By Wilma Rubock
Fall is the perfect time for planting new trees and taking part in the Marylanders Plant Trees Initiative. You can beautify your landscape, save money on the trees you plant and become eligible for other prizes. Sally Foster, owner of Eastridge Garden along with her husband Dale, says “The Marylanders Plant Trees Initiative is a great program with incentives for everyone! And Fall is ideal planting time. It brings cooler weather, which allows all the energy to go into the root system. When spring arrives the trees are ready to just take off. ”
Sally and Dale Foster know all about trees and plants and are big supporters of the Marylanders Plant Trees Program. They met at Homestead Gardens where they both worked. Sally left Homestead to start Eastridge Garden, growing herbs for the wholesale market. “Business grew, and we decided it was time to go retail.”
Dale left his job at Homestead Gardens after 23 years and joined Sally in expanding their business to include nursery stock. Sally adds, “We’ve been in business for 17 years now, and Dale and I are doing what we absolutely love to do. We have a passion for plants and love helping our customers find the perfect plant.”
Governor Martin O’Malley launched the Marylanders Plant Trees program in 2009 as part of his Smart, Green and Growing Initiative. It encouraged citizens and organizations to plant 50,000 new trees by December 2010, and Marylanders exceeded that goal and planted 54,089 trees. On Arbor Day of this year, Marylanders again were challenged to plant an additional 50,000 trees by the end of 2012.
Trees help to protect air and water quality, reduce energy costs, and provide critical wildlife habitat. Trees also increase property values and beautify the landscape. One large tree can eliminate 5,000 gallons of stormwater runoff each year. Well-placed trees can reduce energy costs by 15 to 35 percent.
“We encourage our customers to participate in the Marylanders Plant Trees program. Many are familiar with the program through the program’s website. Dale and I remind customers about the initiative if we think they have forgotten or are just unaware,” offered Sally. “Our three most popular trees from the approved list for this area are river birch, dogwoods and red maple.”
The Marylanders Plant Trees Initiative added a School Challenge for all Maryland elementary, middle and high schools. The website offers helpful tools and guidance in selecting, buying and planting trees for a specific school area. The website also lets students calculate the benefit of every tree planted, and students can see a picture of what the tree will look like when it matures. Trees must be registered online in the name of student’s school to be counted in the challenge.
Another program uses inmate labor to plant trees. The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is partnering with local governments across the state to beautify communities and parks. Maryland is on track to exceed its goal of planting one-million trees on public lands by 2011. Over 550,000 trees have been planted since 2009, and state officials plan to plant another 500,000 under this program.
Eastridge Gardens is located at 533 Dulin Clark Road in Centreville. “We are open year-round and have something for everyone. We stock plant care products and carry an assortment of house plants,” offers Sally. “We have a wonderful gift shop where customers can find soy candles, handbags, pottery and much more. Our Christmas shop opens November 1.”
Eastridge Gardens is open seven days a week March through December and Tuesday through Saturday in January and February. Call the Fosters at 410-758-3650 or visit their website at www.eastridgegarden.com for more information.
The Marylanders Plant Trees program offers $25 coupons toward the purchase of native trees costing $50 or more. The coupons are redeemable at nearly 70 nurseries across the State, and there is no limit on the number of coupons used. DNR encourages Marylanders to register every tree they plant to be eligible for prizes. For more information including a list of eligible trees, a list of prizes and to register a tree, go to www.trees.maryland.gov.
Recommended Tree List for Marylanders Plant Trees
This list may be updated periodically as interest and availability of native tree stock changes.
Cultivars of native species may be acceptable. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In honor of National Breast Cancer Month, think pink when making your selection! The pink ribbons designate trees that bloom pink!
Dogwood, American Flowering
Serviceberry, Downy or Shadbush
Oak, Swamp White
Pine, Eastern White