Much of Warminster Community Park’s nearly three miles of walking trails are treeless, but that’s about to change starting this fall.
At a ceremony on Tuesday, officials from Warminster Township and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society announced that 300 trees would be planted along the walking trails at the park, which is made up of 243 mostly treeless acres that were formerly part of the Johnsville Naval Air Warfare Center, as part of the Plant One Million program.
“We couldn't be happier to be the new home to 300 new trees," township Supervisor Mark McKee said at the event. He added that the trees would make the park “more inviting.”
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society staff and volunteers will begin planting the trees beginning in September, officials said.
For the next two years - the most important in a tree’s “establishment” - a contractor will be used to water and maintain the newest residents of Warminster Community Park. After two years, volunteers and township staff will maintain the trees, Emma Melvin, project manager for the Plant One Million program, reported.
Melvin said the trees will help create a tree canopy which will provide shade at the park. The Plant One Million program hopes to increase the Philadelphia region's average tree canopy to 30 percent; right now Warminster is at around 20 percent, she said.
Aside from providing shade from the sun and making the park more welcoming, the trees will serve a more important purpose - helping manage stormwater runoff and improve water quality, Melvin said.
The problem with large mowed grass plains like Warminster Community Park, Melvin told Patch, is the ground becomes compact over time and doesn’t absorb as much water as a tree absorbs through its roots system. The root system also breaks up the soil and lets stormwater penetrate the earth and get soaked up.
Warminster is one of several communities in the region to receive trees as part of the Plant One Million program, which is funded through a grant from an independent state agency. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is also involved in the program that is planting nearly 4,000 trees this year alone.
Earlier Tuesday, officials announced over 300 additional trees would be planted at New Hope-Solebury High School, the municipal office building and several other locations in that community. The City of Chester, Millborune Borough and Norristown are also receiving trees.
“The goal, as the name implies, is to add one million trees to our streets, yards, parks and other opening spaces, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Program Director Nancy O’Donnell said to the gathered audience. “What we’re doing here will have a lasting impact on our environment, economy and community.”
“We look forward to seeing those benefits first-hand,” McKee said.