I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Funny, when I was a child, drawing a tree, I liked to anchor my picture with a strong thick trunk supporting a bushy ball of green tree canopy. I did not draw branches, limbs or twigs. I see trees differently now. I am fascinated by muscular branches, the more horizontal the more remarkable. I look for branches that have been damaged but have new growth launched just prior to the die-back. I look for signs of how the tree was pruned, especially trees near power lines, where I marvel at the persistence of the tree to “lift its arms to pray.” I think the winter months are the best time to notice and appreciate our naked trees’ skeletons. Promise yourself a walk around the neighborhood comparing and contrasting the form of interesting trees, especially the mature oaks.
May I suggest walking to viewing several trees in the neighborhood that have received special recognition as Notable Trees or Champion Trees. By visiting Lyon Park, you can view two Champion Trees, Arlington County’s two largest White Ash trees, located in the north central area of the park. Our Notable Tree is the large Willow Oak located in front of the Community House entrance along the Northeast border of the park, the 4th largest Willow Oak in the County. Make sure you visit the other four locations with Notable Trees in the Lyon Park neighborhood listed below:
- 917 N Irving St., a huge Green Ash
- Corner of N Highland and 7th St., a Littleleaf Linden
- 902 N. Danville St., two huge red oaks, one each in the front and back yards
- 46 N Fenwick St., two huge white oaks, one each in the front and back yards
Our neighbors in Ashton Heights have eight Notable Trees:
- 630 N Irving St., Bigleaf Magnolia
- 520 N Irving St., Kentucky Coffetree
- 302 N Irving St., Blackjack Oak
- 812 N Ivy St., Green Ash
- 905 N Jackson St., Willow Oak
- 608 N Jackson St., Red Maple
- 3515 N 6th St., White Oak
- 3211 N 1st St., Willow Oak
The Notable Tree Program began in 1987 to identify and register Arlington’s outstanding trees. Trees are an important component of Arlington’s “green infrastructure” and help make Arlington a livable community. Mature trees not only beautify our neighborhoods, they also provide environmental and economic benefits such as helping to clean our air, reducing storm water run-off, and cooling our urban environment. Trees help to reduce the urban heat associated with pavement and dense development, and they also reduce summer cooling costs by shading our homes. The Notable Tree Program is a way to recognize and thank residents who maintain and preserve exceptionally significant trees. Since the program began, over 400 trees have been nominated for notable status and over 150 are currently on Arlington’s Notable Tree list.
How does a tree earn the distinction as an Arlington County Notable Tree? The tree must be very large or old, or its species is unusual for this area, or it has historical interest or have special significance to the neighborhood. The County accepts Notable Tree nominations up to December 15 each year. Winners of the designation are announced by the County Board in the spring season. The Notable designation is an honor. (Owners of Notable Trees do not qualify for tax breaks or maintenance by the county. Also, the “Notable Tree” designation does not give Arlington County any authority over trees on private property.)
For more information about the Notable Tree Program and the nomination process, go to