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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: tree canopy

photo of a treeGreat Deals on Native Trees!

Homeowners can get great deals through the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability’s11th bi-annual Big Trees Sale. The sale is designed to encourage people to help increase the County’s tree canopy by planting in residential areas.

“Big native trees are very beneficial – they beautify your yard and neighborhood, their shade can reduce your energy costs, their roots help keep stormwater from running off into our waterways and their leaves help clean carbon from the atmosphere,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. 

Each spring and fall, the Big Trees Sale features a selection of native trees supplied by Baltimore County’s reforestation nursery. Big Trees are Maryland native species such as oaks and maples that grow taller and cast shade over a wider area than smaller trees such as dogwoods and flowering cherries. They need room to grow and take longer to mature, but they provide greater and longer-lasting benefits to homeowners when properly sited. Big Trees species generally outperform smaller ornamental tree species in terms of environmental benefits, with their greater ability to soak up excess rainwater, save energy through shading, remove atmospheric carbon, and add to property values.

Dates and Locations

To date, more than 650 citizens have planted nearly 3,300 big trees purchased though this program. This year’s sale will take place at the Baltimore County EPS Reforestation Nursery, located at 7131 Brinkmans Road, Middle River, Maryland 21220, on the following dates:

  • Friday, September 25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, October 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Please note that only cash or checks can be accepted as forms of payment.  


Eleven different species are offered for the fall sale. Depending on the species, trees are anywhere from four to eight feet tall and are offered for $20 to $30 each. The Big Trees website ( has pictures and descriptions of each species to help residents find the right tree for their property. EPS is also offering tree shelter kits to better protect the trees from deer browsing and buck rubbing.

The fall offering is limited to 240 trees this year. EPS encourages people to order trees as soon as possible before species sell out. Non-County residents can buy trees that were not pre-ordered at the October 10 sale, not to exceed two trees per customer. Trees must be ordered online using the online order form at

Species Offered for the Fall Sale

  • Black Oak
  • Chestnut Oak
  • Pin Oak
  • Pitch Pine
  • Red Oak
  • River Birch
  • Scarlet Oak
  • Sugar Maple
  • Swamp White Oak
  • White Oak
  • White Pine

Any questions about the Big Trees sale may be emailed to EPS at

photo of damages treeSaul Passe, Arborist, Baltimore County Bureau of Highways

Wow, that was a rough winter.  I hesitate to put that in the past tense for fear that Mother Nature will throw down snow and ice just to spite me.  As an employee of the Baltimore County Highways I am no stranger to the havoc that snow and ice can do to the roads, but as the Arborist for Highways I can tell you that this winter has also taken its toll on the trees. 

Baltimore County has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA community.  Many of our urban streets are lined with mature canopy trees, and even more of our rural roads are up against large forests.  Winter events involving snow, and especially ice, can put these trees under extreme pressures that will exceed their normal capabilities to support themselves.  Even if a branch doesn’t reach the point of breaking off, a quarter of an inch layer of ice on any branch is enough to make it bend significantly.  Some of these branches are hanging of the road and can become a problem for motorists, not to mention the branches that do break off and fall in the road. 

Once there are branches snapped off and laying in the road, or bending into the road what is to be done with them?  If tree debris falls from a County tree (a tree in the public right-of way), County forces are responsible for removing them from either the road or the sidewalk.  The Highways Bureau will only take care of the debris that falls into a public right-of-way; anything that comes down on private property is the responsibility of the homeowner.  Any private trees that may fall into a public right-of-way will be cleared out off of the road or sidewalk, but can’t always be taken away by County forces, and remain the responsibility of the homeowner.  The bottom line is that the care of trees along public roads is a shared responsibility.  Baltimore County provides the service of keeping our roads open and free of tree debris, and the homeowner should take care of debris on private property.

As we enter spring we should keep in mind that when leaves come out they can add a lot of weight to trees.  There may be some branches that have taken a beating over the winter and may be further stressed by a “full head of hair.”  Species such as White Pine and Bradford Pear are softer woods that are susceptible to failure under extreme conditions.  So, this spring, take a few minutes to look up into the canopy and take notice of our County trees.  They are a valuable resource for the County that we can take care of together to ensure a green future for generations to come.

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