John Evelyn said that men seldom plant trees till they begin to be wise; and so it may be well to note what the wise men in the Legislatures of various States have decreed as to tree planting on streets and highways. The Highway Law of New York has already been quoted. In other States the laws relating to tree planting are in part as follows:
Chapter 196, Laws of 1890. Section 1. The mayor and aldermen of cities and selectmen of towns are authorized to designate and preserve trees in highways for ornament and shade, not less than one tree in every thirty-three feet and of one inch or more.
Sec. 2. Provides for marking the trees selected.
Sec. 3. Provides that whoever injures, defaces or destroys any designated tree shall forfeit not less than five nor more than one hundred dollars.
Chap. 330, Laws of [899, Sec. 1. Every town shall at its annual meeting for the election of town officers elect a tree warden, who shall serve for one year and until his successor is elected and qualified. Me may appoint such number of deputy tree wardens as he deems expedient, and may at any time remove them from office. He and his deputies shall receive such compensation for their services as the town may determine, and, in default of such determination, as the selectmen may prescribe, lie shall have the cue and control of all the public shade trees in the town, except those in public parks or open places under the jurisdiction of Park" Commissioners, and of these also he shall take the care and control if s< > requested in writing by the Park Commissioners, lie shall expend all funds appropriated for the setting out and maintenance of such trees. He may prescribe such regulations for the care and preservation of such trees, enforced by suitable fines, not exceeding twenty dollars in any one case, as he may deem just and expedient ; and such regulations, when approved by the selectmen and posted in two or more public places in the town, shall have the force and effect of town by-laws. It shall be his duty to enforce all provisions of law for the preservation of such trees.
Sec. 2. Towns may appropriate annually a sum of money not exceeding in the aggregate fifty cents for each ratable poll in the preceding year, to be expended by the tree warden in planting shade trees in the public ways; or, if he deems it expedient, upon adjoining land, at a distance not exceeding twenty feet from said public ways, for the purpose of shading or ornamenting the same; providtd, however^ that the written consent of the owner of such land shall first be obtained. All shade trees within the limits of any public way shall be deemed public shade trees.
Sec. 3. Whoever, other than a tree warden or his deputy, desires the cutting or removal, in whole or in part, of any public shade tree, may apply to the tree warden, who shall give a public hearing upon the application at some suitable time and place, after duly posting notices of the hearing in two or more public places in the town and also upon the said tree; provided^ however^ that the warden may, if he deems it expedient, grant permission for such catting or removal, without calling a hearing it the tree in question is on a public way outside of the residential part of the town, the limits of such residential part to be determined by the selectmen. No tree within such residential part shall be cut by the tree warden, except to trim it, or removed by him without a hearing as aforesaid; but in all cases the decision of the tree warden shall be final.
Sec. 4. Towns may annually raise and appropriate such sum of money as they deem necessary, to be expended under the direction of the tree warden in exterminating insect pests within the limits of their public ways and places, and in the removal from said public ways and places of all trees and other plants upon which such pests naturally breed; provided however, that when an owner or lessee of real estate shall, to the satisfaction of the tree warden, annually exterminate all insect pests upon the trees and other plants, within the limits of any public way or place abutting on said real estate, such trees and plants shall be exempt from the provisions of this section.
Sec. 5. Whoever affixes to any tree in a public way or place a play bill, picture, announcement, notice, advertisement or other thing, whether in writing or otherwise, or cuts, paints or marks such tree, except for the purpose of protecting it and under a written permit from the tree warden, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding fifty dollars for each offense.
Sec. 6. Whoever wantonly injures, defaces, breaks or destroys an ornamental or shade tree within the limits of any public way or place- shall forfeit not less than five nor more than one hundred dollars, to be recovered by complaint, one-half to the complainant and the other half to the use of the town.
Sec. 7. Whoever negligently or carelessly suffers a horse or beast driven by or for him, or a beast belonging to him and lawfully in a public way or place to break down, injure or destroy a shade or ornamental tree within the limits of said public way or place, or whoever negligently or willfully by any other means breaks down, injures or destroys any such tree, shall be liable to the penalties prescribed in the foregoing section, and shall in addition be liable for all damages caused thereby.
Chap. 98, Laws 1902. Sec. 1. Mayors of cities and selectmen of towns shall appoint one or more tree wardens to be paid as the mayor or selectmen direct.
Sec. 2. Towns and cities shall control all the shade and ornamental trees in the public ways winch the warden deems reasonably necessary. The warden shall mark-all such trees.
Sec. 3. If any such trees prove to be private property the warden shall acquire them if it is possible to do so at a fair price. If unable to agree on price they may be acquired as provided for acquiring land for highway.
Sec. 4. Appropriations may be made not exceeding fifty cents for each ratable poll to be used for planting and caring for such trees.
Sec. 5. Provides tor cutting trees upon consent of warden.
Sec. 6. Prohibits defacement except on consent of warden.
Sec. 7. Prohibits owners of land from burning brush near trees.
Sec. 8. Provides penalties for violations.