Planting trees is just about the best thing we can do for the environment. Trees reduce erosion, clean the air and water, lock down carbon from the atmosphere, provide habitat and much, much more.
The Stream ReLeaf program helps property owners plant riparian buffers. Riparian buffers are protective strips of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation along a stream which help prevent erosion, provide vegetative cover, and trap nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus – two major pollutants of the Chesapeake Bay. Thousands of trees have been planted this way.
In order for a property owner to be eligible for this program, they must commit to planting a minimum of a dozen trees or shrubs, and the area to be planted must be within 75 feet of a stream (but not in a utility right-of-way). For more information on the Stream ReLeaf Program, please visit the Recreation and Parks Departments’ Forestry webpage.
Turf to Trees
The Turf to Trees program was created to help alleviate the damaging effects of stormwater runoff by increasing tree coverage throughout the County. 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. Since the project started in 2015, over 3,100 trees have been planted.
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. To learn more, visit the Turf to Trees webpage.
Volunteers Planting Trees
- Students Branching Out is a Howard County program that involves students in tree planting projects. Visit the Students Branching Out webpage to find out more.
- Each spring, at Earth Day with Recreation and Parks, volunteers plant trees in local parks or open space. More trees are planted each fall at Family Volunteer Day.
- In fall 2019, 2,000 native trees were given out to Howard county residents through Howard County Recreation and Parks. The trees were in 5-gallon containers and approximately 5 to 8 feet tall. Native species generally live longer and require less care. The tree species given away were: Eastern Redbud, River Birch,Northern Red OakSwamp White Oak, Red Maple, Sycamore, American Hornbeam, and Black Gum. In fall 2020, the county did the program again, distributing 2020 native trees. The tree species were Eastern Redbud, Flowering Dogwood, Black Gum, and Red Maple.
- In spring 2017, 250 native trees were given out to Howard County residents through a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and BGE.
- In 2010, the County utilized funds from interest of the fee-in-lieu* program to provide free trees to County residents. These events were called 2010 Trees and 2010 More Trees. Residents chose a native tree, picked it up, and planted it on their property. Over 5,000 trees were planted through two events.
*When developers are not able to perform their forest mitigation requirements through planting they must pay a fee-in-lieu to the County as established in the Forest Conservation Regulations.