The Princeton Shade Tree Commission serves to protect and manage our community forest and shade trees.  Trees and shrubs are a natural resource that provide aesthetic, economic, ecological, environmental and health benefits to the municipality of Princeton and its inhabitants. The treatment of trees and shrubs on individual properties can have significant impact not only on those individual properties, but also on neighboring properties, the street scape, the tree canopy and the entire municipality. Princeton’s tree and shrub ordinance establishes rules and regulations for the stewardship of this resource within Princeton, on both public and private property. View the ordinance below.

Princeton’s five-year Community Forestry Management Plan has been approved by the State and the New Jersey Community Forestry Council. The goal of the plan is to enhance, maintain, and support a sustainable community forest in a proactive and cost-effective manner that promotes the aesthetic, environmental, economic, cultural, and social vitality of Princeton.

Of interest to residents of Princeton is the tree inventory which has been completed by Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. Click on the Tree Inventory to obtain an up to date report on Princeton's street trees, including location, species and status. This page provides user instructions.

Princeton is pleased to have been designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

STC Members:

  • Sharon Ainsworth, Chair
  • Lily Krauss, Vice Chair
  • Victoria Airgood
  • Welmoet Bok van Kammen
  • Raymond Devoe (Alt 1)
  • Patricia Frawley
  • Sandra Chen (Alt 2)
  • Alexandra Radbil
  • Janet Stern

Municipal Council Liaison: Mayor Liz Lempert

All meeting dates are subject to change. Please check the calendar for updates.

Ordinances

Documents
Ordinance Description
Status
AN ORDINANCE BY THE MUNICIPALITY OF PRINCETON CONCERNING TREES AND SHRUBS AND AMENDING THE “CODE OF THE BOROUGH OF PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY, 1974” AND “CODE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY, 1968.”
Status:
Adopted
Introduced:
Public Hearing:
Date Adopted:
Defeated:
AN ORDINANCE BY THE MUNICIPALITY OF PRINCETON CONCERNING TREES AND SHRUBS AND SPECIFICALLY THE INFESTATION OF THE EMERALD ASH BORER, AND AMENDING THE “CODE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY, 1968.”
Status:
Adopted
Introduced:
Public Hearing:
Date Adopted:
Defeated:

Meetings

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FAQs

What is a tree worth, anyway?
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What is a tree worth, anyway?
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Among the direct economic benefits of trees are lowered energy costs to homeowners, lower air conditioning costs, lower heating costs when trees are planted as windbreaks, and value added from landscaped vs. non-landscaped homes (from 5-20% value difference).

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Is there a rule forbidding nails/staples for posters on tree trunks?
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Is there a rule forbidding nails/staples for posters on tree trunks?
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Yes. It is unlawful to attach anything to a street tree. See Sec. 22-6 of the Princeton Trees and Shrubs ordinance.

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How should I select a tree specialist?
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How should I select a tree specialist?
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STC cannot recommend one tree service company over another, but it does recommend that you solicit more than one estimate prior to hiring a company.

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Can I request that the Municipal Arborist visit my property to assess the condition of a particular tree or trees or otherwise advise me on questions related to my private trees?
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Can I request that the Municipal Arborist visit my property to assess the condition of a particular tree or trees or otherwise advise me on questions related to my private trees?
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No. The arborist is responsible only for the planting, care, and control of trees and shrubs upon and in the streets, highways, public places, public right-of-ways, and parks of the municipality. On the home page of this website, you can find a link to a list of arboricultural companies (tree services) that are registered to work in Princeton.

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What do I do with dead branches in my yard?
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What do I do with dead branches in my yard?
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Cut them into smaller pieces no more than 3 1/2 feet long, tie for collection, and place bundles curbside in accordance with your regular brush pickup schedule.

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How deep should the mulch be around my trees, and what kind is best?
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How deep should the mulch be around my trees, and what kind is best?
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Mulch around a tree should be spread like a donut, not a volcano. Never allow mulch to touch the tree’s bark, and never pile it higher than 3-4 inches. Mulch too deep decreases the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, which can lead to fungal and bacterial diseases. It is best to mulch with wood chips or other coarse organic material.

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How can I donate a tree to the municipality? May a memorial or honorary tree be planted in the town, and what is the procedure?
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How can I donate a tree to the municipality? May a memorial or honorary tree be planted in the town, and what is the procedure?
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Please contact the STC with your name and information regarding the person to be honored. Princeton residents may also apply to adopt a tree or nominate a historic tree. Contact the STC for details.

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Can I request a tree be planted curbside? How does the municipality decide on the type of tree to plant?
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Can I request a tree be planted curbside? How does the municipality decide on the type of tree to plant?
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If you have recently lost a street tree, or simply lack a street tree, the front of your property may be an ideal place for a young shade tree. Please contact the STC.

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May I prune a neighbor’s yard trees where they overhang my property?
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May I prune a neighbor’s yard trees where they overhang my property?
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In many localities, it is common practice for a resident to prune a neighboring tree overhanging their property, only up to the property line, so long as the tree itself is not damaged. Trimming a tree improperly can cause damage to the tree. You should consult with your neighbor before taking any action.

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What are the penalties for cutting down a tree without a permit?
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What are the penalties for cutting down a tree without a permit?
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Each tree removed is considered a separate violation. Please consult Sec. 22-16 of the Princeton Trees and Shrubs Ordinance adopted by Princeton Council in 2016.

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Reports

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