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The short answer is, Experience. And you can visit the Arbor Day website for helpful tree identification links.
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The Township has no legal authority regarding tree disputes on private property.
The homeowner is responsible for required tree pruning where the tree originates on private property. It is likely that greater than 95% of all Beautification street trees in the Township originate on private property. The Freehold Township Shade Tree Commission (FTSTC) recommends residents contact a NJ Board Certified Tree Expert (CTE) for all tree pruning concerns. It is assumed the consumer protections offered by the CTE Board control of CTE licensing are worthwhile. CTE listings can be found in the phone book under "Tree Services" or online.
The property owner is responsible for any branches or debris that may fall from their trees. The Township conducts a yearly brush pick-up each spring: please check with Department of Public Works for the pick-up schedule. Brush may also be dropped off at the Recycling Center Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 8 am and 3 pm.
Freehold Township provides a program to assist homeowners in replacing the sidewalk and aprons in the public right-of-way. Learn more about the Sidewalk/Driveway Apron Replacement Program or contact the Township Engineering Department at 732-294-2070.
The local utility company in Freehold Township, JCP&L (First Energy), is responsible for removing branches near or in the electric wires. Do not attempt to trim trees near electric wires! Notify JCP&L at 1-800-662-3115 of any electric wire concerns.
The homeowner is responsible for the removal of trees located on private property. If trees are beyond the "home site" a permit is required. A "home site" is an area within 100 feet of the foundation of the house. In order to remove trees beyond the "home site," the homeowner must process a Tree Removal Permit (PDF) from the Shade Tree Department.
Two significant restrictions, whether within the "home site" or not, to the tree removal permit process are:
A close inspection of tree branch tissue and the leaf buds. Environmentally stressed trees may cause the leaves to take longer to emerge than the surrounding tree's leaves. Call a Certified Tree Expert if in doubt.
The trees planted symmetrically along the sidewalk, which are within 25 feet of the edge of the right-of-way (on private property), are Street Beautification trees.
Tree mulch rings installed and maintained to current arboricultural standards are simple and wonderfully beneficial to plant health. Mulch beds allow for very easy weed management. Mulch beds do not eliminate weeds but allow excellent soil conditions for tree vigor and for very easy weed management. All types of mechanical damage to tree trunk tissue (string trimmers/lawn mower decks, knife carving, etc.) cause the plant stress and can be avoided. A lawn area is a harsh condition for tree roots to compete for available water and nutrients. Creating generous plant beds (i.e. off the tree trunk collar and a maximum of 2 to 4 inches of mulch thickness) helps to avoid mechanical damage to the tree trunk.
Plantings should be located off the property lines, off any easements (site triangle, utility, drainage, etc.) and plants should not be installed in the right-of-way, on township properties or in traffic site views. Allow sufficient space for the plants to grow to maturity.
The intent of the Shade Tree Commission is to beautify the frontage of all public roads in the Township. Many things about individual property lots will change over time; however, along the Township roadways, street trees exist which have been planted via the beautification program which started in the early 1960s.
Recommendations from the nursery industry and from academic experts on the best tree types have adapted over time. The current revision to the Shade Tree Commission Approved Street Tree planting list is the desire to match the general conditions found throughout the Township and the 3 different potential growth space categories - Shade Trees, Flowering Trees and Fastigiate (Upright or Columnar) Trees - which should meet the differing situations found in many subdivisions. See Approved Street Tree Planting List (PDF) (in Latin and English). Visit the Arbor Day website for additional tree information.
The current ordinance requires the developer to install the street beautification before the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) issuance. Having the trees installed before CO may not be practical in all situations, since the "home closing" and CO issuance and seasonal conditions can be on different time schedules. At the "home closing," homeowners typically sign an Occupancy Sign Off form, which delays the street tree installation until the appropriate planting cycle is available.
Yes - most newly installed plants require above-average watering. Typically, additional watering for a newly planted tree is recommended, especially during the first 2 years. The current understanding of balled and burlapped trees is: about 90% of the tree root system was left at the nursery where the tree was dug. The installed tree has about 10% root surface to absorb water. While too much water can rot tree roots, a thoughtful balance of extra water is typically needed for newly planted trees, especially for the first 2 years.
If a tree is growing well, a survival mechanism is to explore the soil for supplies of oxygen, nutrients and water. It is our belief that tree roots do not cause sanitary line leaks. However, if a water vapor source or a water leak is available, the tree root will seek the water location as a survival reaction. There is doubt at this point, given an available water vapor source or a leak, that the tree root can make a minor problem significantly worse. When root blockage situations are suspected, the homeowner is strongly advised to regularly apply root inhibition products to sanitary lines, carefully following label instructions.
It is more difficult to grow "full-sun quality grass" under the shade of a tree. The recommendation is to make the tree bed larger, proportionate to the tree size, following current arboricultural standards. Decaying organic matter (mulch) covering the root system of trees is excellent for tree health and can be far less frustrating than trying to grow grass in the shade.
Yes: see the Homeowner's Guide.
To maintain your and the neighborhood's electric supply. This continuing situation is where trees with the greatest potential growth space have been planted right under the overhead utility wire. The "rub" is that the tree's survival mechanism continues to grow branches into the best light source - which is right where the overhead wires are! We have not discovered a usable solution for this continuing problem. Do not plant trees with large potential growth space under the overhead wires.
Four separate standards or criteria have to be followed by the municipality to qualify it as a Tree City. It must have:
The final funding year for the Township Beautification program was Spring 2003.
However, while it is a hope that someday new funding will become available the Shade Tree Commission is maintaining a resident call-in tree replacement request list. Please notify the Commission of empty planting locations.
Please do not agitate or disturb the nests. Hornets are especially aggressive. Keep the kids from throwing stones and such at the nest - hornet stings hurt and may lead to breathing problems if the person has an allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock). Getting stung by agitating the nest is not the best way to find this out. If the tree originates on private property, it is the responsibility of the homeowner. Call a certified pesticide applicator company.
Simply fill out the plaque application (linked to this site), attach a check with the current donation amount, and the Township will notify you by mail when the plaque/tree have been installed.
There is no single easy answer. Each property location can have specific differences that do not apply to the next location. Individual home survey plans associated with the tax maps should lead to a close understanding of the specific property line location and/or to the township right-of-way location. Licensed Surveying produces exact positions.
Natural tree bark characteristics (on trees like the London Plane) can look like a disease to many people. Excessive leaf fall or too little leaf emergence in the springtime could be a disease. Accurate diagnosis of disease, pest or cultural problems in trees takes experience. Please call your local certified tree expert.
First check for mechanical damage to the tree trunk, and call your local certified tree expert.