Restoring our Waterways: 175 Native Trees and Shrubs Planted!

Thanks to the 10 Million Trees for PA project, Colonial Canopy Trees received 175 trees and shrubs to plant along streams in Plymouth and Whitemarsh townships.

These water-loving native plants were planted in riparian zones to help stabilize streambanks, filter and reduce sediment from stormwater runoff, and improve stream water quality. They also add great wildlife value.

Shaun, a volunteer, watering a newly-planted Red-twig Dogwood. Trees in McCarthy Basin in Whitemarsh were fenced in instead of being placed in tubes.

Our planting list consisted of 25 of each species below:

  • Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum)
  • Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
  • Sandbar Willow (Salix interior)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra)
  • Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
  • Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Here’s a breakdown of where the trees and shrubs were planted:

  • Harriet-Wetherill Park, along creek: 34 plants.
  • McCarthy Retention Basin in low-lying outflow area, Whitemarsh: 56 plants.
  • Parcel opposite Mather Mill, Whitemarsh Township, along stream: 16 plants.
  • Koontz Park in stormwater basin, Whitemarsh Township: 16 plants.
  • Bicentennial Park along Sawmill Run creek: 34 plants.
  • Sandwood Park in water runoff area: 8 plants.
  • Private property in Plymouth Township along stream: 21 plants.

These trees were received as bare-root whips. They are planted in the ground in areas with wet soil, and are staked and enclosed in a tube. The tube lets light through while protecting the small sapling from deer or animal browse. The tubes are topped with a netting that prevents birds from entering or getting trapped.

When no vegetation is present next to a waterway, there are no roots to hold the soil together. Over time, large rain events erode away the streambank and sediment is deposited in the water, creating issues downstream. Vegetation in these riparian zones also reduces pollution and improves stream quality. Photo shows 4 Silky Dogwoods planted at Bicentennial Park in Plymouth Township.

Over time as these trees grow, their roots will stabilize the soil along the streams and help prevent soil erosion. Since these are native species, our insects and wildlife will utilize them for food, nectar and shelter. As trees outgrow their tubes, we will replace them with appropriate fencing or bark-guards. The survival rates of these trees vary on a number of factors, but we are hopeful that at least 75% will be remaining after 3 years.

If you notice any issues with the tubes at these locations, please let us know by emailing

We’d like to thank Plymouth and Whitemarsh Townships for helping us find appropriate locations to plant these trees and shrubs, and for working with us to restore our area’s riparian zones!

Seven tubed trees were planted along this empty section of Sawmill Run at Bicentennial Park.

2 thoughts on “Restoring our Waterways: 175 Native Trees and Shrubs Planted!

  1. Hi Andrew, That’s wonderful!! And thank you for IDing the Larkspur on iNaturalist. I cant’ work out how to reply on that program. BTW, someone told me why it’s called Larkspur. You probably know, but anyway, look at the spur at the back of a Lark’s foot!! Best, Jenny Godwin


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: