BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Parks and Forestry is making 90,000 free tree seedlings available to residents, with distributions in Bridgewater and Raritan May 5.

This distribution is being done through the New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign, an ongoing effort of the New Jersey Forest Service, the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation and other partners, according to a release.

The municipalities will each receive up to 2,000 seedlings for distribution to residents.

Sign Up for E-News

Residents, the release said, are eligible to receive bundles of five free seedlings at any distribution site, and proof of residency is not required.

"Communities will receive species that grow well in their region," New Jersey Forest Service Chief Todd Wyckoff said in the release. "Municipalities in the northern part of the state may receive sugar maple or black oak trees, while towns in the south may receive Atlantic white cedar or other species adapted to this region. Seedlings distributed to shore towns may include bayberry or beach plum, shrubs commonly found on dunes and in other coastal environments."

Tips for taking care of the trees include:

  • plant seedlings promptly
  • be mindful of the planting site's surroundings to avoid overhead utility lines and proximity to structures in case of storms
  • moisten roots before planting
  • dig a hole two to three times larger than the roots when spread apart
  • add loose soil gently, then add more soil and pack down firmly
  • place wood-chip mulch around the base
  • water the seedling regularly.

In Bridgewater, the seedlings will be given out May 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Eco-Blast Fair, at Kid Street Park, on Commons Way.

In Raritan, they will be given out at 1 p.m. May 5 at the 70th anniversary event at Frelinghuysen Park, on Sherman Avenue.

Seedlings will also be given out at the following locations: Bernards High School parking lot, on Olcott Avenue, April 28 from 8 a.m. to noon; old cemetery next to Bound Brook Library, on High Street from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28; Far Hills municipal building, on Prospect Street from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 23; Middlebush Park in Franklin Township from 10 a.m. to noon April 28; at 280 Auten Road in Hillsborough at 7 a.m. April 28; the Mary Jacobs Library in Montgomery all day April 16; and the Girl Scout Tree Arbor, but he war monument on the corner of Culver and High streets in Somerville from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 29.