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Free Tree Seedlings Available in Howard and Montgomery County

Riparian Homeowners Can Help Improve Water Quality

Two children planting a tree seedlingThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree plantings to help improve water quality in targeted communities in Howard and Montgomery counties. 

Property owners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property are eligible for free shrub and tree seedlings through the department’s Backyard Buffers program. 

Trees and shrubs planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, reducing sediment, lowering peak water temperatures and stabilizing stream banks. 

Each “buffer in a bag” contains 25 native, bare-root tree and shrub seedlings suitable for planting in moist soil conditions. The bundle will include a mix of swamp white oak, willow oak, red bud, red osier dogwood and hazel alder. Every bundle will include seedlings that are 1-year-old and about 8 to 10 inches tall. 

Maryland Forest Service staff will provide information on shrub and tree maintenance and planting techniques, in addition to suggestions on other good native species at the time of pick up. Bundles will be available for pick up in April.

All requests must be received by March 28. Interested homeowners should contact James Eierdam at 410-442-2080 or 301-854-6060. Quantities are limited, and reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.