Tree pro­gram plants roots in com­mu­ni­ties

The Republican Herald - - COMMENTARY - BY CAROL OBANDODERSTINE

Last time we saw leaves, we were hur­ry­ing to rake them off the lawn be­fore the fall snow arrived.

Now a warmer sea­son is here, and the trees are sprout­ing this sum­mer’s cover again. It’s a nice part of ev­ery spring.

We’re proud to say that 20,000 brand-new trees in cen­tral and east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia will be planted this year — hope­fully to pro­vide shade, cover and beauty for decades to come. It’s part of a re­cently launched pro­gram we call Com­mu­nity Roots.

Through Com­mu­nity Roots, PPL Elec­tric Util­i­ties of­fers free tree seedlings to schools, lo­cal gov­ern­ments and en­vi­ron­men­tally fo­cused groups. We also pro­vide plant­ing and care in­struc­tions, so each seedling has the best chance of putting down some real com­mu­nity roots.

We in­tro­duced the pro­gram last year, and it’s been such a hit that we quickly re­ceived or­ders for all avail­able trees. Those who were cho­sen to re­ceive seedlings this spring will re­ceive them this month and next. Or­der­ing for spring and fall 2019 for qual­i­fied groups and schools is avail­able through our web­site, www.pplcom­mu­ni­ty­roots.com.

Why give away trees? Trees have many ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing help­ing to re­duce air pol­lu­tion. In ad­di­tion, they pro­vide much-needed shade in parks and other green spa­ces and beau­tify our neigh­bor­hoods.

The only con­cern trees cause is if they’re planted too close to power lines. Trees are the lead­ing cause of storm-re­lated out­ages. We pro­vide Com­mu­nity Roots tree re­cip­i­ents with guid­ance on how to plant safely for the fu­ture. (Even if you’re not on the list for Com­mu­nity Roots trees, you can see use­ful in­for­ma­tion on plant­ing trees and power lines at www.ppl­elec­tric. com/plant­ing.)

We also urge any­one with a dig­ging project — in­clud­ing tree plant­ing — to call Penn­syl­va­nia 811 at least three busi­ness days be­fore dig­ging starts. Your un­der­ground util­ity lines will be marked so you don’t dig into them. Hit­ting an un­der­ground util­ity line can put you at risk for se­ri­ous in­jury, and can also dis­rupt your ser­vice.

If you’re a tree lover, Penn­syl­va­nia is a great place. More than 130 species of trees are na­tive to the state, and forests cover about 60 per­cent of the state.

We’re proud to serve our area of Penn­syl­va­nia, and pleased to con­trib­ute to its abun­dance of tree life. And we hope our Com­mu­nity Roots trees will some­day pro­vide you and your neigh­bors with a shady place to sit or a lovely fall view.

If you have to do the rak­ing — well, it’s a small price to pay, re­ally.

(Obando-Der­s­tine is re­gional af­fairs di­rec­tor with

PPL Elec­tric Util­i­ties)

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