Free trees offered through Maryland’s “Backyard Buffers”

Waterfront and streamside landowners can reserve tree seedlings to create a buffer near water sources on their property under a Maryland program.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to landowners statewide who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream, or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program, now available in 23 counties, including Washington and Allegany counties.

Trees and shrubs planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, lowering peak water temperatures, reducing sediment, and stabilizing stream banks.

Each “buffer in a bag” contains about 25 native bare-root tree and shrub seedlings with species appropriate to their region.

Maryland Forest Service staff will provide information on tree maintenance and planting techniques, in addition to suggestions of other suitable native species at the time of pickup.

Quantities are limited so reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Order deadlines, pickup dates, an

d partner organizations vary by county — a list of contacts for each county is found on the department’s website.

Backyard Buffer packet reservations are typically taken during the month of March, with bags available for pickup at a designated local site in time for the spring planting season. A limited number of bags are available each year on a first-come first-served basis.

Contact the local county coordinator to sign up or for more information:

Allegany County

Adam Miller


​Washington County

Robert Schwartz