Howard County Hosts Tree Giveaway Event

Heather Jauquet

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball continues to put forth measures to protect the environment.  

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Girls planting a treeEyoel Kahssay

Together, since 2019, the Department of Recreation and Parks, in cooperation with the Office of Community Sustainability, has assisted Howard County residents in planting more than 4,000 trees on their properties. In addition, since taking office, the Ball administration has planted more than 50,000 trees in Howard County, choosing native species that generally live longer and require less care.  

“The quickest way to change the world is to plant a tree.” —Howard County Executive Calvin Ball

.After its introduction in 2019, the giveaway was a success and became an annual program. The trees are given away in 5-gallon containers and are approximately 5 to 8 feet tall. 

In 2019 they gave away Eastern Redbuds, River Birches, Northern Red Oaks, Swamp White Oaks, Red Maples, Sycamores, American Hornbeams, and Black Gums. 

When they repeated the program in 2020, they distributed the Eastern Redbud, Flowering Dogwood, Black Gum, and Red Maple.  

This year, registrations opened up at 9am on August 30th. By 3pm the same day, residents had claimed all available trees. However, if you missed the registration, there is a waiting list for any unclaimed trees. 

Pick up will be on Thursday, September 23, from 2pm to 7pm and Saturday, September 25, from 10am to 2pm.

Both days will have simultaneous pick up at two locations:

West Friendship Park—12985 Frederick Road, West Friendship

Rockburn Brank Park—6105 Rockburn Brank Park Road, Elkridge

How to care for your tree

All the trees are species native to Maryland. They are acclimated to our climate and will provide food and shelter for wildlife. When you get your tree, it is recommended that you plant them as soon as possible or at least within a few days of receiving your tree. 

Trees improve our air quality, water quality, capture carbon, provide habitat, and improve our quality of life—Howard County Executive Calvin Ball

Eastern Redbud—The Eastern Redbud prefers partial sunlight to full shade but is can also be seen growing in full sun. It prefers well-drained to moist soils. It grows well as an understory species and along stream banks. 

Flowering Dogwood—The Flower Dogwood prefers partial shade but is often seen growing in full sunlight as well. It prefers dry to moist soils. 

Black Gum—The Black Gum prefers partial shade to full sun and can tolerate dry, moist, or seasonally wet soils. 

Red Maple—The Red Maple prefers full sun to partial shade. It also prefers and moist to wet soils. It is often found in swampy areas and may need extra watering if planted in a dry location.

Have you participated in the Howard County Tree Giveaway Program? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Heather Jauquet writes articles centered around the DMV and her adventures in other local communities. Follow her to get information about Montgomery County education, government, and community news. When she's not writing, she's running. Got a story to share? Email her: hjauquet@gmail.com

Gaithersburg, MD
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