Limbing Up, Tying Up at the Casey Trees Farm

Three Tree Stewards of Arlington and Alexandria were among 10 volunteers who staked and pruned 1,000 saplings at the Casey Trees Farm near Berryville, Va., on June 30th.

Tree Stewards Jo Allen, Kate Donohue and Don Walsh snipped lower limb s from saplings at the Casey Trees Farm.

Tree Stewards Jo Allen, Kate Donohue and Don Walsh snipped lower limbs from saplings at the Casey Trees Farm with other volunteers. Photos: Casey Trees

The pruning was not the usual structural pruning that Tree Stewards perform on young trees to help them grow big and strong. The saplings at the 750-acre farm were two and three years old and needed to have their small, lower limbs removed so they would develop more robust canopy. As farm manager Todd Woodfield explained, “These are not pruning cuts you have to think about or agonize over. Just prune the trunks up about two feet.”

After completing pruning of several long rows of saplings, volunteers trekked to another field on the rolling farmland to limb up slightly older saplings and then began tying the leaders of each tree securely to tall stakes so that the trunk would grow straight and tall.

Todd Woodfield, right, demonstrates how to tie a tree's leader to a stake.

Casey Trees Farm manager Todd Woodfield, right, demonstrates how to tie a tree’s leader to a stake.

Once the trees reach planting size in a few years, they will be dug up in their root bags and transported to the District of Columbia to help replenish the urban forest. Woodfield said the farm’s goal is to eventually raise enough trees to supply the needs of the District, Casey Trees and, if possible, other non-profit urban reforestation projects on the East Coast.

Volunteers secure saplings to stakes so the trunks will grow straight.

Volunteers secure saplings to stakes so the trunks will grow straight.

About TreeStewards

TreeStewards of Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, are trained volunteers who work to protect, preserve, and enhance urban tree canopy through public education and volunteer activities such as planting, pruning, and caring for trees.
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