State Offering Free Tree Seedlings To Towns With Trees Felled By Sandy

by Patricia A. Miller

Superstorm Sandy did more than decimate homes along the Jersey Shore. The monster storm felled thousands of trees around the state.

The New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign Day Foundation is distributing 115,000 free tree seedlings to neighborhoods in more than 100 towns and cities to replace the trees, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said.

Municipalities interested in the free program registered last month. The trees are being delivered to those towns by the State Forestry Services and distributed to residents. Distributions of up to 1,000 trees per municipality began on Saturday and will continue throughout the month of April.

"Superstorm Sandy's winds toppled a staggering number of trees in towns across the state, and not just the counties that were hardest hit by the storm," said Commissioner Bob Martin. "Through this campaign, residents can replant trees where it means the most to them - right in their backyard."

The State Forestry Service's New Jersey Forest Nursery provides the seedlings for the campaign. From stately oak trees to petite dogwoods, the nursery is shipping out over 30 different tree species.

Although the seedlings will stand no more than knee-high when distributed, residents must keep in mind the full-grown size of the species when planting. Watch overhead utility lines and proximity to structures.

The trees should be planted as soon as possible after they are picked up.

Each participating town will distribute seedlings on a designed date, through April 18.To find a distribution location, visit www.communityforestry.nj.gov or http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/forest/docs/tree_recovery.pdf  or call (609) 292-2532.

The New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign is a joint effort between the New Jersey State Forestry Services' Community Forestry Program and State Forest Nursery, New Jersey Soil Conservation Districts, Sustainable Jersey, and the Arbor Day Foundation. Financial support for the program is provided by the Arbor Day Foundation.

The State Forestry Service's Forest Nursery opened in Jackson in 1982, where foresters grow 500,000 trees annually. The nursery sells the majority of trees in packets of 100 to private landowners, including families and businesses, who use the trees to reforest their land. Packet prices start at $30.

The nursery also offers the Third Grade Tree Team program where each third grader in the state is eligible to receive a free tree seedling when requested by their school. For Arbor Day celebrations, the nursery offers 98 tube seedlings for $25. For more information on these programs, visit www.forestnursery.org or call (732) 928-0029.

The National Arbor Day Foundation has been helping communities cope with the aftermath of natural disasters through its Tree Recovery Campaigns since 2011. For more on the Arbor Day Foundation , visit: : http://www.arborday.org/takeaction/community-tree-recovery/campaigns/new-jersey.cfm


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