Community Forest Commission


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Gary Zielinski   Tree Warden 1019 Main Street (203) 488-4156    
Ivy Bigelow Kim  D  Co-Chairs 105 Damascus Road (805) 636-4497 3 Years 1/30/2024
Vacancy (Sweeney)  U       3 Years 1/30/2024
Doreen Larson-Oboyski   D   26 Reynolds Ave (203) 747-1827 3 Years 1/30/2025
Shirley McCarthy  D   16 Rockland Park (203) 815-4274 3 Years 1/30/2026
Susan Hally D   Co-Chairs 122 Red Hill Road (203) 214-5363 3 Years 1/30/2026


The Community Forest Commission (CFC) was adopted into the Town Code in January of 2009 (Chapter 16). The purpose of the commission is to recognize and promote the importance of trees in the community and the many benefits they provide.

The CFC is charged with promoting the importance of trees in the community and developing educational resources for property owners and developers in town regarding tree plantings and maintenance.

The trees in our community provide carbon dioxide capture and storage, flood and erosion control, wildlife habitat, and they clean the air and water of pollution. They also screen noise and nighttime light. The US ForestService has concluded that people live longer on streets with trees; but on streets that lose tree cover, the premature mortality rate rises. Neighborhood trees reduce the risk of many serious health problems, from cardiovascular disease to cognitive decline to cancer. Trees improve social interactions and increase neighborhood satisfaction and mental and cognitive health. Lost shade worsens the heat island effect in developed areas and increases energy usage; deaths in heat waves may even be reduced by utilizing the cooling effects of trees. With all of these benefits, it is unsurprising that properties and homes that feature trees are worth more money than those without. Yet, despite trees’ value, suburban/urban tree cover continues to decline nationwide.

 Click on the links below to navigate to specific information:


Community Forestry Commission - Tree Request

The Community Forestry Commission (CFC) is collecting requests for trees from the community to assist with our tree planting strategy for calendar year 2021 and beyond.

Our goal is to keep Branford a forested community and we need your assistance to collect this information.

Please follow the steps to place a request for a tree on town property.

  1. Identify location for tree placement.  (Consult Branford GIS if unsure the location is on Town property).
  2. Complete Tree Request Form 

The Commemorative Tree Planting Program coordinates planting of trees on town property. If you would like to plant a tree on town property, please fill out the above form and specify that the request is for a memorial tree.

Native Plants 

The CFC would like to get the message out to restore native trees, shrubs and perennials to our community. Native varieties thrive in local conditions and need less maintenance because they have evolved and are adapted to our area. Native trees and plants attract and feed local and migrating birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife that depend on natives for their survival. Please read more about the importance of planting natives through this article by the Connecticut Audubon and this Bringing Nature Home article.

Below is a short list of places where you may be able to find native plants; please contact a business ahead of time to be sure that they have native plants in stock that meet your planting needs.

(* denotes a nursery that specializes in native plants)

Before you buy plants anywhere, do your due diligence and consult Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group's list, to make sure you are not buying an invasive menace, and Go Botany from the Native Plant Trust to make sure the plant is native here in Branford.

The Branford CFC has also put together lists of recommended:



What is an invasive species? It is one that is non-native to our ecosystem, and one whose introduction causes environmental harm. The State of Connecticut provides information about invasive animals as well as plants via DEEP. When you spot an invasive pest, look for information about whether it is reportable in the state and how best to remove and destroy it. The following links provide information about some invasive plants special concern to tree health:

And about these invasive animals:

Please note that the movement of firewood is regulated in the State of Connecticut in order to
limit the spread of Emerald Ash Borer.

Tree Care

Watering Practices for Recently Planted Trees

Watering is a critical factor for tree survival after planting. During the first three years after planting, regular watering is necessary. 

  • Water where the roots are. The first year they are right around the root ball; be sure to expand the watering area as the tree and roots grow.
  • Use less frequent but more intense watering sessions rather than frequent shallow watering.
  • As a general guide, 10 gallons of water should slowly be applied once or twice a week if rainfall is insufficient.

Please Mulch Correctly

Proper mulching technique:

  • Mulch roughly 3x the width of the root ball to ensure that growing roots benefit from the mulch layer
  • Lay mulch 2-3 inches deep
  • Mounding around the perimeter of the mulched area to create a water retaining berm is OK; NEVER mound mulch around the base of the tree!

BAD mulching/mounding mulch at the base of the tree causes:

  • Bark rot
  • Insect/disease penetration into bark
  • Encourages growth of girdling roots around the trunk base
  • Rodent infestation
  • Tree death

Click here for a printable mulching flyer that you can share with others.

Consult a Licensed Arborist

If you have concerns about the health of your tree or your tree needs care, please consult a licensed arborist. The Connecticut Tree Protective Association has a searchable list.

Know Your Rights When Approached by Utility Companies

If you are approached about tree trimming or removal, you may find this information useful:

Ongoing Projects and Activities

Tree Planting

The Branford Community Forest Commission collaborates with the Department of Public Works, to plant approximately 50 trees each year on town property or road rights-of-way. During 2022, 54 native trees were planted, including swamp white oak, American linden, red maple, and black gum. Over their lifetimes these trees have the potential to remove about 665 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions produced by about 45 people during a single year. You can help by planting trees. Scientists recommend that neighborhoods and urban areas should strive to achieve a canopy cover of at least 30%, and that three trees should be visible from every home.

Town Tree Survey

The Community Forest Commission recently completed a survey of Branford’s tree canopy. The goal of this survey was to develop an estimate of tree canopy cover in Branford. This was accomplished using aerial imagery and a random sampling process to easily estimate tree cover and other ground cover types such as water, impervious surfaces, lawn, and marsh. A full summary of the survey is available here:
Tree cover estimates by neighborhood are:

  • Branford Center 28%
  • Branford Hills 40%
  • Branford Point 35%
  • Brushy Plain 60%
  • Cherry Hill 56%
  • East Industrial 39%
  • Mill Plain 61%
  • Indian Neck/Pawson Park 27%
  • Pine Orchard 49%
  • Short Beach 44%
  • Stony Creek 53%
  • Stony Creek North 74%
  • Windmill Hill 40%

Memberships and Awards

The Town of Branford is a member of Tree City USA. The Community Forest Commission also presents an annual award to local businesses that focus on ecologically sustainable plantings, including native plants and trees.