By Saven Wilkins

Volunteers planted trees and cleared brush and bamboo, completing the annual spring Landscape Enhancement Day to keep the community looking good and fill in holes in our canopy. Donuts and coffee at the Clubhouse kicked off the day.

The Landscape Committee had ordered 11 trees through Maryland’s Tree-Mendous program, which offers $25 coupons for each tree purchased from a local nursery. The program is also available to individual homeowners.

The program specifies that the coupons be used to plant native trees.

Volunteers on the last Sunday in April planted nine of the 11 trees.

A lot of digging in New Mark’s clay soil was required. Volunteers often took turns digging and chopping open holes large enough to receive the root balls. The four trees with 15-gallon root balls were a big job! These were two Sycamores 10 feet or more in height and two White Oaks which were 8 to 10 feet high.

The other five trees planted that day included three Eastern Redbud, 4-6 feet; and two Flowering Dogwood, 5-6 feet. These had smaller root balls of 5-7 gallons and were somewhat easier to plant.

We got everything in the ground that day except for two Bottlebush Buckeye shrubs, 12-18 inches in height. Landscape Committee members planted those the following weekend.

In addition to clearing brush from the drainage swales behind 400 and 500 New Mark Esplanade, we had a team of volunteers remove Garlic Mustard from along the path in the center of our community. Garlic Mustard is a troublesome invasive plant but is easy to pull up with the roots.

Other improvements carried out by volunteers included tidying the gardens on the outside of the pool fence and pruning back bushes and bamboo next to 100 NME and the Lake. bushes and bamboo next to 100 NME and the lake.

We had at least 17 volunteers: Ardis Fisher, Ron Tipton, Rocio & Tomas Crumley, Wini Herrmann, Eric Peich, Peter & Laurie Krugg, Jonathan Ferguson, Miki Komlosh & Netta Lizak, Max Bliss, Jennifer Jackson, Emily Ecker, Saven Wilkins, JP Muller and Ellen Stein.

Photos by Rocio Crumley, Ellen Stein