The city of Frederick’s sustainability office on Wednesday is rolling out its annual cost-share program for purchasing tree saplings. For city residents, it offers to cover half of the price of native Maryland trees.
The program, Tree Frederick, is in its fourth year and will take online orders between Feb. 1 and March 17, with an anticipated April 1 pick-up date at Max Kehne Park.
Residents can confirm their eligibility for the program by verifying their address on the program’s website, then, when eligibility is confirmed, can pick from a list of 19 different species of native trees that range from $15 to $25, depending on the size.
The trees come potted and their cost includes the city’s share, which is funded by $5,000 out of the city’s office of sustainability budget.
Jenny Willoughby, Frederick’s sustainability manager, said the program is mutually beneficial for residents and the city’s sustainability goals.
Frederick aims to cover 40% of its area with tree canopy by 2030 and, as of the most recent 2016 assessment, is only halfway to that goal, though the city is in the midst of remeasuring coverage and anticipates releasing those results in the coming months.
Expanding canopy coverage with residential trees will help the city reach that goal, Willoughby said, which has become a difficult task due to the city’s annexation of sparsely treed farmland in recent years.
Willoughby noted that the crowns of 100 trees cover around one acre of land, and said that she hopes to exceed sales from past years, which have been around 130 trees each year.
Residents, in turn, receive the financial and personal benefits of having the shady crown of a tree like swamp white oak cooling their home or yard in hot summer months, or an evergreen tree like juniper shielding the home from cold winds in winter months with its green boughs, according to Willoughby.
“There’s a lot of great ecological benefits,” Willoughby said of planting native trees. “It’s really good for water quality, great for air quality,” and improves habitat, too.
The trees for the program are supplied by Clear Ridge Nursery in Union Bridge, a women-owned business, Willoughby said.
Aside from swamp white oak and juniper, the city will also be selling more ornamental, smaller trees like dogwood and serviceberry, which will fit into spaces confined by power lines or structures, Willoughby said, and Wisconsin red hornbeam, a shade-loving tree whose leaves turn scarlet-red in the fall.
Willoughby said she hopes the program’s trees will reach the yards of neighborhoods in and around the Golden Mile and other areas that have sparser tree coverage, like neighborhoods with new developments.
If residents who purchase trees through the program have questions, like how and where to plant trees to aid with home energy efficiency, Willoughby, who is a certified arborist, said they could reach out directly to her at email@example.com.