Winter unmasks nature, revealing our local woody trees in their most skeletal form. Participants learned that while leaves have mostly fallen from our deciduous trees, there are many other reliable ways to identify trees in winter by observing the bare bones of plants – branching structure, bark, buds and leaf scars. Tree Steward Emily Ferguson especially emphasized bark as a way to identify our winter trees. The first hour was spent indoors going over what to look for to identify a tree in winter, then we went outside to apply what we had learned. Emily will offer her free class on Tree Identification in Spring on Saturday, April 11 at 9:30 at the Ivy Creek Natural Area’s Education Center. Visit our calendar to register when the course is posted.
On December 12, eight Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards and four members of the CATS class of 2019 tromped into the woods of Greenleaf Park and cleared some 100 trees of invasive vines. These included English ivy and its look-alike, winter creeper, a member of the bittersweet family, or Celastraceae. Wrapping up a year that included 30 projects across our community, this work was part of an ongoing effort by CATS to restore and maintain the natural character of one of Charlottesville’s most popular greenspaces. We encourage you to walk the loop trail at Greenleaf, for which the city has installed a new bridge across the creek that runs through the 14-acre park. And please make plans to join us in our projects in 2020.
Several Tree Stewards pruned trees recently along the JW Warner Parkway in Charlottesville. A team of six worked on a number of tree species having different growth habits and pruning needs. Tree Stewards assist Parks staff with pruning across the Charlottesville and Albemarle County areas – an important part of meeting our mission to support urban and rural forests. Winter is a good time to prune, since with the leaves off, it is easier to see the tree’s structure and make decisions about how pruning can improve the health and well being of the tree. Training on how to prune is available to the public at a free class at the Northside Library in Charlottesville on January 25th from 10:00 until noon. Visit our calendar to register for the session. The class will be followed by a field trip to put the principles covered in the class into practice on Saturday, February 12 from 10:00-noon (more details on this field trip will be provided at the class.) Come join us!