Tree Warden’s Plan for ‘Quintessential New England’ Sugar Maples at Town Hall Thwarted


Despite his reservations about the appropriateness of a Norway maple that’s breaking apart in front of Town Hall, the tree warden reluctantly is allowing the large tree to remain after a resident complained about its being tagged for removal.

The Norway maple out front of Town Hall will remain, at least for now, though New Canaan's tree warden had a plan to remove it and plant two native sugar maple trees on either side of the walkway leading to the front entrance. Credit: Michael Dinan

The Norway maple out front of Town Hall will remain, at least for now, though New Canaan’s tree warden had a plan to remove it and plant two native sugar maple trees on either side of the walkway leading to the front entrance. Credit: Michael Dinan

Tree Warden Bruce Pauley had intended to plant a pair of matching, six-inch caliber sugar maples on either side of the walkway up in front of Town Hall—the “quintessential New England tree,” he said.

“I would have spaced them out so they have plenty of room to grow, without interfering with anything,” Pauley, a fourth-generation New Canaanite, told “They have a fantastic color in the fall, they are strong and vibrant and I would want them out there.”

Yet town resident Andrea Sandor, on seeing that the Norway maple had been tagged for removal, objected strenuously to Pauley and other officials. In emails, Sandor called the Norway maple “an important” and “legacy tree” that “provides an anchor for the rural nature of the town.”

The tree is highly visible, Sandor said in her emails, offers shade and “is in a great location to be nurtured.” Sandor said the Norway maple has been poorly pruned and objected to the tree’s being tagged for removal while construction fencing had obstructed her view of the tag and, consequently, her ability to call for a hearing on it.

Sandor could not immediately be reached for comment.

A second Norway maple had stood on the opposite side of the path but was planted too deep and developed “girdling roots,” which killed it, Pauley said.

The remaining Norway maple, though not a safety hazard, had branches that grew too close to the American flag in front of Town Hall and so was pruned back. Now that Town Hall is slated to reopen following its renovation and expansion, it is “a golden opportunity to replace that Norway maple which is breaking apart” and also is not a native species, and is taking over much of Connecticut’s forest, Pauley said.

The sugar maple trees would enhance how the area in front of Town Hall looks, Pauley said, though he also doesn’t feel it was worthwhile to wrangle with Sandor about a hearing on the tagged tree.

Anyone advocating for the existing tree essentially is “endorsing whoever decided to plant Norway maples 50 years ago—endorsing a very bad decision simply because of [the tree’s] size.”

Though Norway maples can be very beautiful, the species “is just basically the wrong tree to be in that location,” Pauley said.

13 thoughts on “Tree Warden’s Plan for ‘Quintessential New England’ Sugar Maples at Town Hall Thwarted

  1. Why do they change the plan because of one complaint? The two sugar maples would look great and better represent a small New England town.

  2. I agree with Mr. Pauley. The Norway Maple should be removed. They don’t allow grass to grow underneath, often have girdling roots and die prematurely, have bland colors in the fall, and are non-native. Sugar Maples are beautiful, allow grass to grow underneath, have striking fall colors, and are native to and would represent New England.

  3. It’s a shame one bully can thwart a beautiful plan for our newly renovated Town Hall. Sugar maples, a native species to replace the invasive Norway Maple is a no-brainer. Bruce Pauley is an undeniable expert on trees. I wonder what Ms. Sandor’s credentials are that her opinion is taken so seriously.

  4. Agree, we don’t change plans due to one complainer. Mr. Pauley knows his business, and with the completion of the extensive renovations of the Town Hall, this is the perfect time to plant the Sugar Maples. They will complete the very attractive landscaping plan for the new Town Hall.

    • Absolutely. Bruce we are all thankful for your hard work and expertise. Please know that your decision is the correct one.

      The new town hall needs those maples !!!

  5. Norway Maples are poor trees for anyone to plant. They are brittle and break, and litter the yard. They are an invasive species. We should support the tree warden and put in Sugar Maples.

  6. The Norway Maple should be replaced with the native Sugar Maples.
    Storms in the past few years have weakened many of the Norway Maples in town and they have become dangerous. I had several removed from my property recently, and they were all cracked and rotting near the top.
    This tree will need continuing care, and probably cables, in order to keep it there. We paid a lot to have Town Hall renovated. It would be awful to have the building damaged by a tree that needs to be removed.

  7. I agree with the other commenters that one loud complainer should not be allowed to upset well thought out plans by someone as qualified as Bruce Pauley. The Norway Maple is not even a native species, and the new Sugar Maples would look terrific. Please, Bruce, stick to your guns.

    • I agree fully with Beth Jones and especially Bruce Pauley on this one … why should one loud RICH person get to keep bullying the Town when she selectively feels like it. It’s time for that public hearing and have all of us “come to the ramparts” for Bruce … last time i checked, we still live in a democracy and MAJORITY RULES.

  8. I also agree with bruce pauley and the other commenters that the norway maple should be replaced by a sugar maple.

  9. Is Ms. Sandor a certified arborist or a member of ISA (International Society of Arboriculture)? If she is not why would the town go against the recommendation of the town arborist if he has no conflict of interest in recommending the sugar maple trees? What liability does the town have for not following the expert advice of Mr. Pauley and following an emotional plea?

  10. I fully support the town’s arborist, Bruce Pauley, to remove the Norway maple and replace it with two. Please, Mr. Pauley, re-post the tree for removal and plant the two sugar maples.

  11. I agree that now would be the time to replace the remaining Norway maple. It will look odd to have 2 trees in front of town hall that are not symmetrical in size, and the Norway maple is invasive with very little character. Consider how nice the row of sugar maples looks around the property of the New Canaan historical society. Those were put in more than 10 years ago by Bruce and have grown in quite well.

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