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'Buffer in a bag' offered to landowners

February 24, 2013

Since 2003, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Service, in cooperation with the Potomac Watershed Partnership, has been providing the “Backyard Buffers” program to small-acreage landowners in Western Maryland. 

The program was established to help any landowner with a drainage ditch, stream, creek or river flowing through or adjacent to their property qualify for one free “buffer in a bag,” each of which is big enough for a 50-foot section of unprotected waterway.

Trees and shrubs help stabilize soil and act as buffers by filtering out pollutants. However, according to the DNR, Washington County’s 2,293 miles of streams and rivers do not have adequate vegetation growing along the banks. 

For the past six years, the program has distributed approximately 75 “buffers in a bag” to local residents each spring. This year, each bag will contain 30 native tree and shrub bare-root seedlings, from 1 to 2 feet tall. Also included are fact sheets on tree-planting techniques, typical planting arrangement, proper tree maintenance and information on other native plant species suitable for streamside plantings.

This year’s bag includes five pin oak trees, five persimmon trees and five beech trees. It also includes five shrub seedlings each of pawpaw, red-osier dogwood and speckled alder.

Applications must be submitted before March 30. For more information, call Aaron Cook, forester, at 301-791-4733 or send an email to acook@dnr.state.md.us.

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