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.

Here are simple tips for this time of year:

1.      Allow leaves to remain on the ground instead of raking them.

2.      Water newly planted trees regularly throughout the winter months.

3.      Be alert for broken branches, prune before spring time.

4.      Wet heavy snow and ice like last winter can break limbs, especially on evergreens – but so can knocking it off with a broom! Gently push snow off using upward movements.

5.      Assess for structural pruning (remove competing central leaders, support healthy branches by removing competing subordinates, eliminate rubbing branches).

6.      Protect trees prone to winter burn with anti desiccant spray.

7.      Prevent sunscald on young or thin barked trees with trunk wrapping.

8.      Apply 3” of leaf mulch around each tree, but not touch tree bark.

9.      Consult the Extension Office Guide to Successful Pruning, Deciduous Tree Pruning Calendar (

10.  Tree service companies are looking for jobs this time of year so its a good time to prune larger mature trees. Always interview the company and demand to meet with a certified arborist when selecting a company.

For additional winter care tips, call the Arlington Master Gardener Hotline at 703-228-6414.

Written by Bill Anhut, TreeSteward for the Lyon Park Civic Associaiton

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Volunteer Training Class starts February 2, 2016

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 2 -April 12, 2016 7 – 9:30 PM at Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington. Class will also include three Saturday 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!

team planting tree

TreeStewards provide expertise and brawn to planting events.

Posted in Community Service, Education, Events

Christmas Tree Choices: Living, Cut, or Artificial

After 50 years of reuse and recycling, this artificial tree is green!

‘Tis the season in which many believe the holidays would not be complete without a decorated tree. For those who care about their own environmental impact, the good news is you can follow your traditional celebration with a clear conscious! Just remember the environmental golden rule to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle whatever your choice. Below are points to consider:

Artificial Trees create a larger carbon imprint at the beginning, yet with yearly reuse and not purchasing new models, this can be spread out over a long time.  The tree to the left is basically a wooden pole with green wire bristles from 1960 – so old it is now chic, and holds 50 years of family history. Continue reading

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Oct. 24, 2015: Tree Distribution Arlington

Over 400 trees were adopted and education was delivered to over 350 families on care of their new tree. It was wonderful to see the happy people and know trees would be well cared for!

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Winter Tree ID Presentation November 10, 2015

A hollytree with its red berries is easily identified by humans and birds when the ground is covered in snow.

A hollytree with its red berries is easily identified by humans and birds when the ground is covered in snow.

Arlington County Urban Forester Vincent Verweij gave a great presentation to TreeStewards last week on winter tree ID.  The entire presentation is available at


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Second Annual Alexandria City Tree Give Away

Happy new tree owner

I always wanted a Magnolia tree!

On Saturday October 10, 2015 The Tree Stewards of Arlington and Alexandria held their Second Annual Tree Give Away for residents of Alexandria City.  One hundred and five trees were offered for the reserve fee of $5.  Residents signed up online and came to the Del Ray Baptist Church to pick up their trees.

shade or canopy

Did we reserve a Red Oak or a Redbud?

labeled trees waiting for owners

Labeled, lined up and ready to go to a new home

the gang's all here

Tree Steward gang of volunteers








I pick this one

Dad, pick this one!



Participants were allowed a maximum of two trees (one canopy and one understory). Tree choices included Red Oak, Hornbeam, Magnolia, Gray Birch, Dogwood and Serviceberry among others. Only native species were selected for the give away and all the trees came from Octoraro Native Plant Nursery in Pennsylvania.

All trees were successfully picked up by their new owners, many of whom donated the $5 reserve fee back to Tree Stewards.

If you happened to be one of the recipients of a new tree, please send us a picture of you planting your tree.  Mail to Thank you.



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