Tree Pruning for Beginners.
In early February Tree Stewards delivered training to thirty area residents on tree pruning. The class included a lecture and demonstration. Later in the month members of the class joined a group of tree stewards for hand-on experience at Schenk’s Greenway, a small park in Charlottesville. Class members pruned trees planted two years ago with the guidance of experienced Tree Stewards as the final step in becoming familiar with the principles, techniques and tools used to keep trees healthy through pruning.
Volunteers Clear Wood Edge at Jackson-Via.
On Saturday February 23rd, a dozen volunteers from UVA’s Alpha Phi Omega Coed Service Fraternity and local residents, under the leadership of a group of Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, cleared invasive plants from the lovely expanse of woods behind Jackson-Via Elementary School. The trees and shrubs were being strangled by non-native invasive plants and debris to the point where school students were unable to enjoy their trails at all. After a morning in the rain, the group has opened the wooded area for all to explore and appreciate. Dina Fricke, Assistant Principal, commented, “Thanks so much for all your hard work and effort! The Owl Meadow and the edges of the woods look fantastic!”
Ragged Mountain Reservoir Natural Area. C.A.T.S. Invasives Removal Workday
On a beautiful and very mild, sunny day, 3 volunteers and 13 C.A.T.S. members gathered at the upper parking lot at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir just west of town for a three-hour work project. After a bit of snacks and fellowship, we all clambered into 3 – four wheel drive vehicles and caravanned behind Chris Gensic’s C’ville Parks & Rec SUV for a one-mile plus trek on the rough fire road around the reservoir to a turn-around location. There, we unloaded, and with tools in hand began a 1/4 to 1/2 mile hike to the worksite on the far side of the reservoir.
The plan was to remove autumn olive that had heavily invested the southern aspect of a small valley from a foot bridge up to the water tunnel/pipe that carries water from the Sugar Hollow Reservoir to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. We broke up into 3 or 4 small groups and began to lop off and saw down any autumn olive shrubs. Chris demonstrated how we would accurately identify the correct plants, and then gave us flags to identify the stubs left after cutting. Since it is a city reservoir, the use of herbicides is very restricted. Because only he was certified, Chris followed behind our groups and sprayed the stubs with herbicide and picked up the flags, and then the cycle repeated as we leap-frogged each other to the tunnel. We spent two plus hours bushwhacking the autumn olive in addition to the driving/walking time. Of course, there were cookies and snacks to keep us fortified!
It was a memorable time to work together in a beautiful setting on a gorgeous day. Thanks, Project Committee, for scheduling this on a great-weather day. Please consider joining us in the future whenever a workday is scheduled. We were truly experiencing the deep satisfaction of being stewards of the tree canopy in this part of our glorious planet.