The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree plantings to help improve water quality in targeted Eastern Shore communities.
Kent and Queen Anne’s County landowners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property are eligible for free tree seedlings through the department’s Backyard Buffer program.
Trees planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, reducing sediment, lowering water temperatures and stabilizing stream banks.
Each “buffer in a bag” contains 25 bare-root, native tree seedlings suited for planting in moist soil conditions. The bundle will include five eastern redbud, five red osier dogwood, five river birch, two to three bald cypress, two to three eastern red cedar, two to three American sycamore and two to three willow oak. Loblolly pine will be bagged separately in quantities of 10 per bag. All seedlings are 1 year old and about 8 to 10 inches tall.
Tree protection tubes will again be available for purchase on orders in both counties through the Queen Anne’s County Forestry Board. The tree shelters will include a 4-foot tube, bird net, wooden stake and zip ties. Tree tubes provide a number of beneficial purposes including, blocking deer rubbing, discouraging animals from chewing on the seedlings, protecting the seedlings from frost damage, providing markers to identify the trees when mowing, and functioning as small “greenhouses” promoting increased height growth.
Maryland Forest Service staff will provide information on tree growing and planting techniques and tips and other good native species choices at the time of pick up.
All requests must be received by March 22. Interested homeowners should call the Centreville office at 410-819-4120, or 410-819-4121 or email Brittany Hass at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve their seedlings for an early April pick up. Quantities are limited so reservations will be on a first-come, first-served basis.