BUCKFIELD – The Buckfield Historical Society wanted the municipal landscaping project to make an impact on the town for years to come. And it seems that it will.

Under the leadership of President Diana Dunn, the historical society secured six liberty elm trees to be planted in the new green space at the Municipal Center. The society members’ hope is that one day the park area will be shaded by the graceful blight-free elms that will grow 30 feet and higher.

When Dunn received a letter in October from the Elm Research Institute in Keene, N.H., telling her of a matching tree grant program, she immediately placed an order for two liberty elms and the town was given four smaller trees as a match.

The liberty elms were developed through 20 years of research to be free of the Dutch elm disease, which was discovered in Ohio in 1932 and quickly spread throughout the country and killed millions of elms.

Many of those trees dated from the 1700s.

Buckfield has a street named Elm Street, which was once lined with the towering trees. Not one stands today due to Dutch elm disease.

However, there are several large remaining elms scattered throughout the village that were spared from the disease. Dunn would like to see Elm Street lined once again, this time with the disease resistant hybrid.

The liberty elm is a true American elm which preserves the traditional shape and hardiness. These elms are only available from the Elm Research Institute and come with a lifetime warranty from Dutch elm disease, according to Dunn.

The grant program will present to any municipality a one-inch caliper tree, approximately six feet in height, for every inch of caliper purchased in trees two inches and larger. For more information on the grant program, go to www.libertyelm.com.

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