Arbor Day: A New Landmark Tree

On the eve of National Arbor Day, the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards designated the Post Oak at the historic Maplewood Cemetery as a Landmark Tree. This marks the 12th tree to receive this recognition as part of the CATS Notable Trees Project. The project celebrates exceptionally large and beautiful trees in the community that are in locations easy to find by the public. Standing near the corner of Lexington Avenue and Maple Street in downtown Charlottesville, the Landmark Post Oak towers over the weathered headstones and memorials in the walled cemetery. It was established as the city’s first public burial ground in 1827.

Robin Hanes, president-elect of CATS and founder of the Notable Trees Project, served as emcee of the event, which received front-page coverage in The Daily Progress. Among the speakers were Mark Ronayne, Charlottesville’s urban forester; Peggy Van Yahres, vice chair of the Charlottesville Tree Commission; and Tree Commission member Mark Rylander, who was among the CATS volunteers who recently worked to rescue the Landmark Tree from a heavy infestation of English ivy. CATS President Barbara White also was on hand and paid tribute to the vital role that such trees play in our community and its quality of life.

That morning, CATS leaders joined city and state officials at Charlottesville’s Walker School for an Arbor Day celebration. In addition to the reading of a city proclamation, the event included presentations by students on the beautiful and diverse array of trees on the school’s grounds. Molly O’Liddy of the Virginia Department of Forestry used the occasion to note that Charlottesville has once again earned designation as a Tree City USA—a 15-year run. For more details, take a look at this C-ville Quick Takes video. And check out this VDOF video from 2020 to learn more about Arbor Day and Virginia’s native trees.

On a related note, a recent article by Erika Howsare in C-Ville Weekly provides a guide to the six Notable Trees that City Council voted in April to add to those protected by Charlottesville’s Tree Conservation Ordinance. Among them is the landmark Post Oak at Maplewood Cemetery. You can find her story here.

National Arbor Day is held the last Friday in April, but the Charlottesville Tree Commission and CATS board decided to celebrate a day earlier this year because students at Walker School could not participate on Friday due to their Covid schedule.