Spring Projects Keep CATS Busy

The Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards have taken advantage of the great spring weather and have pursued projects across the community.  In all of this work, our aim has been to improve both the health and the aesthetics of each site.

At Charlottesville’s Jackson-Via Elementary School, where we have been working for months to remove invasive vines and shrubs, we returned to the grounds on April 3 to plant trees in the places we have cleared. A few days later we were back at Jackson P. Burley Middle School on Rose Hill Drive to continue the removal of invasive vines and other vegetation that threaten trees on the campus, particularly along a creek adjacent to the school’s playing fields. The CATS team followed up with further work on April 26.

On April 23, our volunteers pruned trees that CATS had planted over the years for the Gateway Project, along the Route 20 entrance corridor into Charlottesville near the I-64 interchange. Later, on May 7, a small but valiant crew of CATS went back into Charlottesville’s Northeast Park to continue the removal of English ivy that is overwhelming the park’s trees.

May 9 found CATS at our tree nursery adjacent to the Virginia Department of Forestry, where we potted more than 200 one- and two-year-old trees for future sale to the public.  On May 19, CATS volunteers could be seen at the Ivy Creek Natural Area. Their mission: weed and mulch plantings our organization had put in place over the years around the Bird Viewing Area. On May 25, more weeding and mulching were in store for CATS working at Greenleaf Park, where we did some spring cleaning around beds of ferns we had placed there earlier.

Here’s a photo gallery of some of our recent projects.

As traffic whizzed by on Route 20, CATS pruned trees we had planted earlier for the Gateway Project.

CATS volunteers continued an ongoing effort to clear English ivy and other invasives from trees at Jackson Burley Middle School.

At our nursery adjacent to the Virginia Department of Forestry’s headquarters, a CATS crew potted more than 200 trees for future sale to the public.

At the Ivy Creek Natural Area, CATS volunteers cared for plantings and improved the view around the Bird-Viewing Area.

A CATS team spruced up fern beds and other plantings at Greenleaf Park.

A Can-Do CATS Saves Trees at CHS

While walking her dog past the grounds of Charlottesville High School, one of our most active Tree Steward volunteers couldn’t help but notice a problem: a pair of trees covered with invasive English Ivy. After getting permission from the school, she made it a personal project to save the trees. She cut the vines around the base of each trunk, leaving the ivy above to die and eventually fall away. If she had pulled down all the ivy, chunks of bark would have come with it, making the trees more vulnerable to pests and diseases. This dedicated CATS member continues to keep an eye on the trees and finds it quite satisfying to see the ivy begin to break down—one victory against a pervasive threat to Charlottesville’s urban forest. She also has spied other trees on the CHS campus that need her help, and she has added them to her to-do list.

CATS Spring into Action in March

March was a busy month for Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, as we pursued projects across the community. On March 11, our volunteers gathered on the grounds of the Virginia Department of Forestry at the Fontaine Research Park to perform pruning and other maintenance on trees in the CATS Arboretum. That same day, CATS also potted young trees and added them to our nursery, also on the VDOF grounds. We look forward to offering these trees for sale to the public when conditions allow.

A clear, crisp March 20 found CATS in The Grove, a section of McIntire Park where we have planted new trees and worked to clean up existing stands. In addition to pruning and weeding, this ongoing effort includes liberating trees overtaken by vines and removing unwanted invaders, such as Callery Pear trees. On March 25, we brought our their loppers and handsaws to Berkmar Drive, where we pruned a variety of young trees along the roadway. The following day, CATS took another swing at the English ivy and other invasive vines that have overwhelmed trees in Northeast Park, a greenspace north of the U.S. 250 Bypass between Park Street and Locust Avenue. This is an uphill battle that requires much more work, but we are making progress.

At the CATS Arboretum and Nursery at VDOF 

In The Grove at McIntire Park

Pruning on Berkmar Drive 


Ivy removal at Northeast Park