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Free Trees Available for Maryland’s ‘Backyard Buffers’

Waterfront and Streamside Landowners can Reserve Seedlings

Photo of a surrounded by trees and other vegetationThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to landowners statewide who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream, or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program, now available in 23 counties. 

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

Each “buffer in a bag” contains about 25 native bare-root tree and shrub seedlings with species appropriate to their region. 

Maryland Forest Service staff will provide information on tree maintenance and planting techniques, in addition to suggestions of other suitable native species at the time of pickup. 

The program is available in all Maryland jurisdictions except Baltimore City. Quantities are limited so reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Order deadlines, pickup dates, and partner organizations vary by county — a list of contacts for each county is found on the department’s website