a Scenic Road Hearing before the Planning Board. Click here for a list of scenic roads in Dover: https://ecode360.com/10428309.
- Will removing the trees help control bugs, ticks, and other critters?
Ticks prefer long grass in shady areas; however, they can also live on tree branches and shrubs. The following link provides tick prevention strategies https://www.mass.gov/info-details/tick-borne-disease-prevention.
For additional information please consult the Dover Board of Health.
- How do I know if I have wetlands on my property?
To learn more about wetland locations related to your property please contact the Conservation Commission for further guidance.
- I think my tree has a disease. Who should I call?
Residents may wish to contact a certified arborist for assistance in the care and maintenance of private trees located on their property. Lists of arborists certified by either the Massachusetts Arborists Association (MCA) or the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) can be located via the following links:
- Can I plant trees on my septic field or next to my wellhead?
For questions related to planting near or on septic fields or wells please consult the Dover Board of Health.
As an additional resource regarding planting on septic fields please review the following link from the EPA: https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2015-06/documents/septicsmart-week-landscaping-final.pdf
For a quick reference related to planting near wellheads please see the following: https://www.grecoandhaines.com/landscaping-wellhead/#:~:text=DO%20NOT%20plant%20anything%20within,choosing%20plants%20with%20short%20roots.
- Is there a resource that can help me identify the types of trees I currently have on my property?
There are a few Apps available to assist in identifying trees, such as LeafSnap, PictureThis – Plant Identifier, and Forest Tree Identification to name a few. Some apps may require a subscription fee. Other resources such as The Arbor Day Foundation’s tree database and Eversource’s “Planting a Tree Guide,” are also helpful tools.
- Can trees protect my yard from flooding?
Trees are an important component of stormwater management. To see how trees assist with stormwater runoff see the following article from the Arbor Day Foundation.