Teams of Tree Stewards were undaunted by chilly morning temperatures as they pursued two highly productive projects in mid-February. On Valentine’s Day, a crew of CATS put their heart into protecting young trees at Pleasant Grove Park in Palmyra. They made extensive repairs to tubes that shield the trees from deer and other browsers, and they cut back encroaching invasive species that threatened the trees and native habitat.
On Saturday, February 22, student volunteers from the APO service organization at U.Va. brought not only themselves but also some of their parents to help six Tree Stewards continue forest restoration efforts in Charlottesville’s Greenleaf Park. Student volunteers from Madison House also took part. Together, they made the adage “many hands make for light work” come true. They repaired the existing trail and mulched an extension to the park’s new bridge. Thanks to Allen Ingling’s expert use of chains, they were also able to move two six-foot logs to the edge of the walkway. In addition, the team removed a heavy infestation of vines and blackberry stumps to make way for the planting of native ferns, scheduled for this spring.
On February 1, 2020, cold fog gradually gave way to warmth and sunshine as a team of 18 Tree Stewards pruned young trees at the junction of McIntire Road, the U.S. 250 Bypass and the John W. Warner Parkway. Guided by CATS pruning instructor Tim Maywalt, the crew carefully removed dead and decayed material, branches that in time would obstruct visibility for drivers and pedestrians, and limbs that would likely fail as the trees mature. Trees that received beneficial trimming included river birches, American hornbeams, and swamp white oaks. The volunteers also liberated trees along Schenks Branch that were smothered in invasive vines. Check our calendar for future pruning excursions along the John W. Warner Parkway and other city streets.
Winter unmasks nature, revealing our local woody trees in their most skeletal form. Participants in our Tree Basics class in January 2020 learned that while leaves have mostly fallen from our deciduous trees, there are many other reliable ways to identify trees in winter by observing the bare bones of plants – branching structure, bark, buds and leaf scars. Tree Steward Emily Ferguson especially emphasized bark as a way to identify our winter trees. The first hour was spent indoors going over what to look for to identify a tree in winter; then we went outside to apply what we had learned. CATS Tree Basics classes are free, but registration is required. Visit our calendar for future offerings and registration information.