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 streetscape, 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. 

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.

Pest Alert

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a non-native insect pest that kills all species of Ash trees, has now been found in Princeton as well as in surrounding counties. This highly destructive insect has killed millions of Ash trees in Michigan, where it was first found in 2002, and has killed tens of millions of additional trees in the twenty-three other infested states and two Canadian provinces. Princeton is currently formulating an EAB management plan for its approximately 2,000 Ash street trees.

The NJDEP State Forestry Services recommends:

  • IDENTIFY Ash trees. Ash species have opposite branches and leaves and a compound leaf with 5-11 leaflets. The bark on older trees has a unique diamond-shaped ridge bark, but younger trees may have smoother bark. Click here for images of an Ash tree and Ash tree look-alikes. 
  • MONITOR your Ash trees for the Emerald Ash Borer. You will know when the risk of mortality becomes urgent. Look for dying branches at the top of the tree, woodpecker damage, galleries under the bark, d-shaped holes, bark splits, sprouting at tree base and along trunk, and green adult beetles.
  • USE TRAPS to detect the Emerald Ash Borer in your community or woodlot. If the Emerald Ash Borer is in the area, it will be attracted to these purple prism traps.
  • SPREAD THE MESSAGE: DON'T MOVE FIREWOOD. Visitors who bring infested firewood to second homes or campgrounds near you put your trees at risk. Use only locally sourced or certified firewood.  (More information on firewood.) 

You Can Adopt an Ash Tree or Contribute to the STC Fund to Save Ash Trees

Click here  For information about the Princeton Emerald Ash Borer "Adopt an Ash Tree" program and to download the participation form.(The form is also available at Princeton Public Library and at the office of the Municipal Clerk, 400 Witherspoon Street.)

Click here  To download the STC Contribution Form



To determine the health of your Ash trees, consult Assess Ash Trees for Emerald Ash Borer.

Click here  To view the STC criteria that will help you decide whether to remove an ash tree or treat it.

Click here  To consult the Managing Emerald Ash Borer Decision Guide.  

Click here  For insecticide treatment options to protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer.

Click here   For FAQs regarding potential side effects of EAB insecticides.

Click here  To view the 2016 amendment to the Princeton Trees and Shrubs ordinance that exempts ash trees from some requirements of tree removal permits. 

Click here  To watch the STC's June 23, 2016, public information session on the Emerald Ash Borer, videotaped by and courtesy of Princeton TV.

For up-to-date EAB information, consult the Emerald Ash Borer Information Network. For New Jersey, consult the NJ Department of Agriculture's EAB website.   

For more information, the following websites are helpful:


Arbor Day

In Princeton, we usually combine our Arbor Day celebration with Communiversity, the outdoor festival which generally falls each year on the last Sunday in April. This year, Communiversity took place on Sunday, April 30, and members of the Shade Tree Commission handed out saplings of the kousa dogwood, blackgum, and eastern white pine.

If you received a sapling, here is some information about your tree:

Kousa Dogwood

Cornus kousa

The kousa dogwood is a small, deciduous flowering tree that can reach 15-25 feet.  It is native to East Asia but has been widely cultivated in the United States.

Kousa dogwoods bloom in late spring showing “flowers” characterized by four star-like white bracts that surround a cluster of yellowish-green true flowers.  

Flowers are followed by berry-like fruits that stay on the tree into the fall and are enjoyed by the birds. Oval, pointed leaves are dark green, usually turning shades of reddish-purple to scarlet in autumn. Mature trees have tan and gray bark that resembles a jigsaw puzzle.

The tree prefers average moisture but is somewhat drought-resistant.




Nyssa sylvatica

The blackgum is a relatively slow growing, medium-tall tree with a straight trunk and branches extending in straight angles. This native tree is well known for its beautiful fall foliage displaying hues of yellow, orange, bright red, and purple on the same tree.

The small greenish flowers on the blackgum appear in the spring and are a favorite of honeybees. Flowers give way to oval fruits with a dark blue color when mature. The fruits are edible but quite sour.

The tree has elliptically shaped leaves that are dark green above and paler green below. The bark of the blackgum is reddish brown and scaly.

The tree prefers a moist location. Given access to water, it is easy to grow.




Eastern White Pine

Pinus strobus

The Eastern white pine is a fast-growing evergreen tree that keeps its foliage year-round.  The tree is native to the Eastern part of the United States. When young, the white pine has the shape of a Christmas tree, but older trees usually have no branches at the bottom. They reach heights of 50 to 80 feet and can last 200–250 years. Some live over 400 years.

The tree has flexible long needles that grow in bundles of 5 and have a bluish-green color.  The cones of a white ash are slender and have rounded scales with a slight tip. The trunk of the white pine is used for telephone poles.

The tree likes well-drained dry soil, transplants easily, and is most comfortable in a sunny spot.