Shade Tree Commission to plant 69 trees in October

Trees will be placed borough wide and along Prospect Road

Throughout October, Haddonfield’s Shade Tree Commission will plant a total of 69 trees; 16 near along Prospect Rd. by the Haddonfield Little League complex on Oct. 8 and 53 along Summit Avenue West and Peyton and Windsor avenues starting Oct. 10. (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

The Shade Tree Commission will begin the first of two tree plantings in the borough next month with 16 small, native trees along Prospect Road, toward Springfield Terrace and Belmont Avenue, on Oct. 8. 

Volunteers from the Branch Managers Program, Crows Woods Gardeners and Haddonfield Little League, along with Prospect Road residents, will place the trees in park strips.

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“Why this grant is so cool for us is that it supports the smaller native species, and we prefer to plant native species in the park strips,” said Scott McElhone, chair of the Shade Tree Commission.

Species include the Robin Hill serviceberry, Eastern redbud, Kentucky yellowwood and flowering dogwoods. McElhone explained that the trees were selected based on nursery availability and with consideration of the kind of environment in which they will grow, whether a  small space like a park strip or an open area without a sidewalk, with utility lines above or not.

“We prefer not to plant understory trees in direct sunlight, but that’s really all we can fit here (along Prospect Road) that will thrive,” McElhone explained.

Residents living in affected areas will receive a letter from the Department of Public Works explaining that the planting is grant sponsored and encouraging them to take care of the new trees. 

If the plants come with a gator – or watering – bag, McElhone recommends not filling it more than twice a week, or once a week if the tree has already been watered by the borough. A water crew will come by for the first year, but residents are encouraged to water the trees for the first three years to increase the survivability rate. 

“If a resident waters for two years (after the water truck stops coming), it is night and day from a survivability standpoint,” McElhone noted. “In those instances where there is no drought, we’re running at a 3-percent failure rate.”

To help with the first planting, volunteers can show up on Prospect Road from 9 to 11 a.m. Rain date is Oct. 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Starting the week of Oct. 10, volunteers from the New Jersey Tree Foundation and Garden Streets Program will do plantings at 53 more sites in the borough, part of the Shade Tree Commission’s spring and fall planting schedule.

“Where the trees are planted will be a combination of homeowners’ requests, streets that had trees removed due to the road construction program and trees that died from disease,” McElhone said.  

The plantings will be along Summit Avenue West and Peyton and Windsor avenues. Trees include the Kentucky yellowwood, London plane tree, hedge maple, shademaster honeylocust, hardy rubber, Chinese yellowood, maidenhair, yellow buckeye, Allegheny serviceberry, Kentucky Coffeetree and Southern Hawthorne.

Operation T.R.E.E.–a rapid removal of dead or at-risk trees– took down more than 200 trees in Haddonfield earlier this year, and many that were aging out. McElhone pointed to a renewed interest in trees from the residents.

“We’re going through this 100-year event, where trees are really aging out, and it’s incumbent on us to replant them,” he advised.

While inconsistent in the past few years because of COVID, plantings of 60 to 70 trees in the spring and fall are again on the horizon.

To learn more about the Shade Tree Commission, visit https://www.haddonfieldnj.org/departments/boards_and_committees/shade_tree_commission/index.php

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