Residents of Wilton will soon have the opportunity to purchase a tree for their yards in order to attract honey bees and native pollinators.
The Tree Committee, a subcommittee of the Wilton Conservation Commission, has unveiled the Community Canopy Program which encourages Wilton residents to buy a native flowering understory tree, a shade tree, or an evergreen. The trees will be sold through the Arbor Day Foundation in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Forestry.
The committee is awaiting a decision from Eversource about a grant it has applied for to offset the costs of the trees to residents. “If we get the grant we can cut the price of the trees, but if we do not receive it, the trees will cost about $75 each for a five-gallon tree,” said Jackie Algon, chair of the Tree Committee.
The committee is still determining the types of trees to sell under the program, but a flowering dogwood will be one choice, Algon said. “All the trees will be healthy, well-rooted, and locally sourced,” she said.
The Community Canopy Program needs a minimum of 100 participants. “The more people that sign up, the more trees we can get,” Algon said. The deadline to order trees through the program is the third week of April. The trees will be delivered on Saturday, May 4. “The committee will hold an event in town showing people how to plant and care for the trees, Algon said.
In addition to enhancing properties, the trees help prevent erosion and carbon sequestration by holding soil in place and provide habitat and nourishment for pollinators, birds and other wildlife.
Eversource Energy supports the Community Canopy Program program because the trees also provide energy savings, Algon said.
Over the years, Eversource has had to remove trees in Wilton that have grown into power wires or were downed in storms. The new trees will replace some of those that were lost, and will also provide shade, which is an energy saver.
The Tree Committee is organizing administration of the Community Canopy Program. Residents may sign up to purchase trees by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants will be given a code to enter online that will bring them to a website to choose and reserve their trees. At the same time, they will be shown a GIS plot of their property and they can move a dot representing a tree throughout the property to determine the best location to affect energy savings, and to realize all the other benefits of planting the tree. Using this software, residents will be able to track their savings and the committee will be able to compound the savings throughout the town.