New Jersey will give away 102,000 baby trees between now and mid-May, to replace those lost during hurricane Sandy.

(Credit: NJ Department of Environmental Protection)

The seedlings will be given away free to anyone who wants them at 145 locations statewide.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said the effort is another part of New Jersey's recovery from the great tree loss in the 2012 storm.

"It is hard to really put an estimate as to how many trees Sandy took down," he said. "Probably in the millions."

He said the DEP is working toward replacing those trees, calling their replenishment an important part of our recovery effort that may get overlooked, as other rebuilding efforts are taking place.

The seedlings come from New Jersey's facility in Jackson, the State Forest Nursery. The nursery grows a half-million trees every year for distribution through various programs throughout the state.

Jersey residents can get as many as five oak, dogwood, maple or pine tree seedlings, grown and cultivated in cooperation with several groups: the Arbor Day Foundation, the New Jersey State Forest Service, the Community Forestry Program, The State Forest Nursery, New Jersey State conservation districts, Sustainable Jersey and others.

"It is a critical part of our effort to keep Jersey green," Hajna said.

He said a total of 350,000 seedlings will have been planted through the first three years of this program.

Hajna also has advice for those picking up seedlings for planting: "Plant them right away. There might be a tendency to let it sit around on the kitchen table or in the laundry room for a week or so before you get around to planting it. Its chances of survival are best if it is put in the ground as soon as possible."

Seedling distribution locations and dates, as well asmore information on trees and can be found on the State Forest Service Facebook page at

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5