Tree Wardens

Program Background

In 1901 the Connecticut legislature passed a law mandating the appointment of a “tree warden” in all municipalities.  This person then has care and control over all municipal public trees and shrubs in that community.  The law guides the appointment, roles, and responsibilities of the tree warden.

Since 1991, UConn Extension Tree Warden Outreach has provided tree wardens, deputy tree wardens, elected and appointed public officials, and community forestry volunteers with education and assistance on tree warden duties, roles and responsibilities and urban and community forestry. In 1992, the program formed the Tree Wardens’ Association of Connecticut, to provide a means for tree wardens and deputy tree wardens to come together through peer participation to increase and expand their knowledge and to motive them to perform their duties well.

In 1998, UConn Extension Tree Warden Outreach collaborated in creating the Tree Warden School in cooperation with the Tree Wardens’ Association of Connecticut. Over 300 tree wardens, deputy tree wardens, community forestry volunteers, arborists, landscape architects, and chief elected and appointed officials have completed the program.

Meeting New (2013) Tree Warden Qualification Requirements

In 2013, the state legislature revised the state tree warden law requiring each city and town to appoint a “qualified” person.  This qualified person may be the municipal tree warden or a deputy tree warden.  Qualified person simply means (a) the tree warden has successfully completed (and passed) the Tree Warden School, (b) be a Connecticut Licensed Arborist, or (c) be a deputy tree warden in the municipality who has successfully completed (and passed) the Tree Warden School.

The Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protections is mandated with ensuring Connecticut state law regarding tree warden and the municipal qualified person laws are satisfied. UConn Extension Tree Warden Outreach is charged with maintaining records for this mandate and for ensuring and conducting the Tree Warden School.

UConn Extension Tree Warden Outreach is conducted in close cooperation and collaboration the Tree Wardens’ Association of Connecticut. Founded in 1992, the association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating tree wardens and others about tree warden roles and responsibilities (in the proper care and control of ornamental trees, shade trees, and shrubs for the purpose of assuring their continued preservation and natural beauty) through education and advocacy. The association partners with UConn Extension in meeting the state tree warden law and with the continued professionalization of tree wardens, deputy tree wardens, and elected and appointed officials.

Tree Warden School

Since 1998, UConn Extension and the Tree Wardens’ Association of Connecticut, Inc. have partnered in conducting the annual Tree Warden School. Since the initial class, over 300 tree wardens, deputy tree wardens, chief elected officials, municipal engineers, community forestry volunteers, and others have taken the course. Most chose to take the final exam.

With the 2013 revisions to tree warden state law, anyone who took the course during and prior to 2013 will be regarded as qualified to serve as the qualified tree warden or deputy tree warden in a municipality.

Beginning in and after 2014, anyone seeking to be qualified under the 2013 revision will need to be (a) take the course and pass the exam or (b) be a Connecticut Licensed Arborist.

The Tree Warden School is annually conducted each fall.


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