Falls Church Village Preservation and Improvement Society Founded 1885
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Neighborhood Tree Program

The Neighborhood Tree Program is sponsoring 2 street tree planting events in cooperation with the City of Falls Church.  We need help planting more than 30 street trees across the City.

1. Street Tree Planting Saturday October 29 at 8:30 meet at Berman Park ( 200 Kent St. Falls Church, VAl)
2. Street Tree Planting Saturday November 19 at 8:30 meeting location TBD
In case of rain we will postpone a day to Sunday at 1pm

Participants should wear boots or heavy shoes, clothes that can get dirty and gloves.  We will provide tools and refreshments.

Please let me know if you plan to help so we know how much work to take on.   

Thanks for your help, 
Seth Heminway, Volunteer Chair  
Falls Church Neighborhood Tree Program
Tree Steward '12
cell 703 389 7360

Neighborhood Tree Program - Trees Soak Up Rainwater.  Even when they arent keeping us cool our shade trees are working hard, not only to absorb rainfall through their roots, but their roots are also loosening our compacted clay rich soil that enables rainfall to soak into the ground.  In Falls Churchs highly developed neighborhoods where stormwater run-off is damaging our streams, we need to make sure we save space for trees and take care of our newly planted and mature trees.  An easy way to help your trees stay healthy is by mulching them, which protects their roots from drying out and guards them from injury from lawn care equipment.  We recommend a 4 deep ring of ground wood chips or leaf mulch out to the the drip line (never pile it against the trunk).  As the mulch decomposes it enriches the soil while soaking up yet more moisture like a sponge.  As you maintain the trees and shrubs in your yard be sure to leave plenty of low branches to provide cover for birds and other wildlife.  

What can you do to help?  If you have room on your property or in the City right-of-way within 15 feet of the curb, request your free street tree by completing the request form (http://www.vpis.org/files/NTP_Application_2010.pdf) and submitting it to City Arborist Kate Reich (kreich@fallschurchva.gov) and Seth Heminway (heminway.seth@gmail.com).  Volunteer to help plant and care for trees. 

Falls Church City page on mulching: http://www.fallschurchva.gov/225/Mulching
Bay Friendly Landscaping Guide: http://www.fallschurchva.gov/documentcenter/view/377

Falls Church is losing too many large canopy trees, but don't dispair there is something you can do to help.  Come out and help your neighbors plant new street trees and take care of those we have.  Maintaining our tree canopy is a great investment that pays us back in many ways, namely, absorbing storm water and shading/cooling our neighborhoods.  We'll start at 8:30 with refreshments and a quick demonstration and then spread out and get to work.  We typically finish by noon.   Wear boots or heavy shoes, gloves and dirt friendly clothes.  Bring tools or use ours, we'll have extras.  Please let us know if you can make it - bring your friends.  
RSVP:  heminway.seth@gmail.com  (there is no "g" in my last name despite what your auto speller says)

Neighborhood Tree Program
The Neighborhood tree Program is a partnership between the City of Falls Church, the Village Preservation and Improvement Society and volunteers to help restore and maintain a healthy tree canopy.  Our focus is twofold.  First we strive to educate residents about the benefits of trees and to encourage them to take an active role in caring for trees.  Our second emphasis is on collecting donations to purchase and plant native shade trees near streets and sidewalks to cool our community and make it a more inviting place to walk, bike and interact with our neighbors.  Shade trees are planted within 15 feet of the curb, using volunteer labor coupled with logistical support form the City's tree professionals at no cost to the landowner.  Volunteers are needed.

Seth Heminway Volunteer Chair 
Neighborhood Tree Program

Request a Tree:   Use this application (link to NTPII Application) to request a free street tree(s).  Questions, contact the City Arborist at: arborist@fallschurchva.gov; phone: 703-248-5183.  To receive a tree you must
1. be a Falls Church City resident,
2. have room for a shade tree within 15 feet of the street,
3. not have interfering utilities, and
4. not be subject to a required landscaping plan.

During these events we'll start at a specific location with a demonstration and then spread out in teams to mulch and plant trees.  Wear, gloves, boots or heavy shoes and dirt friendly clothes.  We'll have light refreshments and extra tools on hand.  Bring your friends or community groups.  Kids must be chaperoned.  Events are generally rain or shine - if heavy rain is predicted - check with Falls Church Common Place or Seth Heminway.

Please let Seth Heminway know if you would like to volunteer.  

Seth Heminway, Volunteer Chair
Falls Church Neighborhood Tree Program
heminway.seth@gmail.com (there is no 'g' in last name)
H (703) 536-3049 Cell (703) 389-7360

The Neighborhood Tree Program is a partnership between the City of Falls Church, the Village Preservation and Improvement Society and volunteers to help restore and maintain a health tree canopy in the City by raising funds to purchase trees, educating residents and using contributed labor to reduce costs.Native shade trees are planted within 15 feet of the curb. NTP's volunteer labor coupled with the City's logistical support multiplies the City's ability to plant and maintain trees.

Our focus is two fold.  First we strive to educate residents about the benefits of trees and to encourage them to take an active role in caring for trees.  Our second emphasis is on planting native shade trees near streets and sidewalks to cool our community and make it a more inviting place to walk, bike and interact with our neighbors.  Through the program, citizen volunteers, with critical support from City professionals, plant trees all over the City of Falls Church at no cost to the landowner. Get a Free Tree.  Contact information below.


Why plant street trees?      
Falls Church's tree canopy continues to suffer loses as mature trees are removed for new development and from the impact of storms and disease. The Neighborhood Tree Program (NTP) is working hard to restore our urban tree canopy by planting street trees to shade sidewalks, streets and other pavement. NTP's top priority is planting native canopy trees (includes: oak, maple, tupelo, elm) that, when mature, provide shade to beautify, absorb run-off, provide wildlife habitat and of course cool our streets and sidewalks.  Healthy trees improve communities by making outdoor activities such as walking and bicycling more pleasant and they increase property value.  Investing in larger trees makes it much more likely the City will reach goals for re-establishing forest canopy set by Chesapeake Bay legislation.    

Where do we plant street trees? 
To avoid future problems (disease, space conflicts) we strive to plant the right tree in the right place.  In addition to planting trees in the City right-of-way (usually 10 feet from street for residences), NTP offers residents free trees for planting within 15 feet of the curb. By giving residents trees, planted by volunteers, on their private property NTP is planting trees where they have more space to thrive beyond the confines of the sometimes too narrow City right-of-way.  This means that our community enjoys healthier, more resilient trees that can withstand harsh weather.  

Photo by Gary Mester
How can I help? 
Help Plant Trees.  Join our planting events (2 Saturdays in the Spring and Fall) or help with other critical roles like communication, outreach, recruitment and fund-raising.   To keep informed of events contact Seth Heminway (heminway.seth@gmail.com (no "g" in last name)).

Donate Funds to purchase trees.  Donate at the City of Falls Church Farmers Market at the VPIS Booth, or by sending checks to VPIS PO Box 6824, Falls Church, VA 22046.  Checks should be made out to VPIS and marked "for the Neighborhood Tree Program."   

What kinds of trees are best for Falls Church?  

Attached is a list of tree choices that the NTP routinely plants and are readily available. Our first priority is to plant native shade trees when the location allows it in order to have the biggest benefit.  Shade trees that thrive in Falls Church include many species of oak such as red, white and willow oaks, tupelo (also called black gum) basswood, horn beam, red and sugar maples and elm.  Smaller understory trees may be appropriate for planting in locations with overhead utilities.   Because native species have evolved in our unique ecosystem they are more likely to thrive, they are most beneficial to wildlife and they do not require as much maintenance.  Though the City Arborist makes the final decision on what trees to plant based on space, soil conditions and tree availability, be sure to let us know if you have a preference. See our Tree List brochure and Choosing the Right Tree brochure and other resources:

NTP Brochures and Information:

- The City of Falls Church's NTP Webpage
- Selecting a Tree Care Provider (pdf)
- Choosing the Right Tree (pdf)
- How to Mulch a Tree (pdf)
- VPIS Tree List (pdf)
- NTP Phase II Application (pdf)
- Get a Tree Free

International Society of Arboriculture:  www.isa-arbor.com

National ArborDay Foundation:  www.arbordayfoundation.org

Tree Stewards:  www.treestewards.org

Virginia Cooperative Extension:  www.ext.vt.edu

Movie:  The NTP program is featured in the film Falls Church - Laying Down Roots made in March 2004.  The 30 minute long film about the City of Falls Church - and the Neighborhood Tree Program - is available for check-out from the Mary Riley Styles Library. 


Tree planting parties are held during the Spring and Fall.  Many thanks to all of you helping during our planting events.

Tree Care Basics
How much mulch do trees need?  

Trees should have a 3 to 4 inch thick layer of mulch out to the drip line.  The mulch helps to protect against mower and string trimmer injury, conserve moisture and add nutrients as it decomposes.   Mulch must not touch the tree  be sure that the flare at the base of the trunk is visible.  Mulch that is heaped against the tree is harmful because it traps moisture and causes disease that can kill the tree. See how to mulch brochure.

How much water does a tree need?

Trees planted by NTP have had most of their roots cut off which means that they are vulnerable especially for the first two years.  During dry weather it is important to water them with long soakings of approximately 15 gallons/2 weeks around the periphery of the hole.   Since over watering can kill a tree check the soil to see if watering is needed.

When is pruning beneficial? 

In general you should leave pruning to trained professionals.  The trees planted in the City Right of Way (City Trees) are pruned every 3 years by the City.   Pruning for trees planted on private land is the responsibility of the home owner.   There are some situations when you can help, for instance, remove broken branches or those that rubs against another.  Remove shoots that grow up around the base of the tree.   Always use sharp by-pass (2 blades) pruning shears or a saw.  The object is to allow the bark to cover the wound - trees seal - they don't heal.  

See http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_prune/cuts.htm

NTP Steering Committee Members:
- Seth Heminway, Chair
- City Arborist 
- Barry Buschow
- Jeff Peterson
- Tom Clinton
- Tom Kaye
- Vicki Tsaparas
- Keith Thurston

Thanks for your support!

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Contact Information

Village Preservation and Improvement Society
P.O. Box 6824, Falls Church, Virginia 22040