Forest Services giving away tree seedlings
— Residents looking to do their part to aid the local environment can participate in a seedling program from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources Forest Services.
The agency recently announced the department is giving away 50 seedling packets to county residents through the Backyard Buffers Program, which is now in its third year.
The program’s purpose is to increase natural buffers along Chesapeake Bay tributaries on properties that are 5 acres or smaller, said Tom Frederick, project for-
ester with the Maryland Forest Service.
The bag of seedling packets will include 25 seedlings for persimmon, river birch, silky dogwood, southern arrowhead and sycamore trees, Frederick said. There will be five seeds for each tree included in the packets. These trees and shrubs were chosen because they do well around areas with medium to high soil moisture, Frederick said.
Frederick said residents should plant the trees near streams, rivers, intermittent streams, creeks and wetlands. In turn, the trees and vegetation will intercept pollutants and nutrients that environmentalists would rather not get into the Chesapeake Bay.
Program organizers hope to fill the acreage gap by giving the packets to landowners to plant more trees, Frederick said. For years, Forest Services has organized the tree plantings on larger properties to create buffer areas to prevent erosion, improve water quality and increase wildlife habitat. However, this program is a newer effort aimed at smaller properties.
Frederick said the program began in the county in 2014, when 100 packages were given away. He said 50 packages were available for residents in 2015.
The packages are limited one per households and are available until supplies run out, Frederick said. They are available for pickup in April. Anyone interested in reserving the seedlings should contact Frederick by emailing tom. frederick@ mar yland. gov or calling 410-287-5777.
Backyard buffer trees are being supplied to help reduce runoff into streams and wetlands, thus reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.