by Lisa Tome
In the event the rough winter has resulted in tree loss at your property, Tom Frederick can help.
Frederick, a staffer with the Maryland Forest Service, will have packets of free seedlings available in eight weeks or so. Property owners in Cecil County with streams, creeks, or other types of wetlands are eligible to receive the free packs of seedlings. The trees are being made available through a new program which is designed to improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and aesthetics in the Chesapeake Bay area.
Known as the Backyard Buffers Program, it seeks to increase forested buffers and trees along bay tributaries on smaller properties.
For decades, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service has organized the planting of trees on larger properties as a way to establish forest buffer areas to prevent erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat.
Frederick said that thus far, more than a dozen people have expressed interest in planting the free trees and shrubs. The trees are available to be planted at any location in the county which is close to streams, wetlands, and intermittent streams. He said these trees and shrubs require a good amount of sunlight and wouldn't be appropriate to be planted in a heavily forested area. There are about 75 additional packs of seedlings which have not been reserved.
The Backyard Buffers Program seeks to fill this gap by giving the free seedlings to landowners in what is being called a "buffer in a bag." Each package contains five of each of five species of trees and shrubs: river birch, sycamore, persimmon, winterberry, and serviceberry. The seedlings will be available for pick-up in April.
Pick up will be at Black Hill Ranger Station south of North East. Frederick said that planting needs to occur within three to four days of pick-up.
Anyone interested in reserving seedlings can contact Tom Frederick with the Maryland Forest Service, preferably by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 410-287-5777.