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.
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.
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.