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Neighborhood Green

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The expanded Neighborhood Green program helps landowners control stormwater runoff by implementing best management practices like rain barrels, rain gardens, conservation landscaping and tree plantings.   Polluted stormwater affects the water that we use for drinking, swimming and fishing, and contributes to stream erosion.  Implementing these actions will also attract birds and pollinators while beautifying your  property and they will have a beneficial and lasting impact on our stream and watershed health.   Homeowners will receive:

  • A free site specific "stormwater audit" for your property (a $200 value) completed by an OSER approved contractor
  • An urban nutrient management plan and landscape plan with suggestions for management
  • For a small homeowner contribution, the program will provide a substantial cost share for the contractor to install one or more of the stormwater best management practices on your property.

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Eligible landowners must reside in the Upper Monocacy brook trout watersheds (see map) or in the Peter Pan Run watershed (see map).  This program is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Interested landowners in Frederick County are encouraged to submit an interest form

FOR MORE INFORMATION -  Fill out a brief interest form or contact Suzanne Cliber at 301-600-7414 or Jeff Feaga at 301-600-1350.


Enrollment for the original Neighborhood Green program has now ended.

When we work with neighbors to plant trees and shrubs in their yards, we all help to prevent polluted runoff from reaching our drinking water. These same trees and shrubs grow to provide valuable wildlife habitat and provide our families with clean air, welcome shade, and scenic views to enjoy. By changing areas of unused, mowed lawn to environmentally-friendly, natural areas filled with beautiful trees and shrubs, you can reduce the time and money spent mowing and fertilizing while enjoying increased privacy, wildlife viewing, and seasonal colors and blooms. 

Eastern Redbud trees popping up through deer protection shelters

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Trees can be planted near areas of water to add beauty (think flowering redbuds, dogwoods, serviceberry) and/or to help keep pollution from entering streams and ponds

In 2012, Frederick County’s Office of Sustainability & Environmental Resources (OSER) received a grant award from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to plant seedlings on residential properties to provide a multitude of environmental benefits. The grant funding paid for the majority of costs required for each contracted hand-planted seedling project.

Through the (original) Neighborhood Green program, we worked with neighbors in Frederick and Carroll Counties to plant more than 51 acres of trees and shrubs between spring 2013 and spring 2014. Many of these seedlings were planted along degraded streams where they were most needed to help prevent further erosion and pollution by dirt and sediment. 


Over the two year time frame, partnering foresters from the Maryland Forest Service performed 113 site visits to help landowners create personalized site plans for potential planting projects.

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Larry Maxim, Maryland Forest Service             Melissa Nash & Nathan Markline, Maryland Forest Service

More than $100,000 in grant funding from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation supported the actual planting effort.

Spring 2014 Neighborhood Green planting season 
Homeowner Jan Knox (left) stands with the seedling planting crew from Conservation Services, Inc.









IMPORTANT: Maintenance Recommendations
Seedling projects require maintenance to be successful. Please follow the tips listed below to become a responsible manager of your new forest!

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Photos taken 2 months after planting (May 2013) - From top left: Mr. Mueller, Mr. Hardin, and Mrs. Clark with their new seedlings.

We recommend that you mow in rows if the configuration of your seedling planting allows. Do not worry about mowing around each and every seedling- often mowing too close to the shelters will increase the likelihood of knocking the shelters over or breaking the stakes. Mowing can reduce vegetative competition from surrounding turf grass and also helps to prevent seedling-eating rodents such as voles from running rampant in your planting area. Herbicide can also be used in the immediate area around the shelter to reduce vegetative competition. Mowing as little as three times a year (i.e.: June, August, and October) is fine if you don't mind taller grass. For more visible planting locations, mowing once a month during the growing season (May through October) may be preferred.

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We encourage mowing in rows - it is not necessary to mow around each shelter, and mowing in rows reduces the likelihood of hitting and possibly knocking over shelters.

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For a larger planting, like this 5-acre project, mowing 3x a year (in rows) is perfectly acceptable. We recommend mowing in June, August, and late September/early October.

Our tree planting projects include white oaks stakes (often pressure-treated) that will last several years under natural elements. If a stake breaks, it should be replaced so that the shelters remain upright and the trees grow properly. Stakes should be hammered at least 1 foot into the ground to firmly keep the shelters in place. Zip ties connect the shelters to the stakes. Shelters should be embedded at least 1-2" into the soil to prevent rodents from entering the shelters. Each shelter also comes with a bird net that should be removed once the trees reach the top of the shelter. Bird nets prevent birds from entering the shelters while the seedlings are still very small.

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 From left to right: Tree shelter needs straightening; properly installed tree shelter & stake; bird net has been left on too long 

The deer protection shelters that have been installed are perforated and should split as the tree outgrows the shelter. Shelters should be left on as long as possible to protect from deer rub and deer browse. If shelters are not perforated, they should be removed by hand once the tree bark begins to touch the shelter edges.

splitshelter1.jpg splitshelter.jpgThe shelter should split at the perforated line as the tree grows over time

Additional maintenance resources:

Riparian Forest Buffer Design & Maintenance
A Maryland Forest Service document with excellent information on planting and maintaining seedling projects

Watershed Forestry Resources: Planting and Maintaining Trees
Fantastic source of information specifically geared toward urban forestry-related issues

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Seedling growth depends on site conditions, weather conditions, tree species and other variables. Here are some examples of seedling growth over time: Top left - two months of growth; top right - 2 years of growth; bottom left - 4 years of growth; bottom right - 6 years of growth (sycamores are very fast-growing with the right conditions!)

Neighborhood Green partners include: National Fish & Wildlife Foundation; Frederick County Office of Sustainability & Environmental Resources; Carroll County Department of Land Use, Planning, and Development; Maryland Forest Service; University of Maryland Extension; Frederick County Forestry Board; Potomac Conservancy; Center for Watershed Protection; Forestry for the Bay; Catoctin Land Trust.

Read about local families that have been doing their part to create environmentally-friendly landscapes:

Claude & Pilar Eans
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Michael & Linda Young

 & Linda Scheer (page 2 of the linked document)
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Questions about the original Neighborhood Green program?
Contact Heather Montgomery at 301-600-1741.



Neighborhood Green participant survey
Past participants: We are more than happy to assist you in making your planting project a successful one!
If you have ANY questions related to the maintenance of your planting project, please contact Heather Montgomery at 301-600-1741.