The Bernards Township Shade Tree and Environmental commissions estimated that about 10,000 trees were last. Last spring, in reaction to that damage, the two commissions jointly launched the "Five in 5" initiative, for which township residents are being asked to plant at least 5,000 replacement trees in five years.
The commissions last month announced that more than 730 replacement trees have been reported as being planted so far this year by residents in response to Five in 5.
Five in 5 was kicked off as young trees were planted at township schools as part of the annual Arbor Day celebration, with a community-wide push at the annual Charter Day celebration in May.
It's not too late to plant this year as trees can be planted until the ground freezes, the commissions advised in a news release said.
Many local garden centers are offering significant discounts right now which add up to an additional reason to plant now, the release said.
Residents also are asked to consider acquiring a live evergreen rather than a cut Christmas tree this season, and afterward planting it for future enjoyment. A suggestion is to dig the hole before the ground freezes and then to plant the tree right after the holiday season.
Township officials also are asking residents to report when trees are planted so a tally can be kept for the Five in 5 program.
Residents can report tree plantings by calling up the Bernards Township website home page and then clicking on the Five in 5 link at http://www.bernards.org/quicklinks/fivein5/default.aspx) to help chart the commissions chart the initiative's progress.
Here are some of the top reasons to plant trees, according to the commissions:
- Trees help purify the air by absorbing pollutants.
- Trees cool our towns by reducing heat generated by the sun, buildings and paved surfaces, creating shade on a hot day.
- Trees reduce the amount of water-borne pollutants that reach streams and rivers.
- Trees provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, maintaining a balance with nature.
- Trees increase property values and improve the tax base in the community.
- Trees improve the neighborhood appeal, attracting businesses, shoppers and homeowners.