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Time to Plant Trees

Get your free Buffer in a Bag

     We sing the praises of nature frequently here in Chesapeake Country. We know that plants and trees do important things like provide oxygen, wildlife habitat and natural beauty.
      Trees also keep our watershed clean by intercepting rainfall, of which we have had more than our share this season, and reducing its impact by allowing water to penetrate the soil instead of running off into streams. You can give the Bay watershed a helping boost by adding more trees to the landscape.
      Even better, if you own property with a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near it, you are eligible for free trees through the Department of Natural Resources’ Backyard Buffers. Trees planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, lowering peak water temperatures, reducing sediment and stabilizing stream banks.
     Both Anne Arundel and Calvert counties offer residents seedlings to plant to improve water quality. In Calvert, DNR teams up with the American Chestnut Land Trust and Master Gardeners in offering free “buffers in a bag,” two mixes of trees and shrubs. Each bag contains native bare-root tree seedlings suitable for planting in moist soil. The shrub/small tree bundle includes three redbuds, three gray dogwoods and three indigo bushes. The large tree bundle includes five river birch, five sycamores and five chestnut oaks. All seedlings are one year old and approximately 8 to 14 inches tall. There is a limit of two bundles per household; first-come, first-served. Deadline April 10. Contact Liz Laher, University of Maryland Extension, Calvert: [email protected] or 410-535-3662 to reserve seedlings. 
      Anne Arundel residents get their buffers in a bag through the Watershed Stewards Academy. The seedlings are free, but a $10 donation is requested: www.aawsa.org/backyard-buffers. A free workshop April 3 at Arlington Echo in Millersville covers plant spacing, planting and tree protection.