Recent News

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.


Recent News

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.

Recent News

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.