Earth Day Celebrated With Free Tree Seedlings

Manchester Township Environmental Commission Vice Chair Peggy Middaugh holds up some of the tree seedlings given out during day two of a two-day giveaway program on the grounds of the municipal complex on Colonial Drive. Behind her are residents Matthew and Megan Belps who came by to pick up their seedlings at this year’s event. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  MANCHESTER – Hundreds of hackberry, mockernut hickory and willow oak seedlings were distributed to township residents in honor of Earth Day and to help keep the township green.

  The free giveaway, one of two events coordinated by the Township’s Environmental Commission, was held during the week of Earth Day at the municipal complex on Colonial Drive.

  Manchester Township Environmental Commission Vice Chair Peggy Middaugh joined new commissioner Dina Newbert with the distribution of the seedlings. They also presented the residents who picked them up with information on how to properly plant a seedling as well as background on the species of seedlings that were given out.

  When asked how it was decided as to what seedling species would be available this year, Middaugh said “this is run by the Department of Public Works of Manchester and they sent someone out two days ago to the State Forestry Center in Jackson and they picked them up and that is when they knew what they were getting.

The Manchester Environmental Commission observed Earth Day with a tree seedling giveaway. Commissioner Dina Newbert, left, joins Commission Chair Peggy Middaugh as residents Matthew and Megan Belps pick up seedlings. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  “I kept on calling and asking, do you know what species? Nope, they didn’t know until they got them,” Middaugh added. How that person made the decision, we don’t know but these are great.”

  “We had dogwood last year,” Middaugh added. She noted that the willow oak went fast and on the morning of the second day, it ran out but those who came by that morning were more than content with the mockernut hickory and hackberry.

  Matthew and Megan Belps were among those who wanted to spruce up their property with some additional shading. “We’ve come here before and have a lot of nice trees now growing in our back yard because of this,” Megan Belps said.

A display showing the mockernut hickory, willow oak and hackberry tree seedlings are seen on the grounds of the Manchester Township municipal complex during the Township’s Environmental Commission free seedling giveaway held in honor of Earth Day. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  As to how to plant a tree seedling, start off looking for a good location for your new tree and remember it will grow to adult size. Then moisten the roots. Remember, dry roots die. Dig a hole two to three times larger than the roots when spread apart.

  After that, place the tree in the hole at the proper depth and loosen the soil gently. Take care not to plant roots too deep or too shallow.

  Add more soil and pack down with your hands. Then use water to firm the soil if necessary. Mulch around the tree with wood chips and water the tree regularly, but not too often or the roots may rot.

  The second event held later in the week featured representatives of Jersey Central Power & Light who came out to speak to attendees at Town Hall about saving money and saving energy.