The department of highways, in this chapter called the department, shall have the
care and control of all trees, shrubs and growths within state highways, and may trim,
cut or remove such trees, shrubs and growths, or license the trimming, cutting or
removal thereof. No such tree, shrub or other growth shall be trimmed, cut or removed by any person
other than an agent or employee of the department, even if he be the owner of the
fee in the land on which such tree, shrub or growth is situated, except upon a permit
in writing from the department. Any person injured in his property by the action of the department as to the trimming,
cutting, removal or retention of any such tree, shrub or other growth, may recover
the damages, if any, which he has sustained, from the commonwealth under chapter seventy-nine.
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