November 13, 2023 Baltimore County
Towson, MD – Neighborhood streets in areas around Baltimore County are getting greener and shadier thanks to County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s new Street Tree Replacement Program. Gathering this afternoon with community members and County officials in the Windsor Hill neighborhood of Chadwick Manor, Olszewski announced that in the program’s second season, the County’s urban foresters are planting 512 street trees in four neighborhoods, which will bring the total to 1,671 new street trees by the end of this year.
“We value trees as important green infrastructure that enhance our communities, support air quality, and provide long-term benefits for all,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “This initiative brings beautiful, natural amenities to neighborhoods around Baltimore County and further supports our commitment to making Baltimore County greener, healthier, and more sustainable.”
Olszewski initiated this program last spring, investing $1.25 million over two fiscal years for the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (DEPS) to plant at least 1,000 trees per year to bring back the tree-lined streets of communities around the County. DEPS planted 1,159 trees last fall and spring, is planting 520 trees this fall and will plant at least another 500 next spring. More information is available on the program’s GIS map-based hub site, which showcases the program and graphically depicts maps of the current and past neighborhood planting locations, tree species and more.
|Dolfield Blvd.||31||Planted||Fall 2022|
|Owings Mills Greenway||241||Planted||Spring 2023|
|Eastern Blvd||31||Underway||Fall 2023|
Right tree, right place
Street trees are planted on County-owned land in the verges between sidewalks and County roadways. These plantings are in primarily residential areas and include some commercial districts. DEPS notifies residents of upcoming plantings with informational flags in the locations where the County proposes to plant, and provides them the opportunity to contact DEPS with any questions or concerns.
The tree species included in the program are selected to be hardy trees that have high drought tolerance and are adapted to the particular soils and conditions in the individual neighborhoods. As needed, trees are planted with wooden stakes, mower guards, bark protectors, water bags and sidewalk-protecting root barriers. DEPS provides maintenance for the street trees, until they are well established.
Making up for lost urban tree canopy
Since 2014, more than 4,300 of the County’s street trees – between 500 and 600 per year – required removal for various reasons and were not replaced. This new program dramatically expands the County’s street tree replacement efforts, and the goal is to plant more trees than were previously removed.
Trees are critical infrastructure that support people’s health and well-being by improving air quality, lowering summer temperatures and absorbing greenhouse gasses and stormwater. They reduce home cooling costs and enhance property values.
In addition to this Street Tree Replacement Program, in the fall of 2021, Olszewski launched another urban tree canopy effort. Operation ReTree Baltimore County is a hyper-local tree equity program designed to strategically expand the tree canopy in disadvantaged urban communities most in need of greening. This fall is the fifth round of Operation ReTree, and once 720 trees are planted this fall, the County will have planted 2,591 trees in 18 neighborhoods in different areas of Dundalk, Essex, Lansdowne, Owings Mills and Randallstown.
The grand total for both urban tree planting programs combined is 4,262 trees planted in the past two years.