Alexandria Native Tree Planting a Success: November 5, 2011

TreeStewards and other volunteers plant a Northern Red Oak. Photo by R.H. Simmons/RPCA.

TreeSteward volunteers helped plant a total of 32 native trees characteristic of alluvial floodplain communities and mesic forest along Holmes Run were planted, including 12 Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), 6 River Birch (Betula nigra), 4 Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis), 4 Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), 3 Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana), and 3 Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor).

In addition, 18 large trees (2.5” cal. and 12-14’ tall) – 6 White Oak (Quercus alba), 6 Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea), and 6 Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica) – were planted by the Horticulture and Natural Resources Section of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities at Brookvalley Park (south side), All Veterans Park, and beyond to supplement plantings there.  Scarlet Oak, which prefers drier soils, was selected for the knoll at All Veterans Park.

The goal of the Holmes Run Native Tree Planting is to increase canopy cover, encourage a well-balanced riparian forest, and increase water quality by providing richness and abundance of species in the ecosystem surrounding the stream.  Numerous old-age trees grow along the Holmes Run stream valley in the City of Alexandria, from the eastern end of the Holmes Run Gorge at Dora Kelley Nature Park eastward across the broad floodplain and bottomlands in places like Brookvalley Park, Armistead Boothe Park, Ben Brenman Park, Tarleton Park, Clermont Natural Park, Cameron Run Regional Park (NVRPA),
and other areas.  Typical canopy species that reach great size and old-age
in alluvial floodplain communities along Holmes Run are: River Birch, Northern Red Oak, White Oak, Willow Oak, Pin Oak, Swamp White Oak, Bitternut Hickory, Sycamore, Sweetgum, and Green Ash.

This planting project and care of trees is a good example of TreeSteward volunteers partnering with Alexandria’s Office of Environmental Quality, Office of City Arborist, and Natural Resources Specialist Rod Simmons. TreeStewards thank you for including us in your efforts to care for our region’s tree canopy.

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