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Trees for the Bay

Roadside buffers trap pollution in their roots

It’s not too early for planting trees — especially when you’ve got the digging power of the Maryland State Highway Administration. They’re busy planting roadside buffers of 8,700 trees in Anne Arundel County. Deciduous and evergreen in mixed rows, those trees will improve the health of the Chesapeake watershed by capturing pollution-producing nitrogen and phosphorus in their root systems.
    Varieties are all Chesapeake natives: serviceberry, dogwood, redbud, linden, bald cypress, elm, river birch, hornbeam, hickory, poplar, beech, magnolia and numerous oak and maple species.
    The trees are clustered along Rt. 2 in Harwood and Lothian, with additional plantings on Rts. 4, 258, 424 and 468.
    Charles County will get 3,900 later this spring. Thousands more have been planted in Harford County.
    Southern Maryland’s $1.3 million project includes two planting seasons and two years of monitoring, to be completed by spring 2018, weather permitting.
     Those saplings bring a second piece of good news: It must be spring. The Highway Administration plants only in fall and spring to avoid extreme heat and to give the trees the best chance for survival.
    Rejoice and get out your shovel.