ELLICOTT CITY, MD – County Executive Calvin Ball announced that the Department of Recreation & Parks in cooperation with the Office of Community Sustainability will be giving away 2,000 native trees in five-gallon containers for Howard County residents to plant on their property. Each tree will be approximately five to eight feet tall. Reservations begin at 9:00 a.m. on August 30. To register, visit https://www.howardcountymd.gov/park-rangers#forestry and click on the “Annual Tree Giveaway” tab.
Since 2019, we've helped plant more than 50,000 trees in Howard County - one of the most effective tools to support our environment. We will continue to work hand in hand with Howard County residents to plant more trees in the county than ever before to improve our community’s health, sustainability, and beauty."
There are four tree species to choose from: Redbud, Flowering Dogwood, Black Gum, and Red Maple. Each tree is native to Maryland, meaning that it is acclimated to this climate and provides benefits to local pollinators and wildlife. Residents may choose up to two trees and will be responsible for picking up, planting, and caring for their tree(s).
Pickup dates are Thursday, September 23 from 2:00-7:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 25 from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Both days will have two locations running simultaneously. One at West Friendship Park (12985 Frederick Road, West Friendship) and another at Rockburn Branch Park (6105 Rockburn Branch Park Road, Elkridge).
“Fall is the best time of year to plant trees,” said Howard County Recreation & Parks Director A. Raul Delerme. "The Department’s Natural and Historic Resources Division is committed to creating a green and sustainable Howard County through their daily tasks and by community outreach events like this.”
The Office of Sustainability provided the following suggestions on how to plant new trees:
- Locate a site for your tree or shrub that allows for an appropriate amount of sunlight and moisture for that species.
- Dig a hole two times wider than the root ball being planted. Plant the tree so that the top of the root ball is level with or up to one inch above the level of the surrounding soil.
- Remove the tree from the container. Loosen the root system gently so that the roots point outward away from the center.
- In the hole, make a mound of soil and spread the plant’s roots out and down over it.
- Place soil from the hole around the roots. Compress the soil and water the plant when the hole is half full. Keep adding soil if needed to fill the hole and completely cover the roots. Do not cover the root collar, where the base of the tree trunk flares out. Compress the soil again and water.
- Spread mulch over the planting area to a depth of two to three inches, but do not place mulch against the trunk of the tree.
- Staking the tree should not be needed. You should place a tree bark protector around the trunk of a tree to prevent deer from rubbing their antlers on it.
- Water the plant during the growing season as needed if there isn't rain. A long drink of water once a week is better than light watering more frequently.
For further information about the 2021 Tree Giveaway, including the registration link, descriptions of the trees, and details on the pickup locations, please visit https://www.howardcountymd.gov/park-rangers#forestry and click on the “Annual Tree Giveaway” tab.