Friends of Madison Shade Trees Projects

Arbor/May Day

FMST, the Shade Tree Management Board, and  all of Madison's elementary schools have produced the May Day/Arbor Day program on the steps of the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building since 1998.  For many years, Torey J. Sabatini’s principal, Mike Post, has coordinated the singers, poets, and band members who participate; and he is in charge of the contests which every year result in a wonderful May/Arbor Day student-designed program cover.

Baptist Church - Cook Avenue

FMST provided a Purple Plum for ‘Carol’s Garden.’

Belmont Avenue Housing Authority

FMST provided a Weeping Cherry tree at the entrance of both new residence buildings.

Central Avenue School (Flagpole Path)

One of FMST’s first projects was to plant Scholar, plum, and cherry trees at Central Avenue School.  The first graders designed a special T-shirt in honor of the trees, and the Madison Board of Education awarded FMST a recognition plaque, which hangs at Poor Herbie’s.

Cole Park

FMST added a viewing bench and a pair of flowering Crab-apple trees. 

Community Garden Library

Using mostly donated materials and labor, FMST has created a small reference library for gardeners in the Community Garden shed.  It contains reference books and a regularly updated (thank you, Peg Codey) set of files on soil, insects, weeds, invasive species, plant needs and varieties, etc.  Gardeners can consult/exchange current gardening and seed catalogs and use the whiteboard to exchange information.

Commuter Parking Lots 1, 2 and 3

FMST won four SBA federal grants (one in each of the four years of the program), which were used  to add hundreds of trees and shrubs to the three parking lots reconstructed by the Department of Public Works.   The first Rotary Red Roses were planted at Prospect corner. 

Commuter Parking Lots Trees Moved to Dodge Field

During construction of the new Public Safety Building, FMST and the Shade Tree Management Board paid to move (and thus preserve) fifteen  Maple trees from Commuter Lots 2 and 3 to a new home, shading the rebuilt Dodge Field playground..

Cook Avenue Senior Housing

In response to a request from the Housing Authority, FMST planted trees there.


FMST is currently engaged in replanting the areas along the driveway that leads to Sunrise and the playing fields.  We are also adding native hardwoods to the perimeter areas, re-plantings made possible by the water source added as part of hardscape renovations.

Dodge Field Playground/Chapel Street

FMST planted four Trident Maples here to add shade.

East Main Street

With the help of a National Tree Trust grant, FMST extended the flowering pear tree signature of downtown Madison by adding fifty-four new trees along Route 24.

Edwards Tree Rescue

When new supermarket construction required the removal of trees, FMST paid to have them transplanted to Cole Park.

Elm Street Affordable Housing Site

Again, at the request of the Housing Authority, FMST added new plantings.

Gibbons Pines Park

This entrance to Madison has been enhanced by adding pine trees, benches, and a picnic table provided by FMST and Boy Scout Troop 7.

James Park

FMST has planted memorial cherry trees here, the site of annual Memorial Day remembrances.

Kings Road        

The four SBA awards were also used to replace the street trees along Kings Road with Zelkovas, chosen for their shapeliness, lack of low branches, and appropriate height.

Kings Road Railroad Embankment

NJ Transit and ISTEA funding through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act, matched the FMST funds used to plant the 500 foot corridor of the rail bed.  These areas have subsequently been pruned, weeded, and mulched using FMST funds.

Kings Road Trestle

The Kings Road plantings were continued beyond the trestle because this is another main entry into Madison.  The student-painted walls of the underpass make an important contribution to the charm of this part of Kings Road.

Kings Road School

District 21 Legislators Kean, Munoz, and Bramnick donated a Linden Tree, which FMST had planted.

Madison Avenue Wall Landscaping

FMST successfully obtained grant money to plant Ivory Silk Lilac and Maacia trees here.

Madison Avenue Water Tower Reforestation

FMST has planted shrubs and native hardwoods here, converting the once-barren site into a wooded area that is part of Madison’s sub/urban canopy.  The Department of Public Works installed vital irrigation there.

Madison Community Pool Trees Moved From Stop & Shop

When Stop & Shop expanded its parking lots, FMST and the Shade Tree Management Board moved several mature trees to the Madison Community Pool, where they add much-needed shade and continue their part in Madison’s sub/urban canopy.

Madison High School Driveway and Flagpole

Members of the Environmental Club teamed with FMST to plant the trees in the front of the high school.    In the fall of 2015, members of the Club transplanted ten saplings from the FMST Tree Nursery into Summerhill Park.  They have undertaken to water and care for the trees as they mature.

Madison Junior School

Over a five-year period, FMST supervised a complete re-landscaping of the façade of the Junior School. We also contributed plantings to the Rain Garden there.

Madison Public Library

FMST worked with the Friends of the Library in their campaign to upgrade the library and planted many Kousa dogwood there, as well as a series of specimen trees.  The library is an important site for landmark trees -- the tree grown from the Tuttle Oak (cf. “Tuttle Oak”) acorn by Larry Tabor is there, and so is the Space Shuttle Pine (cf. “Space Shuttle Pine”).

Madison Recreation Center

In addition to planting shade trees around the Rec building, FMST joined the New Jersey Tree Foundation and the Shade Tree Management Board in planting 500 seedlings in the woodland section.  First, the areas to be planted had to be hand-cleared of thorny barberry and weed thickets. As Stephan Stocker (of Sustainable Madison and the Community Garden) explains, there need to be five layers-by-height in a healthy woodland canopy, each with its own important contributions to make.  Thus the seedlings included native trees and shrubs of different heights and varied species. 

Madison Senior Gardens

FMST added trees and shrubs to the Senior Gardens.

Main Street and Kings Road are lined with trees planted by FMST and the Shade Tree Management Board.

Maple Avenue Re-planting

When Maple Avenue was reconstructed, FMST and the Shade Tree Management Board worked with engineers to save significant trees by reshaping sidewalks and interrupting block curbing.  Twenty new Maple trees were added.

Memorial Park

There are several FMST projects at Memorial Park, including the commemorative White Oak planted for the Y2K Graduation Gala. FMST transplanted a mature fir tree from the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts to the ice rink entrance.

Museum of Early Trades & Crafts Landscaping

FMST and the Woodland Tree Company provided re-landscaping of the museum building and were part of the redevelopment of the Griffith Garden.  Overgrown plantings were properly shaped, and new plants were added, including a pair of flowering Amelanchier trees. In 2016, FMST will add a native Redbud tree to the garden.

Museum of Early Trades & Crafts Fir Moved to Memorial Park

See Memorial Park entry above.

Presbyterian Church Cemetery Wall - Kings Road

Church leaders asked FMST to landscape the lovely old cemetery wall visible for a length at the Kings Road trestle.  A row of Miss Kim Lilac bushes interspersed with native Redbuds were planted there.  Eagle Scout Alex Post re-landscaped the area next to the substation, adding shrubs and groundcover, and creating what is now called "Trestle Park."  FMST funded Alex's project and advised him on the kinds of trees to put in.  All the plantings in Alex’s care survived because of the brilliantly innovative watering system he devised, which used only hoses and gravity.  The Boy Scouts now maintain Trestle Park, weeding, mulching and pruning as needed.

Presbyterian Church/Merchant Parking Lot Trees - 2007

Working with the Presbyterian Church neighbors of Rose Garden Park, FMST planted new trees and shrubs to the reconstructed parking lot.

Railroad Station

The entirety of thus landscaping project was paid for by the$100,000 Federal grant won by FMST.   FMST partnered with Friends of Madison Train Station (FMTS) in this substantial endeavor, which has replanted all entrances to the station, stabilized steep slopes, provided seasonal interest, and features a full irrigation system.  This project took ten years to complete, and was overseen from beginning to end by Judy Mullins, who worked in concert with both NJ Transit and the volunteer group,  Friends of Madison Train Station.  The result is an historically correct re-landscaping appropriate to the renovated station buildings, and consistent with the elegance of the Hartley Dodge Memorial and new Public Safety Building.

Rose Garden Park

Designed as a ‘group effort’ from a sketch envisioned by FMST trustee, Cathie Coultas, Rose Garden Park was created from a bit of weedy wasteland at the corner of Kings Road and Green Avenue.  Today Rose Garden Park is a stable and serene pocket park, which features beds of the Rotary Hybrid Roses created in honor of Madison's history as "Rose City, USA."  It is maintained by FMST with help from the Shade Tree Management Board, the Department of Public Works, and volunteers from Garden Club of Madison.  Master Gardeners Marta McDowell and Alice Wade now continue the work begun by Nancy Critchley and provide the professional planning, advice, and care.

Rose Propagation Program 

FMST and Garden club members have been propagating the Rotary Hybrid Roses from cuttings.  These will be used as replacements for roses falling victim to age, damage, or disease. 

Space Shuttle Pine

In 1997, the Space Shuttle Columbia took seeds into space which, on their return, were germinated in the New Jersey Forestry greenhouses.  Madison was given one of the seedlings, which was planted at the Madison Public Library.  It grew and grew -- and grew.  As it did so, it outgrew its curbside planting.  In the fall of 2015, the Shade Tree Management Board and FMST had it moved to a new and safer location on the library grounds.  It took a giant crane and a skilled team two days to transplant Madison's wonderful "tree that came from outer space."

Torey J. Sabatini School

FMST planted a tree for Arbor Day in conjunction with the video, "How to Plant a Tree," which can be viewed on You Tube.

Tree Nursery

Designed, developed, and maintained by trustee Cathie Coultas, free seedlings from local woodlands and from state and federal programs are nurtured here until they are big enough to transplant.  The nursery enables FMST to add more trees to Madison's canopy at little cost.

Tuttle Oak Preservation

The famous Tuttle Oak graced the center of Prospect Street for generations.    When it was felled by a moving van in the winter of 1997, FMST was granted permission by Borough authorities to be custodians of the wood.  FMST and the director of the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts located a vendor who properly dried the wood so that it could be made into souvenirs.  Huge slices of the venerable tree were preserved and can be seen at the library and at the museum.  FMST also produced educational packets for school children, under the watchful eye of botanist Florence Zuck, which included acorns from the remarkable tree.  There are many baby ‘Tuttle Oaks’ in town, and the now-mature Landmark Tree planted at the library was grown from seed by Larry Tabor.

Waverly Green Parking Lot Landscaping

FMST planted shade trees and flowering shrubs here, too.