HomeHaddonfield NewsShade Tree Commission plows forward with spring planting

Shade Tree Commission plows forward with spring planting

Late borough resident to be granted multiple arboreal tributes.

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the borough and beyond, Haddonfield’s Public Works crew remains on duty, and as a result, the Shade Tree Commission’s spring planting has also continued with few interruptions. 

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The town is facing the end of the planting, and according to STC Chairperson Robin Potter, all 80 trees that were planned to be placed this spring — from nurseries in Burlington and Gloucester counties — are on track for planting. 

Residents might see familiar faces on the job.  

“We had used a planting crew from the New Jersey Tree Foundation in past years. They plant trees in cities which don’t have much tree cover, like Camden, Trenton and Newark. Their crew is highly trained and very good, and they are returning citizens, as the organization provides training and jobs for those who were incarcerated,” Potter revealed.

“But this year, because of COVID-19 and quarantining, the foundation couldn’t put their crews in a truck and send them to Haddonfield without any risk. So, we’re using our own Public Works tree crew. They do a fabulous job, but they often have to stop when a tree comes down due to disease, weather and other kinds of issues.”

The commission received its first batch of 45 trees several weeks ago, and Potter said the crew is nearly finished planting those while attempting to take care of other needs. The commission arranged to stagger the delivery of the second batch, and just received them. 

“About half of the trees we will plant are in response to a number of residential requests. We tend to group the trees together, so that when we plant a single street, it’s more efficient for watering later on,” Potter added.

“The 80 trees we ordered also included replacements for Mechanic Street, which has little to no tree cover. It’s a small street in the downtown area and it needs to have that cover.”

The organization has also found ways to honor one of its dear, departed citizens. 

“This year, we’ll have two commemorative trees, both for Mary Previte: one for her home street of Roberts Avenue, a white oak, and the other is planned for Kings Highway right at the middle of downtown, a columnar maple tree,” Potter said. 

Planting also includes a Kentucky coffeetree — so named because early settlers in the area used to roast its seeds, grind them up and used them as a coffee substitute — for the front of Tatem Elementary School.

“What’s helping us is this spring has been somewhat cool, so it helps with how long it takes to do all these plantings,” Potter said. “We should be done in the next couple weeks.”

Before the pandemic hit, Potter revealed the STC had been planning for the placement of a Salem Oak sapling on either April 24 or 25 to coincide with Arbor Day celebrations. Although the sapling earmarked for Haddonfield is in the care of the state, and it is uncertain when it will be delivered, there’s a special purpose behind its placement. 

“One of our STC commissioners, Jane Berkowitz, is also a Crows Woods gardener, and they set aside what was one of Mary Previte’s plots as a memorial garden. They’re going to take the sapling and put it right in the middle of the plot,” she explained. 

“We’ll give it a proper home in about three years or so, because a tree like that doesn’t belong in such a small space. But in between, the gardeners will take good care of it.”


Former radio broadcaster, hockey writer, Current: main beat reporter for Haddonfield, Cherry Hill and points beyond.

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