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Right Tree, Right Place Right NOW Elizabeth Rives Arlington-Alexandria County Tree Steward Barcroft School and Civic League Meeting October 6, 2005

Why Plant Trees?: 

Why Plant Trees? Provide shade Decrease energy costs Reduce storm-water runoff and flooding Improve air & water quality Improve health & well-being Reduce noise levels Provide privacy Increase property values Increase community pride

Why Plant Trees Now?: 

Why Plant Trees Now? “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is now.” – Anonymous

Tree Selection Considerations: 

Tree Selection Considerations Site Conditions Planting Objectives Character Shade Diversity Aesthetic Maintenance Special Characteristics Growth factors Form & character Leaves, flowers, fruit, bark Soil requirements Other environmental factors – hardiness, light requirements Availability

Tree Heights & Spacing: 

Tree Heights & Spacing Small: Min. 8-10’ from wall of 1-story building (6-8’ from corner) Medium: Min. 15’ from wall of 1-story building (12’ from corner) Large: Min. 20’ from wall of 1-story building (15’ from corner)

Medium to Tall Trees: 

Medium to Tall Trees Over 30’ Tall and Wide Shade, Screening Views, Large Lawn Areas Issues if Too Close to Buildings Medium to Large Trees

Red Maple Acer rubrum: 

Red Maple Acer rubrum Native Medium – fast 40 – 60’ tall


Fall Color Comparisons Few Pests Soil Tolerant Many Cultivars Red Maple


Red Oak Quercus rubra 60-75’ Native FAST!


Red Oak Forms

Black Gum (Tupelo, Sour Gum) Nyssa sylvatica: 

Black Gum (Tupelo, Sour Gum) Nyssa sylvatica Native Slow – Medium Growth 30-50’ Tall Vivid Fall Color


Pyramidal in youth Flat-topped and rounded when older Black Gum Forms


Hornbeams Mostly pest free/pest tolerant Slow – Medium Growth (30’ Tall) Adapted to Shade (C. caroliniana) Harder to Transplant


American Hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana


European Hornbeam Carpinus betulus


Hop Hornbeam Ostrya virginiana

Small to Medium Trees: 

15-30’ Tall Patios, Townhouse Gardens, Front Doors Under Power Lines Small to Medium Trees


Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa

Kousa Dogwood: 

White or pink Blooms longer and later (June) 20-30’ Interesting fruit Slow – Medium Growth Pest free Kousa Dogwood


Dogwood Anthracnose Symptoms


Medium - Fast 20-30’ high and wide Native Redbud Cercis canadensis


Yellow in Fall ‘Forest Pansy’ – Excellent Purple-Leaves


Serviceberry Amelanchier canadensis


Fruit for Birds Native Excellent in Fall Minimal Pests Average Soil

Other Honorable Mentions: 

Other Honorable Mentions Gingko Biloba: Male only; showy yellow fall color Common Hackberry: Native, tolerates heat, wind, alkaline soil and urban pollution. Good replacement tree for American Elm American Elm: Princeton, Valley Forge, Liberty varieties Dutch Elm disease resistant; great urban tree Golden Raintree: Bright yellow fall color, showy yellow flowers in summer; adaptable to poor soils, compacted soils, various soil pHs, pollution, heat, drought, and urban stress in general American Yellowwood: Tough; few pests; lemon-yellow fruit in fall; striking specimen tree

Other Honorable Mentions: 

Other Honorable Mentions Washington Hawthorn: Very adaptable to poor, dry, compacted soils; Winter King green hawthorn (Crataegus viridis) variety more disease resistant Crape Myrtle: Long summer bloomers in several colors; many varieties with interesting bark Red Buckeye: Showy, red flowers in spring; good for small areas Sweet Bay Magnolia: Native evergreen to semi-evergreen; moderate to rapid growth; creamy white flowers with lemon scent from late spring to late summer; bright red seeds; tolerates wet feet White Fringetree: White, fragrant flowers; multi-stem, 20’x20’; great near streambeds


Tree Planting Guidelines Dig hole width 2-3x size of root ball; depth of root ball 2” above grade; 45° sloped, scarified sides; BETTER TO PLANT TOO HIGH THAN TOO LOW!!

Tree Planting Guidelines: 

Tree Planting Guidelines Never lift or jerk the tree by its trunk when moving; Remove burlap; at least 1/3 of wire basket AFTER placing in hole; Backfill (you can amend soil, but not too much); Water (15-20 gals.); Mulch – 2-3” but AWAY from trunk/root flare

Top Causes of Young Tree Failure: Mostly Human: 

Top Causes of Young Tree Failure: Mostly Human Planting Too Deep Improper Species Selection Poor Site Preparation and Drainage Lack of Watering Planting Non-Hardy Tree Stock Poor Care in Nursery and in Shipping/Handling

Top Causes of Tree Root Problems: 

Top Causes of Tree Root Problems Planting Too Deep Excessive Mulch Piled Over Root Collar or Flare Damage by equipment (mowers, trimmers, excavating, trenching)

You Too Can Be a Tree Hugger: 

You Too Can Be a Tree Hugger

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