Tree Stewards Partner With TD Bank For More Tree Planting

TD Planting Day

TD Bank employees and Tree Stewards planted 30 trees at Tarleton Park on October 15, 2013

Tree Steward volunteers will be joined by employees from TD Bank on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at Dora Kelly Nature Park in Alexandria to participate in TD Tree Days, a cooperative effort to plant new trees in local communities in need.

Volunteers will plant over 30 trees at Chambliss Crossing in Dora Kelly Nature Park. This location lost tree canopy during the restoration of the bridge over Holmes Run.

“This is a fantastic project for Tree Stewards! Not only do we get to help reforest an important part of the ecosystem along Holmes Parkway, but we also get to share our knowledge of trees with the committed TD Bank volunteers,” said Tree Steward President Kate Donohue.

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Welcome to

Registration for our 2017 training session is now closed. Follow us on Facebook or check back here for details on the next session.

This Deodor cedar (Cedrus deodara) located near the Arlington House dwarfs TreeSteward in it's shade.The Tree Stewards of Arlington and Alexandria take a love of trees and put it into action by training volunteers and organizing events to improve our urban forests and make our community brighter. We educate our neighbors on tree care, provide direct assistance, and act as effective advocates for our local tree canopy. Want to join us? To become a Tree Steward you don’t need to be a scientist or arborist or forestry professional (though some of us are). All it takes is a love of trees and a desire to get involved.

  • We volunteer with local city and county arborists to plant, prune, water, mulch, and monitor street trees, trees on school grounds, and trees in the parks.
  • We educate the community at farmers markets and at special events such as Earth Day, Arbor Day, and Neighborhood Days.
  • We find resources and develop materials for specific educational campaigns, such as the very successful Take Ivy Off Trees project.
  • We advocate for trees through appointments to the Arlington and Falls Church Urban Forestry Commissions, on Alexandria’s Environment and Parks Committee, as well as our own civic and condo associations, HOAs, and church groups.
  • And so much more!

Interested in learning how to recognize emerald Ash borer? How to tell the difference between a Northern Red Oak, a Southern Red Oak, and a Scarlet Oak? Where to find trees that may be local, state, or even national champions? Do you enjoy spending time with fun-loving tree huggers? If so, then consider becoming a Tree Steward — as our T-shirts attest, “We Stand Up for Trees!”

Information on the next training session is available here. Also be sure to check out our calendar of events and Like us on Facebook.

-Kate Donohue, President, Tree Stewards of Arlington and Alexandria

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Watering Young Trees = SUCCESS

West side with no tree shade

West side leading to playground with no morning shade in 2013.

October 2013 was just the first step in reforesting Tarleton Park in Alexandria.  TD Bank employees under the guidance of TreeSteward volunteers planted 30 trees – and provided enough funds for weekly summer watering for two years. You can read about the event in the following blog post. Thanks to the support of the neighborhood and TS Bonnie Petry who coordinated the watering,  these young trees are thriving. In July 2016, TreeStewards toured the park to record the growth of trees.  Check out the before and after photos!

Open field with no tree shade

Wide open field with no trees in 2013.

Field with 14 young trees present with TS Bonnie and assistant

TS Bonnie Petry with neighborhood assistant. July 2016 view — count how many trees with watering bags are now present.

River birch now 12 feet high from 5 ft in 2013

playground with young trees


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TD Bank Makes Long Term Investment in Trees

TD Bank employees and TreeStewards planted 30 trees at Tarleton Park on October 15, 2013

TD Bank employees and TreeStewards planted 30 trees at Tarleton Park on October 15, 2013

On October 15, 2013, twenty-five TD Bank employees with the guidance of TreeSteward volunteers planted 30 trees in Tarelton Park, Alexandria, Virginia. But this was only the “initial deposit” of their long term investment. TD Bank works with the Alliance for Community Trees to not only put trees in the ground, but to also partner and strengthen the capacity of local groups. They helped TreeStewards with a grant that allowed purchase of the young saplings and to purchase shovels, gloves, rakes, wheelbarrows, hoses, etc. for ongoing tree planting events. They further “insured their investment” by requiring and funding two years of watering for the young trees.

TD Bank volunteers used pickaxes on the rocky ground, hauled water long distances, and worked unceasingly.

TD Bank volunteers used pickaxes on the rocky ground, hauled water long distances, and worked unceasingly.

It was a perfect event due to the support of so many partners: TD Bank gave the funding and willing hands for planting, Alliance for Community Trees shared it’s expertise in planning for such events, Kramer Equipment arranged all the tools at a significant discount, Clear Ridge Native Nursery provided excellent trees, the neighborhood association president let us hook into his water line for the planting day and Alexandria Natural Resources Division got permission for planting in Tarleton Park.

Final quality check: mulch away from trunk, guard on to prevent weed wacker damage, ties loose to allow strengthening trunk. A well planted tree!

Final quality check: mulch away from trunk, guard on to prevent weed wacker damage, ties loose to allow strengthening trunk. A well planted tree!

The residents who use the park (humans, squirrels, raccoons, birds, and so on) will now have shade during the hot day and lots of food from the River birches, Sweet gums, Swamp white oaks, Pin oaks, American hornbeams, White oaks, Northern red oaks, and Butternut hickories that were planted.

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How to Select an Arborist or Tree Service Company

TreeStewards are often asked by the community for a referral for a good arborist or tree service company to diagnose problems and service trees.  While the TreeStewards do not recommend specific companies, we do provide advice for selecting a good service.

Above all, we recommend contacting a certified arborist working with a bonded and insured tree company.  Here is a step-by-step for selecting and contracting with an arborist:

(1)    Search for an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist. To find one, put in your zip code and search within 25 miles. Over 100 names will appear. Select several and call or email describing your need. This is especially important if you want to treat your ash trees against Emerald Ash Borer; you want an arborist who has done this work before.

(2)    Schedule meetings at your home with at least two or more certified arborists. Certified arborists carry their license on their person, so don’t hesitate to ask to see it. Ask if a certified arborist will be supervising the actual work, and if not, inquire about the training and experience of the work foreman. Use that knowledge as a factor in your decision.

(3) Reach an agreement on the scope of the work to be performed and obtain a written estimate. Ask for referrals and take time to follow-up and make the calls.  Always get a second opinion.

(4)    When you have selected a tree service, try to schedule the work when you are home and available to meet with the crew prior to the start of the work. Talk with the arborist or the crew chief or foreman who will supervise the work.  Be sure to review the scope of the job with the foreman to ensure there are no misunderstandings.  If anything concerns you, insist on speaking with the certified arborist who estimated the job.

You want the best service for your trees.  Reputable firms do not want dissatisfied customers.  Reminder:  Ensure that you obtain written estimates from at least two arborists. Communicate often and well with the company and give them a chance to make corrections if you are not satisfied with the work.  For more information on selecting an arborist,

(Adapted from an article originally written by TreeSteward Bill Anhut for the Lyon Park Citizens Association newsletter, November 2009).

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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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