Shade Tree Committee

Organization

The Shade Tree Committee advises the Township Committee in matters relating to tree policy, planting and care. The committee was formed in 1986 and there are seven members appointed yearly. The Committee reviews and provides comments on applications   to the Planning Board & Zoning Board. The committee works closely with the Parks Department Foreman and the Department of Public Works. It collaborates with the scouts, local businesses, students, the Environmental Commission and the Open Space Committee on a variety of projects. The committee meets every third Wednesday of the month in the volunteer room in the Town Hall at 7:00  PM. The public is always welcome at the meetings.

Charge

The committee is charged with the planting, care and preservation of public trees. Some of the past planting projects include street trees on many township streets, the screening of the tennis courts at the High School, the High School entry and frontage, enhancement of the Town Hall landscaping, plantings at the Poor Farm Cemetery on Sunset Road, plans for the Senior Center garden, Harlingen Green, and Montgomery Arboretum of Native Flora, recreation of a wayside hedgerow at the realigned River Road, and planting in conservation easements.

The committee reviews tree ordinances and other legislation to see what applies to Montgomery and which desirable changes could be introduced. It also prepares grant proposals for funding of planting projects. Members attend continuing education courses and conferences to serve the public better. Articles informing residents about tree care appear often in the township newsletter and in Montgomery News. Links to these articles are found below.

Arbor Day

The committee began its tradition  of providing various Arbor Day programs in 1987. These programs are designed to encourage interest in tree planting and to offset the disappearing tree cover in Montgomery. Each year the Shade Tree Committee introduces a different species of tree. Past years featured: Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce, White Pine, Red Oak, Honey Locust, Yellowwood, Shadblow, Pin Oak, Sugar Maple, Sweetbay Magnolia, Tupelo, American Hornbeam,

– 3rd Grade workshops and free trees

All 3rd graders in the Village Elementary School have workshops with Shade Tree Committee members and other volunteers, including local tree surgeons. The workshops focus on the importance of trees and the proper way to plant and care for trees.  Each child receives a tree seedling with easy to understand planting instructions, and an illustrated description of the tree.

Arbor Day planting project

Each Arbor Day is commemorated with the planting of a new tree on township land. Past planting sites have included the Municipal Building property, Montgomery Veterans Park, Harlingen Green, and Van Horne Park.

Seed Contest and live exhibit

The Mary Jacobs Library in Rocky Hill hosts a seed contest for children ‘Can You Tell the Tree? Can You Count the Seeds?’ The young readers are asked to try to identify the species of a tree by its seeds with the help of a tree identification book, and, to guess the number of tree seeds in a large jar. Each year the committee presents a different mystery tree, whose seed are later offered for planting. In the past the contest featured: red oak, buttonwood, Canadian hemlock, red spruce, white pine, sweetgum, American beech, black walnut, honey locust, sugar maple, Kentucky coffee tree, shagbark hickory, redbud and scarlet oak. The winner gets a book about trees from the Eyewitness series.

Call for volunteers

If you would like to be a part of the Arbor Day program, or apply to serve on the committee, please contact the committee by email at shadetreecommittee@twp.montgomery.nj.us.

Landmark Trees

The Committee has compiled a list of Montgomery Twp. Landmark Trees. The current champion is a white ash measuring 16 feet 11 inches in circumference. See our latest list in PDF format below. If you have a candidate for our list (over 6 feet in circumference for tall trees and over 3 feet in circumference for understory trees, both at 4.5 feet from the ground), please send the information about your tree along with your name, address and telephone number to:  shadetreecommittee@twp.montgomery.nj.us.

Pruning Demonstrations

Pruning demonstrations and workshops for the public are conducted periodically. If you would like to attend one please contact shadetreecommittee@twp.montgomery.nj.us.

Awards

Twenty-Seven Tree City USA Awards (through 2019)

Two Tree City USA Growth Awards (1992 and 1994)

Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award, Healthy Ecosystems Category for Ewa Zak (2014)

Green Community Achievement Award nomination by the River Road Assn. for Ewa Zak (1996)

New Jersey Native Plant Society Award of Excellence in Design for Ewa
Zak (Public/Government Category)—River Road Hedgerow Restoration (1997)

International Society of Arboriculture—Gold Leaf Award for the best Arbor Day Program in New Jersey (1997)

Links to Further Info

(PDF files)

Arbor Day Tree Seedling Types Provided to Public, by Year
Arboretum Info
Arboretum Donation Form
Arboretum Directions
Arboretum Map
Drought-Tolerant Native Trees
Emerald Ash Borer is Here
Hiring an Arborist
Invasive Plants List
Landmark Trees (2019)
Mulching Article
Mulching Techniques Brochure, Proper (No Volcanoes)
Native Trees Recommended for Montgomery Twp.
Planting Article
Pruning Guide – Do’s & Don’ts
Pruning Bulletin – How to Prune Young Shade Trees
Pruning Tips
Salt Damage Article (12.72 MB)
Street Tree Planting List, Alphabetically by Street(1988-2013)
Topping Trees- Don’t Do It!
Xeriscaping