Annapolis is buying trees and selling them to residents at a loss in order to help achieve its goal of a 50 percent tree canopy by 2036.
“In some cases, we are only charging the residents half the price of what we are paying,” said Maria Broadbent, director of the Department of Neighborhoods and Environmental Programs. “It is the City’s way to help increase our tree canopy and the benefits trees provide, while reducing the financial burden to the property owners.”
In 2006, the city entered into an agreement with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to increase Annapolis' urban tree canopy from 42 percent to 50 percent by 2036, according to a press release.
In order to achieve that goal, the city is offering reduced rates on certain types of trees for residents to plant on private property. Trees can be purchased online until Nov.1, and residents will need to be present to receive their tress on Nov. 9 or contact Jan van Zutphen at 410-263-7946.
Broadbent said in the past the city secured grants to purchase trees and give them out for free. Those trees were often small, and Broadbent said they had a spotty survival rate.
The money for these trees comes from a fee paid to the city by developers and homeowners whenever a tree is removed for construction, Broadbent said. She thinks these larger, older trees that the city will sell should survive much better.
“This partnership is an opportunity to make an environmental commitment to our community and to our children,” Mayor Josh Cohen said in a press release. “We are stewards of the environment and it is well documented that trees clean the air by reducing the carbon dioxide and replenishing the oxygen.”
The Anne Arundel Sierra Club endorsed the tree sale, but it's chair David Prosten said proposed developments around Annapolis make achieving the 50 percent canopy goal difficult.
"While we applaud the city for this effort, we would also urge the mayor to do all he can to save the existing tree canopy at the site of proposed new developments such as Crystal Springs," Prosten said. "Saving mature canopy is always the easiest, most environmentally sound and economical way to go."
The Annapolis Board of Appeals rejected the plans to build about 160 homes adjacent to Quiet Waters park on Sept. 19, but a 500-home development known as Crystal Springs is still working its way through the city's approval process.
The following trees are being offered by DNEP at the reduced rate:
- 1.75” Diameter - Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea ‘Autumn Brilliance’)Height: 6'-20', Spread: 10'. Erect stems, often clumped. Blends well on the edge of woodland or shrub border with evergreen background. Nice white flowers in spring. Important berry producer during the early summer months. Fruit eaten by bluebirds, cardinals, and tanagers. Full sun to partial shade.Cost - $80.00
- 6’ Height - Riverbirch (Betula nigra ‘Heritage’) Height: 40'-70', Spread: 40'-60'. Handsome specimen tree that is well suited to areas that are wet a portion of the year and quite dry in the summer and fall. Attractive bark. Cost - $49.00.
- 1.75” Diameter - Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’) Height: 20'-30', Spread: 25'-30'. Small tree with rounded crown, pink to purplish flowers in April. Likes moist, well drained soils. Full sun to light shade. Good as specimen tree or in shrub border. Cost - $85.00
- 2” Diameter - Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolors) Height: 50'-60', Spread 50'-60'. Good shade tree. Full sun or semi-shade. Easily grown in wet soils. Excellent drought resistance once established. Cost - $90.00
- 1.75” Diameter - Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) Height: 25'-40', Spread: 17'-27’. The tree performs well in city plantings and is an attractive mid-sized tree. Likes full sun or partial shade. Cost - $86.00
- 1.75” Diameter - Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) Height: 70’-100’, Spread: 60’-80’. Requires sun to partial shade and prefers moist, well drained soil. Can grow very rapidly. Leaves have a tendency to drop all summer. Cost - $61.00