A New Nursery for Our Trees

In October, the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards celebrated the completion of our new tree nursery on the grounds of the Virginia Department of Forestry at the Fontaine Research Park. This is where CATS will store and care for the trees we make available to the community at our twice-yearly tree sales. (Please mark your calendar for our next sale, May 2, 2020, on the lawn at Stonefield.) Surrounded by 220 feet of deer fencing, the facility is the result of a months-long design and assembly process carried out by more than 20 Tree Steward volunteers. Robin Hanes, who coordinated the project, expressed special thanks to Phil Stokes for mapping out the nursery’s specifications and for acquiring a fencing system that would meet our needs. She also gave a hearty shout out to Allen Ingling and Kathy Nepote for their leadership in the construction effort and for providing some of the nursery’s essential features, such as a gate that affords truck access and a large bin for storing potting soil. On the day of the move, CATS volunteers loaded up some 300 plants and hefty storage frames and transported them from our previous location at Grand View Nursery, owned by longtime Tree Steward Jay Gillenwater. We are all grateful to Jay for giving our trees a home for the past eight years, and we look forward to nurturing our young specimens at this new location.

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A Beautiful Workday in the Grove

Braving the fall chill on November 2, a volunteer team that included 20 U.Va. students, 10 CATS members, and 7 Tree Steward trainees took part in our annual workday at the Grove, a section of East McIntire Park where we have placed a variety of trees. Under project director Robin Hanes, the crew cleared the plantings of weeds, nourished them with healthy doses of compost from Panorama Farms, and blanketed them with a fresh layer of mulch. In addition to enhancing a special landscape in our community, this work will help our trees withstand whatever’s thrown at them by this coming winter.

Removing Invasives at Ragged Mountain

On October 26, CATS members participated in a large Charlottesville Parks and Recreation project to build trails and open the recent addition to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir area. Tree Steward Chris Gensic, the park and trail planner for the city, successfully competed for a grant from U.Va.’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega service organization to provide funds and volunteers for the project. With great enthusiasm, three CATS members joined 13 students to remove invasive plants, mostly autumn olive, from trailside areas. This is just the beginning of a multi-year commitment.