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Help replenish Montclair's aging, native tree canopy!

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Why plant a tree? With climate change, Ash tree disease, and our aging mature trees, we will continue to lose our majestic canopy. Not only do trees beautify our yards and provide a sense of place, the eco-services provided are abundant. Trees filter pollutants, reduce flooding, sequester Co2 associated with global warming, provide shade and more.

Why plant native species? Trees that are native to a region provide abundant food for wildlife native to that area, especially birds, pollinators and other dwindling beneficial insects. Plus native trees tend to be more drought resistant and survive better in the local environment.

Here are some great native trees:

  • Hackberry. (40–60 feet tall at maturity). Great absorber of ozone and other pollutants. The fruit of the hackberry is popular with winter birds, especially the cedar waxwing, mockingbird and robin. The tree also attracts many butterfly species including American snout, hackberry, mourning cloak, and tawny emperor.

  • Flowering White Dogwood. (25 feet at maturity). Blooms April - May. At least 36 species of birds are known to eat the fruit.

  • Pin Oaks and Northern Red Oak (this species is resistant to bacterial scorch). (60 - 70 feet at maturity). This is a critical tree for our eco-system! Oaks support more life-forms than any other North American tree genus, providing food, protection or both for birds to bears, as well as countless insects and spiders, among the enormous diversity of species. About 513 species of butterflies and moths use this tree as a caterpillar host plant. Learn more about the critical importance of Oak trees here.

  • White Pine (50 - 80 feet at maturity). Critical nesting tree for birds such as woodpeckers, common grackles, mourning doves, chickadees and nuthatches.

  • Red Bud: Given its early season blossoms, it feeds beneficial insects and early-season butterflies. Northern bobwhite and a few songbirds, such as chickadees, will eat the seeds.

  • Red Maple: Supports close to 300 butterflies and moths

  • Magnolia: Supports 20 butterflies and moths. The fruit is eaten by squirrels, rabbits and birds

  • River Birch: Provides food source for 357 varieties of butterflies and moths. The catkins are used by are used by redpolls and pine siskins. The seeds are appreciated by a wide range of songbirds. are used by redpolls and pine siskins

  • Linden: Flowers provide a good source of food for bees.

  • Honey Locust: Flowers provide a good source of food for bees.

What else can I do to preserve my trees and help protect Montclair's community forest?

  • Plant wisely: don't mulch in a volcano shape. Mulch a doughnut shape instead to ensure that the roots around the base of the tree are exposed to the air (for oxgen)

  • Prune and trim: Ensure the longevity of your trees by pruning and trimming dead branches, if needed, every 3-5 years. Be sure to prune at the right time of year.

  • Second opinions: If a tree service tells you it is time to take down a tree, get a second opinion from a reputable service. Sometimes tree companies will profit from giving you bad advice. Make sure the person advising you is a certified arborist or forester.

  • Choose to replace: If you have to remove a tree, be sure to replace it within a year. As per Ordinance, residents removing trees must pay into the tree fund or, better yet, replace each tree.

  • Watch out for disease: It may be too late to treat your Ash trees to prevent Ash borer disease, but you can be on the lookout for impending disease. ALERT: help stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly that's prompted a "quarantine" in eight New Jersey counties (not Essex County yet) to prevent the spread of the bug. Eliminate the masses of eggs before they hatch on your tree trunks.

  • Only choose native species: The eco-services are abundant - food for local wildlife, birds, and pollinators; drought resistance and better survival.

"To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as a people, we must have trees."

Theodore Roosevelt

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