Backyard Buffer Program

Backyard Buffer program logo

“A Landscape That Will Make A Difference”

byb_image1.pngClean water through the Backyard Buffers program

The Maryland Forest Service and the Potomac Watershed Partnership present the Backyard Buffers program, designed to assist homeowners who have a waterway on or adjacent to their property to create a streamside buffer of native trees and shrubs. 

A streamside buffer can create habitat for wildlife, reduce peak winter temperatures, and reduce the amount of sediment, fertilizer and toxic materials that enter our waterways. Deep-rooted trees and shrubs can also stabilize streambanks, protecting them from erosion.

byb_image2.pngWhat’s in the bag?

The Backyard Buffers program provides a free “buffer in a bag” to help get homeowners started in buffering their streamside. The bag includes 20-30 native tree and shrub bare-root seedlings, approximately 1 to 2 feet in height. A mix of various species, the seedlings are well to suited streamside conditions.

Also included are fact sheets on the tree species, planting techniques, proper maintenance and additional information for those who wish to learn more.

Who is elegible?

  • Maryland landowners who have a drainage ditch, stream, creek, or river flowing through their property or live adjacent to such a waterway.
  • The program is for smaller landowners who are not eligible for agricultural cost-share programs.
  • Our funding is limited and the program is not available in all counties.


How do I get involved?

If you are a qualifying homeowner, call or e-mail your local Backyard Buffer coordinator.

Backyard Buffer packet reservations are typically taken during the month of March, with bags available for pickup at a designated local site in time for the spring planting season. A limited number of bags are available each year on a first-come, first-served basis, so please call ahead.

To sign up, for more information, or if you need assistance with planting due to a disability>click here to find your Backyard Buffer county coordinator.

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