For­est Ser­vices giv­ing away tree seedlings

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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-

CE­CIL COUNTY

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.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DNR

Back­yard buf­fer trees are be­ing sup­plied to help re­duce runoff into streams and wet­lands, thus re­duc­ing pol­lu­tion in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

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