A Season to Plant Trees for All the Right Reasons

By Marcia Woolman Middleburg Life Outdoors Columnist | Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014 2:40 pm

March is usually the planting month for trees, but this year March was part of winter.

The tree planting activities have been moved to April with the hope that we don’t drown in the fields we are trying to plant. Yes, it has been an abnormal year, but some things never change and that is the need to continually plant more trees both in riparian buffers to protect our streams, and also on our own properties to replace some that die, or are cut down for construction.

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There also is a chemical reason to plant trees–the carbon transfer. Green trees take up the carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuels for heating and transportation. Translated into a sobering thought, think of it this way; have you planted a tree for every tree you’ve used in your lifetime? What a thought.

Many organizations are attempting to bring an awareness of the need to plant trees. The Goose Creek Association has a project called “The Goose Creek Challenge.” The goal is to plant riparian buffers along the creek and its tributaries, starting in the headwaters, to protect our water quality. Trees not only soak up much of the rainfall, but when we have excessive rain at one time, they provide a protective edge to keep water from flowing from fields where soil is loosened and capture it before it rushes into the stream and causes further erosion by its volume.

Right now, trees are being planted using volunteers, including area middle and high school students, along with the Soil and Water Districts that provide the professional knowledge and the native trees obtained through grants. The Goose Creek Challenge Fund also has money available for trees and shrubs in areas where stream bank erosion is an issue, and also welcomes donations for this fund as well.

Other organizations like the Arbor Society also provide free trees. If you wish to join the tree-planting effort, contact one of these organizations or the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a list of others. All our good work in this area affects the Bay, and all the water between here and there. We all live downstream.

Another source for trees is Wagenburg Farm in Middleburg, which produces field-grown, climactically adapted, native shade trees for conservation landscaping and habitat restoration. The farm grows species selected from historical lists for their adaptability, hardiness and transplant survivability. Larger trees are available in some species and all trees are field grown and acclimated to local soil and weather patterns.

“We specialize in native shade trees of the Eastern temperate forest,” said Michael Calley, manager of Wagenburg Farm. “Mostly oaks, maples, poplars, dogwoods, redbuds, etc. and some evergreens such as Southern Magnolias and Eastern Red Cedars. Our trees are growing in the field, in the native soil. After the first year, they are getting whatever moisture falls from the sky and they are dealing with the local insects without a lot of interference or inputs. All of our trees are unique individuals that have to be seen to be appreciated.

And finally, a closing thought on tree planting, from Thomas Fuller. It was brought to my attention by the Arbor Society.

“He who plants a tree loves others besides himself.” n

[Marcia Woolman is a local freelance writer and a Board member of the Goose Creek Association.]

Link to original Middleburg Life article

Posted on April 20th, 2014 in Featured, Goose Creek Challenge, News

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