Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lots of Trees Grow in Plainfield

New Jersey Youth Corps member Donnell Bailey carefully removed a tiny Eastern White Pine tree from the plastic sleeve that protected its root system. The rich brown earth and root mass that emerged was three times the size of the sapling tree.

Following the directions of Shannon Buckley, outreach coordinator for the New Jersey Tree Foundation, Bailey and other Youth Corps members planted 30 of the small pines at the city’s tree farm on Berkeley Terrace Thursday (Oct. 20, 2005).

The young pines complemented a planting on May 13, when members of Plainfield Community Girl Scout troops and the Plainfield NJ Youth Corps planted silky dogwood, tulip poplar, green ash, sweet gum and more Eastern white pine saplings.

Buckley said the small trees will be spread out in two or three years for more growing room and will be ready for transplanting to neighborhoods in about six years.

The pines are expected to grow eight inches to one foot per year, Buckley said.

Bailey said he has helped his mother with planting around their home.
“I do some of the tilling,“ he said.

His interest Thursday was to make sure the trees have a healthy environment “so they can grow good,” he said.

The tree farm project is related to the work of the Ten Cities Tree Committee, which held an Arbor Day event April 29 and is in the process of establishing a tree ordinance and commission to protect and nurture the community forest in Plainfield.

Buckley said 16 municipalities are involved in either the Ten Cities or Second Cities initiatives to promote tree management. Of those, she said, “Five are phenomenal,” including Plainfield, for their efforts.

“They’re eager,” she said. “They took this grant money and the program and just embraced it.”

Plainfield used its $14,000 grant to work with Certified Tree Expert Marcia Anderson to develop a tree management plan and a draft ordinance to form a shade tree commission.

At a conference in Cherry Hill this weekend, Plainfield is expected to receive an award for its exemplary effort.

Plainfield Public Works Superintendent John Louise said Thursday, “The benefit that I see is really the education piece.”

Glancing around at the mature 80-foot oaks that surround the tree farm site, Louise said the young people learn from the tree-planting experience how long it takes for the saplings to grow.

“My expectation is to see the trees going into the community,“ he said. “That will be my gift when I retire.“

--Bernice Paglia