It’s a little surprising how much damage a quarter inch of ice can do, but many evergreens are reaching the end of their normal life span, and fragile branches that snap off under the weight of ice and snow are one example of that fragility.
With higher temperatures forecast this week, now would be a good time to assess the health of trees and shrubs on your property, and clean up tree debris from the storm.
Making an appointment now for a spring session with an arborist or tree service also is a good idea. Fairfax County provides helpful information about tree care and hiring an arborist, as well as other tree-related issues, on-line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/environmental/trees.htm.
Did you buy a live tree to decorate and enjoy during the holidays? Planning to plant it outdoors later? Good idea, but one that takes a little advance planning and preparation to be successful. Of four live holiday trees our family purchased years ago, only one – a lovely white pine – survived. It’s now 30 feet tall, but all the others died within months of being planted. A little help from today’s web site might have ensured success decades ago.
Tree canopy now covers more than 40 percent of Fairfax County; in fact, some new technological measurements estimate an even higher canopy. The goal is to have two million more trees planted to meet a 30-year canopy goal established by the Board of Supervisors, but that means more trees will have to be planted on residentially owned properties.
The community already plants about 21,000 new trees every year; that average needs to go up to 83,740 trees to meet the goal. Trees must be planted correctly, in the right spot, and maintained. Trees native to Virginia, naturally, will do better, and are highly recommended. Check the on-line guide for more specific guidance. Another resource is Scott Pearson’s Beginner’s Guide to Trees. Scott is the Mason District representative to the Tree Commission, and his handy, sensible guide about planting new trees and maintaining existing ones is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I was a little girl, my father would spend the winter pouring over seed catalogs and planning the next year’s garden. He wasn’t a farmer, but he did take great pride in planting new varieties – irises, bachelor’s buttons, and roses – in the yard.
Going through his papers after he died, I found painstakingly detailed sketches of his plans, which I never appreciated until recently. Wintertime gives us the opportunity to plan for the coming spring, but often it gets lost in the cacophony of our daily lives. The planning slips, suddenly it’s spring, Easter is upon us, and we wonder where the time went.
A little planning and preparation now, and we might just contribute to that increase in the tree canopy for our children and grandchildren.
Now there’s a good New Year’s resolution!
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at email@example.com.