Residents of Strasburg Borough are invited to obtain two free trees for their properties courtesy of the borough’s Shade Tree Committee.
In past years, the “street trees” had to be planted within 6 feet of the sidewalk. This year, program requirements were modified to allow for more leniency in tree placement to encourage more residents to participate in the program.
Those who would like a tree are asked to complete an order form at the borough website. A list of requirements and available trees is also given.
The trees are grouped by sizes and include small trees – trident maple, crabapple and flowering plum; medium – Yoshino cherry, yellowwood and sawtooth oak; and large – red maple, red oak and American sycamore. Columnar trees, such as Armstrong red maple, are also offered for narrow streets.
This spring, members of the Shade Tree Committee will designate a day to personally plant all the trees ordered by residents. The committee also holds a tree planting in the fall. Committee members contact PA One Call to check for underground obstacles before planting and also spread mulch around the newly planted tree.
“(Tree planting is) always on a Saturday – a day designated by the committee,” said Kim Rubincam, office assistant and secretary of the Shade Tree Committee. “We will get volunteers depending on how many trees we plant. Last spring, we did not do a planting because of COVID. In the fall, the five committee members and 10 volunteers from Lampeter-Strasburg High School planted 11 trees.”
Although the Shade Tree Committee has been officially in place in the borough since 1999, planting trees is a tradition that goes back to the mid-1960s “There is a lot of history with the tree program. The borough would provide two trees to every developer who built homes,” explained borough manager Steven Echternach. “When Evergreen Nursery disappeared, the program went dormant for a while. It got reinvigorated with a Street Tree grant and then just recently they modified the rules (so it is not) just for planting street trees along the curb. Now they can go back in the front yard, so in a way we have come full circle.”
Echternach has a personal history with the tree program. “My home was built in 1965 by my parents, and I have one of the original trees in my yard – a Scarlet oak tree,” he shared.
According to the Shade Tree Committee, for every 5% increase of tree canopy, stormwater runoff decreases by 2%. “The nickname for our county is (the) garden spot (of America); we are a very good county for planting,” said Echternach, noting that he is not exactly sure how the original committee came to be all those years ago. “I can only assume that there always has been a sense in this community that trees are important and that we promote that.”
Order forms, lists of available trees and requirements are available by visiting http://www.strasburgboro.org, choosing Boards and Commissions and clicking on Shade Tree Committee. Completed forms may be submitted to the borough office, 145 Precision Ave., Strasburg, or residents may fax them to 717-687-6599 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.