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.

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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).

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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

Winter Tree Care

Tree limbs are built to handle most snow storms; removing heavy wet snow must be gently done to avoid damage

The winter months are a great time to catch-up on tree maintenance and prepare for the spring growing season.  During the summer months, it is important to water trees but generally not perform maintenance (i.e. pruning or pest treatments); while during the fall season we try to keep-up with raking the leaves. With the onset of winter, trees enter their dormant season. Leaves have fallen, photosynthesis has stopped, and roots stop sending nutrients up the tree.  Continue reading

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Volunteer Training Class starts February 3, 2015

Poster with children viewing

TreeStewards enjoy providing education at community events.

Help us make a Difference and Join! Next Volunteer Training Class will be held on Tuesday evenings, February 3 -April 14, 2015 at Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington. Class will also include two Saturday and one Sunday morning sessions. For details click on the “Join Us” tab at the top.

To apply, fill out the application (link on Applications to the right) and email to or mail as instructed on form. We’re looking forward to volunteering with you next year!

team planting tree

TreeStewards provide expertise and brawn to planting events.

Posted in Community Service, Education, Events

Give a Tree Book for the Holidays

books on shelf arranged to be a treeThe Christmas/Hanukah season has a strong connection to trees. Buying a stately Fraser fir or setting up the synthetic Christmas tree is standard operating procedure for many families at this time of year. Although it is less likely now, dreidels used to be made out of wood, as were many toys of the past. And how about “Over the river and through the WOODS to Grandmothers house we go?” Trees galore! So, how about a book on trees for the holidays, especially for someone who is beginning their journey into the natural world or on the other end of the spectrum for someone who has a deep interest and can’t get enough information? Here are a few Tree Stewards favorites to consider for the newbie tree aficionado or the seasoned veteran on your list.

Sibley bookThe all time go to book for tree lovers is “The Sibley Guide to Trees” by David Allen Sibley.  Sibley is best known for his books on birds and to help bird watchers he decided to write and illustrate a book on trees.  The book has become a classic.  Full of illustrations of trees, leaves. and fruit, it can help you identify many species both in the winter and the summer.

Nora Palmatier, TreeSteward’s president likes “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propogation and Uses” by Michael Dirr.  This is Nora’s go to book because it has information about every common tree and most of their cultivars.  Details that are hard to remember are what it specializes in: rate of growth, diseases and Insects, size, hardiness etc.  This is one tomb of a book (1330 pages), definitely for the serious tree student. If you are thinking of this, be sure and get the hard back copy if you go that route. The paperback copy is not as hardy (no pun intended) and if used too much will fall apart. It is now available on iPads but not on Kindles.

PeppermintWhat about for kids? There are many books introducing children to our natural world and listing all the books would be a book in itself. For something different Rod Simmons, Alexandria’s Natural Resource Specialist, suggests a lovely brand new children’s book, “Isabella’s Peppermint Flowers”. Young readers can learn about Virginia’s colonial history as well as key aspects of botany. The book is available from All profits will be donated by the author, Susan Leopold, to the Flora of Virginia Project

Locally we are very fortunate to have another newly published book “Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington D.C.” by Howard Youth. This is a beautiful book that not only shares information on local trees but wildlife (from the lowly earthworm to raccoons and deer), plants (even mushrooms) and birds. The book is beautifully illustrated with gorgeous prints that are frame worthy.

Native treesAnother one of our Tree Stewards, Bonnie Petrie, claims her favorite tree book is “Native Trees for North American Landscapes” by Guy Sternberg and Jim Wilson.  According to Bonnie the pictures in this book are “simply gorgeous”.  For someone who is simply seeking to satisfy curiosity that arises during a hike, this book is a winner.

And lastly if you’re looking for inspiration, try Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax.” Beth Bosecker (a 2014 Tree Stewards graduate) has a favorite quote from the book: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” This book inspired her when she was young to keep up her interest in nature and trees and it helped in her decision as a young person to move forward in her career as an environmental scientist, a master naturalist, and a tree steward.

The Lorax is an inspiration for all tree lovers

The Lorax is an inspiration for all tree lovers

Hope this scratches an itch and just so you know, I found all these books on either Amazon or ABE books.  Many, if not most, are available digitally as well.

Happy Reading,

TreeSteward Eileen Grant

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