TOWSON, MD—Exactly six months prior to Earth Day 2021, County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Thursday called on Baltimore County homeowners and property owners to convert underutilized lawn space to attractive wooded areas in an effort to reduce greenhouse gasses and increase the County’s tree canopy.
Announcing a target of 5,000 new trees for Earth Day next year, he encouraged landowners to record trees they plant themselves, and to utilize free County tree-planting programs—where County crews will plant a significant expanse of trees at no cost to landowners.
“We have a responsibility to build a cleaner, greener and more sustainable Baltimore County for this generation—and the next,” Olszewski said. “Coming together to plant 5,000 trees will help us combat climate change by removing about a quarter-million pounds of greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere every year. In the process, we will also strengthen our environmental and storm water resiliency and help beautify neighborhoods across our County.
County landowners can apply now for trees to be planted at no cost to them next spring through the County’s Backyard Trees or Turf to Trees programs, depending on the amount of land available. Plantings range from a small stand of twenty trees on a tenth of an acre, up to a large multi-acre reforestation, converting turf to environmentally beneficial forested ecosystems.
The Backyard Trees program requires a minimum planting area of only one-tenth of an acre. This program was created recently to make reforestation more accessible to homeowners with less than an acre of available land. The Turf to Trees program is intended for larger tracts of open land, with 200 trees planted per acre to create rural reforestations, and it includes three years of free maintenance.
Interested landowners can learn more on the Reforestation and Tree Planting Programs page. These programs focus on reforestation and do not include the planting of evergreens, or small groupings of trees intended to provide landscaping or privacy screening. The Forestry Management Division of the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability manages these programs and can be contacted at ForestManagement@baltimorecountymd.gov
Residents who plant trees themselves are invited to record the locations on the Baltimore County Environmental Reporter Web Application, an online tool that enables the public to help the County track environmental data, including locations where people plant trees and install rain barrels. Trees recorded on the Environmental Reporter will be counted in the County’s target of 5,000 new trees for Earth Day 2021
Baltimore County is working to achieve and maintain a 50 percent tree canopy Countywide and within the three drinking water reservoirs by the year 2025. Additionally, the County is striving to achieve and maintain 40 percent tree coverage within more populated areas inside the Urban Rural Demarcation Line, and for each Census Designated Place (CDP).