2020 Fall Tree Planting

West Cape May homeowners are eligible to have a tree planted on their property this fall courtesy of the borough’s Shade Tree Commission.  To preserve and enhance West Cape May’s urban forest, the commission plants 10 to 15 trees each year on private and public property. The fall planting is funded with proceeds from the West Cape May Farmer’s Market and the Tomato and Lima Bean Festivals.

Trees benefit the community by moderating the climate, improving air quality, reducing stormwater runoff, and harboring wildlife. By planting trees and shrubs, we can offset the effects of development by returning the environment to a more natural state that is attractive to birds and wildlife. The borough strives to maintain a 25% tree canopy and recent development threatens that goal.

The trees will be professionally planted on the homeowner’s property this fall. Homeowners are responsible to water and care for the tree after it is planted. All trees are between three to five feet tall. Varieties may include red cedar, Eastern red bud, red maple, sycamore, Princeton elm and more. Limit of one tree per property.

If you are interested in receiving a tree, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fill out a request form at Borough Hall, 732 Broadway, Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm by September 30, 2020. Include your name, address, phone number and the variety of tree requested. The commission will try to honor requests but cannot guarantee that the variety selected will be available. Homeowners will be contacted with planting details.

  pdf Fall Tree Planting Application

 

 

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:64-1 et seq., the Borough of West Cape May established a Shade Tree Commission whose duties include the oversight, care and maintenance of trees and shrubs on both public and, in certain instances, private property in the borough.

The Shade Tree Commission’s mission is:

  • To maintain and expand the tree canopy throughout the borough in a manner that is safe, beneficial to the environment and the migratory wildlife population and adds to the quality of life in the community.
  • To preserve and protect the trees in the borough on both public and private property in a responsible and prudent manner.
  • To oversee the use of Wilbraham Park, the Backyard Park and other areas as assigned.
  • To be a resource to the community and municipality for all tree related issues.

Geographically, West Cape May is located on one of the world’s top migratory paths for hawks, seabirds, songbirds, butterflies, and dragonflies. The diversity of forests, salt marshes, beaches, maritime forests. and grasslands makes the area a key stopover point for migrating wildlife. Preserving these vital natural resources through active management of the community’s urban forest is an important goal of the Shade Tree Commission.

Membership
The commission consists of nine (9) members appointed by the Mayor with advice and consent of Borough Council. All appointments are for five (5) year terms.

Meetings
The commission meets monthly on the first Tuesday of the month at 6 PM in the Caucus Room at Borough Hall, 732 Broadway, West Cape May. 

Tree Removal Regulations
Pursuant to West Cape May Ordinance 529-17, no person shall remove or destroy any tree subject to the ordinance regulations without first obtaining a tree removal permit from the Borough. The application for a tree removal permit is available online or at borough hall. The application must be submitted to the borough’s Zoning Officer. The fee is $35 for each tree to be removed.   pdf Application for Tree Removal

Applications and fees must be received by the Zoning Office at least 10 days prior to the meeting date.

CHECK BEFORE YOU HIRE!

Click here for listings of non-registered tree care businesses.

Note to Consumers: Any business that provides tree care services for hire in the state of New Jersey shall be registered with the NJ Board of Tree Experts and have, in its employ, at least one full time Licensed Tree Expert or Licensed Tree Care Operator, depending on the services that are offered.

Please call the Board of Tree Experts to verify that a business is registered and licensed under the law. Call us at (732) 534-0982 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

It is important to make sure that the company is qualified to do tree work and fully insured in case an accident happens. Incorrect tree work can predispose your trees to many future problems, including tree failure.  In addition, many homeowner policies will not cover injuries or damage done by an under-insured tree care contractor, which may leave the financial burden on the homeowner.

Click here to go directly to the Directory of Licensees and Businesses that are in compliance with the Law.

Replacement Trees
In most cases when a tree is approved for removal a replacement is required. The Shade Tree Commission has developed a list of trees that are specifically selected for planting in our community. They are urban and salt tolerant with high wildlife benefit.

  pdf Click Here for the West Cape May List of Approved Trees. Replacement trees must be selected from this list.

Contact Us
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Shade Tree Commission Members
TERM (5 year) Alternates (2 year)

Wayne Hoffman, Chair
01/01/2019 - 12/31/2023

Matt Notch
01/01/2018 - 12/31/2022

William Oetinger, Treasurer
09/10/2018 - 12/31/2020

David Hammond, Vice Chair
01/01/2018 - 12/31/2022

Lisa Bernstein
01/01/2017 - 12/31/2021

Susan Hoffman, Secretary (Alt. 1)
01/01/2019 - 12/31/2020

William McCray
01/01/2020 - 12/31/2024

H. Parker Smith
01/01/2020 - 12/31/2024

Harry Schmidt (Alt. 2)
01/01/2019 - 12/31/2020



Shade Tree Meeting Dates (2020)

MEETING

AGENDA 

MINUTES

January 7

January 7

January 7

February 4

  pdf February 4

  pdf February 4

March 3

  pdf March 3

March 3

April 7

April 7

April 7

May 5

  pdf May 5

  pdf May 5

June 2

  pdf June 2

  pdf June 2

July 7

  pdf July 7

July 7

August 4

August 4

August 4

Special Meeting

August 18

  pdf August 18
  pdf August 18

Special Meeting

August 26

  pdf August 26   pdf August 26

September 15

  pdf September 15

  pdf September 15

October 6

  pdf October 6

  pdf October 6

November 3

  pdf November 3

November 3

December 8

December 8

December 8


pdf NATIVE PLANTS FOR YOUR GARDEN  - prepared by Joseph McMahon, former Shade Tree Commission Member and Master Gardener
 
THE WORLD'S GREATEST MIGRATION
presented by Joseph McMahon, former Shade Tree Commission Member and Master Gardener
 
Did you know that the Borough of West Cape May stands smack in the middle of the greatest bird and butterfly migration throughout the entire world? It's true. Each year, in the spring, tens of thousands of birds and butterflies can be seen in this area, as they migrate north to their favorite ancestral nesting sites. This incredible sojourn is repeated in the fall when scores of birds and butterflies enjoy a return to West Cape May for rest before heading to their winter homes in the southern regions.
 
WILDLIFE HABITAT
About fifty years ago, the spectacular migration was headed for serious trouble when traditional wildlife areas were taken over by an unprecedented housing boom. More and more feeding grounds were lost to housing construction, which diminished wildlife habitats. Fortunately, a need to preserve these habitats garnered public emphathy. Moreover, the important contribution that native plants play to enhance migratory patterns was becoming both recognized and appreciated.
 
NATIVE PLANTS
In local landscapes, native plants are needed to start and maintain a successful backyard wildlife habitat. Native plants provide not only food and shelter for wildlife, but also cover and safe refuge. Other key benefits of native plants in your backyard are their penchant for conserving water; what's more, they don't require a lot of individual care. Plus, native plants can tolerate climate changes closely associated with seaside living.
 
NATIVE SHRUBS
The plants listed below are considered native to the Lower Cape May Region and a good way to start small:
  • Northern Bayberry (M. pensylvanica)
  • Common Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • Hawthorns (Crataegus spp)
  • Beach Plum (Prunus maritima)
  • Red Chokeberry (Aronia Arbutifolia)
  • Smooth Winterberry (Ilex Laevigata)
  • Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
  • Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
  pdf VICTORY GARDENING - presented by the West Cape May Shade Tree Commission

 

NATIVE SHRUBS
The plants listed below are considered native to the Lower Cape May Region and a good way to start small:

  • Northern Bayberry (M. pensylvanica)
  • Common Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • Hawthorns (Crataegus spp)
  • Beach Plum (Prunus maritima)
  • Red Chokeberry (Aronia Arbutifolia)
  • Smooth Winterberry (Ilex Laevigata)
  • Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
  • Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)




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