CAMDEN, Maine — When Camden Garden Club member Dale Bruce drives around her hometown and sees a barren yard she thinks, “There should be a tree there.”
“Maybe a big sugar maple,” she said Saturday, thinking about a hypothetical spot in town. “It’s nice to drive down tree-lined streets.”
Camden, the garden club and a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant are giving homeowners low-cost trees to help line the streets. The program started about 50 years ago when Dutch elm disease obliterated many of Camden’s trees. Now each spring, the garden club and the town pair up to plant about 15 trees in the front yards of local homeowners.
“It’s not a huge impact, but if you plant 15 trees a year every year it’s a lot of trees,” Bruce said.
The trees typically cost about $320, but for Camden residents they will cost $48. Homeowners and businesses can choose from red maple, sugar maple, two varieties of crab apple, Japanese tree lilac, Callery pear and red oak. The only stipulation is that the trees be planted on the street-facing side of a residence.
“Some people have trees in front of their house that are dead or dying, and they don’t know how to get new ones,” said Camden Town Manager Pat Finnegan. “It’s a popular program and certainly part of Camden’s beauty is its trees, so it’s nice to offer people shade trees in front of their homes.”
Anyone who would like a tree should sign up at the town office on Elm Street.