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

I look forward to seeing you on  April 26 at 114 S. Spring St. in Falls Church City.

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.

Volunteer: Spring 2014 Event Schedule

Wear: dirt friendly clothes, gloves and heavy shoes
Bring: garden claws, wheel barrows, hand pruners

3. Street Tree Planting Saturday April 26, 8:30-noon - 114 S. Spring St. in Falls Church City
4. Arbor Day Celebration Saturday April 26, 3 pm Frady Park @ N. Fairfax/Broad St

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 plan to attend  we don't need an iron clad commitment but we do need a general sense for how many volunteers to expect so we'll know how much work to take on.

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