BERLIN – Over the past week, the town of Berlin, in partnership with Grow Berlin Green (GBG) and Assateague Coastal Trust’s Coast Kids program, began the process of replacing the existing trees in and around the parking lot used by the Berlin Farmers Market.
The first phase of this tree enhancement process involved replacing most of the trees along Main Street and some of the trees in the interior of the lot. The existing trees, Bradford Pears, have been replaced by a variety of native species, including Redbuds, Purple Leaf Plums and Northern Red Oaks.
Most of the new trees and some native shrubs that were also planted this week were purchased at a significant discount from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Treemendous Maryland program with funding from the Town and GBG.
Several additional large oaks were donated by Berlin Council member and local developer Troy Purnell. These relatively mature trees were moved from Purnell’s Berlin farm with the generous help of Davey Tree Co., which discounted its services for this project. Purnell will pay for the relocation effort as an additional contribution to the project.
The existing trees were removed and the larger new trees were planted by the town of Berlin Departments of Public Works and Electric Distribution. The remaining trees and shrubs were planted by families participating in the Coast Kids program, Assateague Coastal Trust’s environmental education program.
All of the new plantings, including some additional trees placed across Main Street from the Farmers Market and in Berlin’s Stephen Decatur Park, will have commemorative plaques at their base thanks to local citizen sponsors who donated money to support the Coast Kids program while honoring friends or family members.
The Bradford Pears that have been replaced were beautiful trees – fast growing with early spring blossoms and a rich autumn color. However, they are not a native species.
Moreover, despite all the beauty they lend to thousands of landscapes throughout the region, the trees are plagued with one fatal flaw: due to their combination of vigorous growth, weak wood and poor branch structure, they often begin falling apart after only 20 years.
Evidence of this can already be seen in a number of the trees around the lot. This posed a danger to people and property in the lot and was a looming liability risk for the town.
“While it’s always sad to remove a living tree, it was time to start replacing these Bradford Pears,” according to GBG coordinator Steve Farr. “We are thrilled to be able to replace these trees with what will be equally beautiful trees that are native to this region.
“Our hope is to continue this process over the next few years to enhance the town’s tree canopy that provides beauty, shade, and yes, even greenhouse gas emission reductions for the community.”
“This project is another example of the continuing benefit Berlin citizens receive from the Grow Berlin Green partnership,” said Mayor Gee Williams. “We are grateful for the interest and support the partnership provides in making the town of Berlin a leader in environmental stewardship here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.”