Working to Restore the American Chestnut.
Three Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards participated in a recent effort to treat chestnut seedlings with chestnut blight fungus. This is done to help develop a strain of the chestnut that will be resistant to the blight that wiped out this magnificent tree starting in the early years of the twentieth century. The chestnut was prized for its wood and its generous crops of nuts and was considered by many to be “the most valuable tree in the country.”
The American Chestnut Foundation and the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards worked together on this inoculation program under the supervision of the Virginia Department of Forestry at the New Kent Forestry Center in Providence Forge, Virginia on Friday, July 20, 2018. The intent of the program is to re-establish the American Chestnut tree in its native range in the woodlands of eastern North America.
Sixteen hundred chestnut seedlings were treated by sixteen volunteers, including the three Tree Stewards. The stems of the chestnut seedlings were inoculated with chestnut blight fungus and will be inspected over the upcoming months to help identify the most resistant families of seedlings in the breeding program.
The photo shows Tom Wild, who is a member of the American Chestnut Foundation and a certified Tree Steward.
Potting up young trees for CATS’s Fall 2018 sale.
One dozen CATS volunteers braved a rainy day to pot 235 whip trees at our nursery on the grounds of the Grand View Nursery, on Tuesday, May 22, from 9-12:00. The young trees will be part of the Fall Tree Sale scheduled for Sat. Oct. 13 at Tufton Farm.
CATS Spring Tree Sale.
After a week of threatened rain, the sun came out on a beautiful day at the CATS Spring Tree Sale at IX Art Park on Sat. May 5 from 10 – 2:00.
Our volunteers helped prospective customers select the best tree for the right place in their environment, answering lots of questions and giving advice. Happily, 313 trees and shrubs found their way into the canopy of Charlottesville after this great event.
Tree Stewards lead tree walk at Ben-Coolyn Estate.
During Historic Garden Week on April 22, a group of experienced Tree Stewards led garden walks throughout the day at the Ben-Coolyn estate in Keswick. Large oaks surround the 1870s main house, built on the site of the original late 18th-century home of James Clark. The 145-acre farm is part of what was originally known as Clark’s Tract, which dates back to the 18,000-acre Meriwether Land Grant of 1730. The previous owners, Ann and Peter Taylor, spent several decades restoring and developing the park-like grounds and gardens. They created an arboretum in the old front hayfield, with hundreds of high and low canopy trees, and planted many native trees, including 176 willow oaks along the driveways as well as a vast array of deciduous flowering magnolia cultivars and crosses. Tree Stewards identified the major trees around the house and gardens and prepared this map of the trees nearest to the house. For other tree walks led by Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, see “Take a Class or Tree Walk” on this website.
Here is a link to the Ben Coolyn Estate Tree Map.
“Beyond the Sidewalk” Talks.
On March 22, Jill Jonnes, author of Urban Forestry, and Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix, spoke to a capacity crowd at the Department of Forestry as part of the Virginia Festival of the Book. This session was organized by Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards and supported by our volunteers. Jill Jonnes described high points in the development of greater understanding of the value of trees in urban environments. Florence Williams summarized some of the scientific research on the health benefits of connecting with nature and spending time outdoors.
CATS and APO volunteer at James Monroe’s Highland.
In February and March 2018, Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards completed three work days at Highland to remove invasive English ivy from the boxwoods and front entrance, as well as some invasive trees, such as mimosa and ailanthus. On two of the days they were joined by student volunteers from UVA’s Alpha Phi Omega chapter. The CATS and APO volunteers removed several truckloads of ivy and twig debris to help preserve the boxwoods and the beauty of Highland’s grounds. Tree Stewards are conducting quarterly tree identification walks at Highlands. For more information on the walks, see “Take a Class or a Tree Walk” on the CATS website.