TRENTON, NJ – The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Parks and Forestry is making 90,000 free tree seedlings available to residents through the New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign, an ongoing effort of the New Jersey Forest Service, the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation and other partners.
Registered municipalities will receive up to 2,000 seedlings each for distribution to residents through early May. Many counties have multiple distribution locations. Distribution dates vary.
Residents are eligible to receive bundles of five free seedlings at any distribution site. Proof of residency in the community where seedlings are distributed is not required.
“Trees provide habitat for wildlife, clean the air we breathe, provide shade, reduce the damaging effects of wind, limit erosion and contribute to a healthier environment,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “Equally important, trees beautify our communities and improve our quality of life in the Garden State.”
For an interactive map of distribution locations, click here.
The State Forest Service Nursery in Jackson, Ocean County, will distribute more than 30 species of trees through this effort, launched to help communities after Superstorm Sandy destroyed and damaged trees in 2012. Since then, the program has made more than a half-million trees available to residents.
“Communities will receive species that grow well in their region,” said New Jersey Forest Service Chief Todd Wyckoff. “Municipalities in the northern part of the state may receive sugar maple or black oak trees, while towns in the south may receive Atlantic white cedar or other species adapted to this region. Seedlings distributed to shore towns may include bayberry or beach plum, shrubs commonly found on dunes and in other coastal environments.”
The New Jersey Forest Service will deliver the seedlings to distribution centers for pick-up by municipalities, which will then distribute them to residents. Each participating community will distribute seedlings on designated dates.
Some tips to remember:
- Plant seedlings promptly to ensure they take root and thrive.
- Be mindful of the planting site’s surroundings by avoiding overhead utility lines and proximity to structures in case of storms and consider the size of the tree when fully grown.
- Moisten roots before planting.
- Dig a hole two to three times larger than the roots when spread apart. Do not plant roots too deep or shallow.
- Add loose soil gently, then add more soil and pack down firmly. Add water to firm the soil if necessary.
- Place wood-chip mulch around the base of the seedling.
- Water the seedling regularly but do not over-water, as this can cause roots to rot.
The New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign is a public-private effort among the New Jersey Forest Service, the New Jersey Forest Service Nursery, New Jersey Soil Conservation Districts, Sustainable Jersey, Arbor Day Foundation, Brothers International, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Wyndham Vacation Resorts and FedEx.
The Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Tree Recovery aims to replace trees in communities affected by natural disasters throughout the nation, most recently focusing on Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico – areas hit by hurricanes.
The New Jersey Forest Service Nursery in Jackson grows 500,000 trees annually, helping to protect, preserve and promote native species such as the eastern red cedar, sycamore, and northern red oak. All New Jersey residents may buy additional tree seedlings in packets of 50 that start at $18
For more information on these programs, visit www.forestnursery.org or call (732) 928-0029.
To find seedling distribution locations and dates, as well as additional information about trees, visit the State Forest Service Facebook page at www.facebook.com/newjerseyforests or go to www.forestry.nj.gov
To learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation, visit: www.arborday.org/newjersey