Fall tree planting wraps up with 27 new trees from NJDOT on Route 35 South

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PHOTO COURTESY OF BOB LIGHTBURN Shade Tree members Bob Lightburn and Louise Stillufsen prune the new crepe myrtle trees on Route 35 South.

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The borough’s streetscape may seem a little more vibrant in the coming spring as borough organizations, with the help of the state, have planted about 100 trees this fall. 

The most recent of those additions, 27 street trees on Route 35 South, were planted by the New Jersey Department of Transportation as part of its “Good Neighbor” tree-replacement program. 

The program is open to municipalities that had street trees removed on state roads and are eligible to apply for a grant that supplies replacement trees. 

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Working with the NJDOT, the Shade Tree Commission identified appropriate trees and locations where trees had been removed and vacant sites where trees would make a difference. The tree selection challenges for Route 35 South are the presence of utility wires and narrow planting strips, according to commission members.

“Prior to planting, property owners were sent letters informing them of the project and were given the opportunity to say no,” said Anne Lightburn, commission chair.   

The trees planted include cherry, ivory silk lilacs and crepe myrtles. 

“These flowering trees will bring color from early spring right through fall and make Route 35 South a much more attractive main entrance to Point Pleasant Beach,” said Ms. Lightburn. 

According to Ms. Lightburn, research has shown that shade trees create an inviting business district environment and statistically have been proven to increase pedestrian traffic and shopping/dining sales.  She also said trees and landscaping increase property values for homeowners.  

“Point Pleasant Beach showcased our commitment to watering and caring for new street trees, and as a result, was selected by the DOT to receive this incredible grant,” said Mayor Paul Kanitra.

“As an administration, one of our goals is to improve the appearance of our town and street trees play a vital role in that,” he said. “We’re grateful to have such a dedicated and active Shade Tree Commission to help in the process.

“2020 has been an amazing year for trees as over 100 trees have been planted,” added the mayor. “It’s simply staggering.” 

The new trees all add up from projects like the Fisher Family Fund grant, the Shade Tree Commission’s Big Beautiful Tree Purchasing Program, as well as their plantings on Broadway, Atlantic, Niblick and Laurel Court, and the borough’s planting of replacement trees at Little Silver and the Inlet.

The borough will now work to care for these new trees through watering and pruning. 

In 2021, according to the commission, the borough plans to hire one seasonal staff person to begin weekly watering of the new street trees. 

Commission volunteers will be pruning the crepe myrtles into tree form. 

“Route 35 South will be in bloom starting with the cherry trees in early spring followed by the ivory silk lilacs and the dazzling crepe myrtles all summer long,” said Ms. Lightburn.

The commission welcomes new members and volunteers, and meets on the first Monday of the month at 7:00 pm via Zoom.  Contact Ms. Lightburn at anne.bob.lightburn@gmail.com for more information and Zoom meeting invites.

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