Forestry

StreamReleaf1

StreamReleaf1

Turf to Trees Program

The Turf to Trees program was created to help alleviate the damaging effects of stormwater runoff by increasing tree coverage throughout the County. Trees help to abate stormwater runoff by: 

  • reducing water through absorption
  • slowing precipitation through canopy coverage
  • binding soil to prevent erosion
  • reducing water through evaporation and transpiration

The program provides trees and planting services to Howard County property owners with lots of 1.5 to 10 acres in size, free of cost.

To qualify for the program, property owners must commit to receiving and maintaining a minimum of 50 trees. The property owner must care for the trees provided by the County including, but not limited to, watering, shelter maintenance and removal, protecting trees from deer and other pests, as well as invasive species remediation.

The County will assess each property to determine eligibility. A planting plan, including planting boundaries and a tree species list, will be created in collaboration with the property owner. An emphasis will be given to creating a contiguous planting, in which the trees are grouped together. However, non-contiguous plantings will be considered to address specific environmental concerns. Perimeter planting (one row of trees around a property) will not be accepted.

 

Priority will be given to properties with the following:

  • Properties with 40% or less tree canopy coverage (the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that shelter the ground when viewed from above – Howard County staff can assess this remotely).
  • Properties with environmentally sensitive features such as streams or steep slopes. 
  • Properties in or near the Green Infrastucture Network (County staff can determine if your property is within this area).

 

 

For More Information:

Megan L.H. Mills

410-313-6205

Fax: 410-313-1631

Howard County Recreation & Parks

Natural Resources Division

7120 Oakland Mills Road

Columbia, MD 21046

Trees improve water quality by reducing stormwater runoff, intercepting and storing rain water, increasing infiltration through root systems, reducing soil erosion and filtering pollutants. Trees help us by absorbing chemical pollutants, intercepting particulate matter, creating oxygen and cooling air temperature by turning water in vapor. Trees reduce atmospheric carbon by sequestering CO2 in their roots, trunks, stems and leaves. Trees raise property values by increasing curb appeal, creating privacy, reducing noise pollution and reducing heating and cooling costs by shading buildings and blocking winds. 



A species list will be created, with your input, based on your goals for your new forest as well as what will thrive in the conditions of your property. Below are examples of native trees which we plant. A site specific planting list will be made for your property, with your input. We strive to obtain trees which are at least 5 feet in height, but substitutions may need to be made based on availability. 

 

  • Red Maple, Acer rubrum
  • River Birch, Betula nigra
  • Swamp White Oak, Quercus bicolor
  • American Elm, Ulmus Americana
  • Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis
  • Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis
  • Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana
  • Smooth Alder, Alnus serrulata
  • Easter Redbud, Cercis Canadensis
  • Chestnut Oak, Quercus prinus
  • Tulip Poplar, Lirodendron tulipifera
  • Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia
  • Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida
  • Willow Oak, Quercus phellos
  • Northern Red Oak, Quercus rubra
  • Black gum, Nyssa sylvatica
  • Loblolly, Pinus taeda

 

And more…



If you are wondering if your property qualifies, please feel free to contact Megan L.H. Mills prior to submitting your application. To apply for the program, please fill out and submit the Application and Homeowner agreement below via fax, email or mail. 

APPLICATION AND HOMEOWNER AGREEMENT

Once you have received confirmation that your property qualifies for the Turf to Trees program and your planting plan is in place, you will need to submit a Right of Entry Agreement which will allow us access to your property to plant. Please find an example of the Right of Entry below. You do not need to fill this out until you have been approved for participation in the program 

RIGHT OF ENTRY AGREEMENT

 

Megan L.H. Mills

410-313-6205

Fax: 410-313-1631

Howard County Recreation & Parks

Natural Resources Division

7120 Oakland Mills Road

Columbia, MD 21046

 


Stream ReLeaf Program

The mission of the Stream Releaf program is to create and enhance riparian forest buffers (protective strips of trees, shrubs and other vegetation's along a stream) to improve water quality and wildlife habitat throughout Howard County.

The County will assess each property to determine eligibility, planting area and the maximum number of plants which may be ordered. A minimum of 12 tree and/or shrubs must be ordered to participate in the program. The homeowner will choose plants appropriate for their yard from a list of native trees and shrubs provided by the County. All trees and shrubs obtained through the program must be planted on the applicant’s property within 75 feet of a stream. 

The homeowner must commit to planting and caring for the trees and shrubs provided by the County including, but not limited to, watering, shelter installation and maintenance, protecting trees and shrubs from deer and other pests. Trees and shrubs will be delivered by the County to the homeowner’s property in the spring and fall.

For More Information:

Megan L.H. Mills

410-313-6205

Fax: 410-313-1631

Howard County Recreation & Parks

Natural Resources Division

7120 Oakland Mills Road

 Columbia, MD 21046

Stream Buffers help prevent stream bank erosion. The vegetative cover dissipates the energy and friction of moving water and the roots help hold the soil in place. Such vegetation also plays an important role in reducing water temperature – an important aspect of aquatic habitat. The vegetation traps much of the sediment, nutrients and other pollutants, preventing them from entering our waterways.

 

In addition to stabilizing the soil, plants utilize most of the trapped nutrients. In fact, an effective buffer will use up to 80% of the phosphorous and nearly 90% of the nitrogen, two of the biggest pollutants of the Chesapeake Bay.


Please review the species list below:


Trees:

Red Maple, Acer rubrum

River Birch, Betula nigra

Swamp White Oak, Quercus bicolor

American Elm, Ulmus Americana

Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis

Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis

Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana

Smooth Alder, Alnus serrzlata


Shrubs:

Arrowwod Viburnum, Viburnum dentatum

Serviceberry, Amelanchier Canadesis

Winterberry Holly, Ilex verticillata (Female)

Southern Gentleman,  Ilex verticillata (Male)

Spicebush, Lindera benzoin

Redosier Dogwood, Cornus sericea

Black Chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa


If you have qualified for the program to order over 50 trees and/or shrubs, you may qualify for planting services. Alternately, if you and your neighbor(s) have orders that total over 50 plants, we will be happy to plant your properties at the same time. Properties must be in the same neighborhood for combined totals to qualify for a free contractor planting.  


In general, planting density is based on 200 trees per acre, so you would need about1/4 of an acre that you are willing to plant within 75 feet of a stream to qualify for planting services. However if you are planting more shrubs than trees, your planting density may increase and the planting area may be smaller.


If you are interested in having a contractor planting and believe that your property qualifies for over 50 trees, please contact Megan L.H. Mills.  We will need a completed Right-Of-Entry Agreement so that we may perform the work on your property. 


Planting and Sheltering Guidelines below:


Planting Guidelines

Sheltering Guidelines


ENROLL AND APPLY


If you are wondering if your property qualifies, please feel free to contact Megan L.H. Mills prior to enrollment. If you would like to go straight to the online enrollment database, please click here.


For More Information:

Megan L.H. Mills

410-313-6205

Fax: 410-313-1631

Howard County Recreation & Parks

Natural Resources Division

7120 Oakland Mills Road

Columbia, MD 21046