Alexandria and Arlington Recognize Park Volunteers

TreeStewards are all about volunteering .

TreeStewards are all about volunteering .

TreeStewards are all about volunteering, and in 2014 we collectively gave over 3100 hours caring for trees and educating the public were reported.  Our efforts are making a difference and are appreciated by those responsible for the parks.

Bonnie Petry shown as usual  seen with a shovel or watering can in her hands.

Bonnie Petry shown as usual seen with a shovel or watering can in her hands.

The City of Alexandria recognized TreeSteward Bonnie Petry with the CIVIC Award last summer for her ongoing work caring for trees at Tarleton Park.  Bonnie has led numerous volunteer work days that have planted more than 115 trees throughout the park and more importantly, she oversees the watering contract that ensures their survival.

Arlington awarded it’s Bill Thomas Park Volunteer Award to TreeSteward Don Walsh and to Master Naturalist Mary McLean for their many hours of service. Since 2010, Don has worked on invasive plant removal throughout the county, assisted with training new TS members, and conducted numerous tree walks for the public. Mary McLean has led volunteer work days in Tuckahoe Park for five years and leads native plant walks as part of each work day.

Master Naturalist Mary McLean and TreeSteward Don Walsh. Usually seen with work gloves and clippers, but here they are at the Awards Ceremony.

Master Naturalist Mary McLean and TreeSteward Don Walsh. Usually seen with work gloves and clippers, but here they are at the Awards Ceremony.

These three are representative of all the volunteer effort we do.  Congratulations to all of us.

Posted in Community Service

Class of 2015 Graduates

TreeStewards Class of 2015 is ready for action.

TreeStewards Class of 2015 is ready for action.

The nineteen new members of TreeStewards are already signed up to staff tree information tables at farmers markets, plant trees in Alexandria and Falls Church, and work with their condos’ green committees.

Class sessions started on February 3 and met each Tuesday night through April 14. Perhaps the most challenging part of the class was the pruning practicum at Yorktown High School on a bitter cold Saturday in February — the biggest learning was to put hand warmers in the glove hand with the steel pruner…. And surely the most fun was examining trees outside Fairlington Community Center classroom as the sun slowly sank in the west and flashlights were required.

Congratulations to the new TreeStewards. We look forward to working with you.

Posted in Events | Tagged ,

Treecycling: Books Into Trees

… and kids into environmentalists!

Environmentalist who have learned how to turn books into trees!

Environmentalist who have learned how to turn books into trees!

Imagine young entrepreneurs collecting gently used books from friends and neighbors, and selling them to new owners. The two youth raised money to purchase and plant trees so their playground can become a National Wildlife Fund certified habitat.

Treecycling is a wonderful cross-curricular practice.  It promotes the love of literacy, math skills (if you have your child count the change), and not least, the children build awareness about the  primary and natural source of things, ie. books come from trees.  This awareness leads to gratitude and conservation.


The end result is a lovely red maple tree planted in the playground.

The end result is a lovely red maple tree planted in the playground.


Ann Marie Douglass, an early Childhood Educator from the Tree Steward Class of 2014, thought up the project and encourages other parents to help their children become environmentalists also.

Posted in Community Service, Education | Tagged , ,

Ash Trees of Lyon Park Treated for Emerald Ash Borer

Our white ash provides playground  and picnic table shade. It's loss would impact the community.

Our white ash provides playground and picnic table shade. It’s loss would impact the community.

Lyon Park’s County Co-Champion white ash trees have been showing their age of late.  How much of the decline can be blamed on the onslaught of the dreaded Emerald Ash Boer (EAB) is hard to say.  The Lyon Park Community must care for its park’s trees (it is a community owned park rather than county owned) and we would rather not chance the loss of its huge ash trees to the EAB.  The best time to treat an ash for EAB is early springtime, mid-March to Mid-April so now is the best time.

We called our regular tree service company to ask for a treatment bid, but they  referred us to some of the larger companies with ongoing experience treating ash trees for EAB.  After checking out several, I met with our chosen arborist who recommended the use of imidacloprid, a soil treatment, rather than using an insecticide injected into the bark.  Both treatments have advantages and disadvantages, so this is where discussion with the chosen arborist is important.  Imidicloprid mimics nicotine, which is toxic to insects, and is taken up by the tree’s roots and translocated  throughout the tree’s xylem tissues where the EAB carve “S” shaped galleries.  Arborists recommend annual treatment and we hope these imidacloprid treatments save our huge ash trees.

The treatment cost will be $0.10 per inch diameter of the tree or $1,040 for Lyon Park’s 56” and 48” diameter white ashes — however not treating and allowing the trees to die would cost many times this for removal, plus possible damage to other structures.  The article below provides details on how to choose an arborist.  If you have questions about our choice, please leave a comment.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

How to Select an Arborist or Tree Service Company

TreeStewards are often asked by the community for a referral for a good arborist or tree service company to diagnose problems and service trees.  While the TreeStewards do not recommend specific companies, we do provide advice for selecting a good service.

Above all, we recommend contacting a certified arborist working with a bonded and insured tree company.  Here is a step-by-step for selecting and contracting with an arborist:

(1)    Search for an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist. To find one, put in your zip code and search within 25 miles. Over 100 names will appear. Select several and call or email describing your need. This is especially important if you want to treat your ash trees against Emerald Ash Borer; you want an arborist who has done this work before.

(2)    Schedule meetings at your home with at least two or more certified arborists. Certified arborists carry their license on their person, so don’t hesitate to ask to see it. Ask if a certified arborist will be supervising the actual work, and if not, inquire about the training and experience of the work foreman. Use that knowledge as a factor in your decision.

(3) Reach an agreement on the scope of the work to be performed and obtain a written estimate. Ask for referrals and take time to follow-up and make the calls.  Always get a second opinion.

(4)    When you have selected a tree service, try to schedule the work when you are home and available to meet with the crew prior to the start of the work. Talk with the arborist or the crew chief or foreman who will supervise the work.  Be sure to review the scope of the job with the foreman to ensure there are no misunderstandings.  If anything concerns you, insist on speaking with the certified arborist who estimated the job.

You want the best service for your trees.  Reputable firms do not want dissatisfied customers.  Reminder:  Ensure that you obtain written estimates from at least two arborists. Communicate often and well with the company and give them a chance to make corrections if you are not satisfied with the work.  For more information on selecting an arborist,

(Adapted from an article originally written by TreeSteward Bill Anhut for the Lyon Park Citizens Association newsletter, November 2009).

Posted in Education, Tree Care | Tagged , , , , , ,

Save Our Counted Trees from Invasives: February 21, 2015


Forested intersection

County owned parcel of forested land at eastern corner of Walter Reed Dr. and the W&OD Trail

On Saturday morning, February 21, 2015 we will remove invasive plants choking the trees — and practice our winter tree ID skills.  Please don your winter work clothes, bring gloves and clippers and meet us between 9AM and Noon at the intersection of Walter Reed  and Four Mile Run Drive.  Our work saved this forest from development last year, now let’s give the trees more freedom from choking vines.

Below is the original post  from January 2014 describing our efforts counting the trees and educating others of their value:

This forested parcel of land owned by Arlington County is being considered for relocation of the Phoenix Bikes Program and so it was inventoried by members of the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists and TreeStewards to determine the benefits from the trees and impact of tree loss if a building replaced the trees. The wooded parcel of land (about an acre) is located along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail (W&OD Trail) at the intersection of South Four Mile Run Drive and Walter Reed Drive (eastern side of intersection).

A tree inventory is an important scientific, technical, and educational tool. Fieldwork for this tree inventory was initiated December 27, 2013, and completed December 31, 2013. This tree inventory identified the species and diameter of each tree 2 inches or greater in diameter. Tree diameter is usually measured at 4.5 feet (137 cm) above ground level. Measurement at this height is referred to as diameter at breast height or DBH. The volunteer team measured over 200 trees with a DBH of 2 inches or greater. The results show that this parcel of land contains:

• Over 170 trees that are native tree species.
• High species diversity with almost 30 different tree species including: American elm, ash (white and green), black gum, black locust, eastern red cedar, northern red oak, pin oak, red maple, scarlet oak, southern red oak, sweet gum, sycamore, and black cherry.
• More than 120 trees with DBH’s greater than 6 inches.
• Five trees of impressive size and shape: three native oaks, one native ash, and one native sweetgum between 30 and 40 inches DBH. Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, Education