In the garden

Gardening and landscaping advice from the Henrico Master Gardeners
In the wake of Hurricane Irene, people are dealing with downed trees and the damage they caused. Some are considering not replacing or taking down additional trees in their yards, but Henrico Extension Agent Karen Carter is telling people, “Don’t hate your trees!”

“Most of the trees that came down had compromised root systems,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important to select the right tree for the space you have and plant it properly.”

Before choosing a large Willow oak, look at the space where you want to plant. Utility wires or security lights nearby mean you may need to select something like a White fringetree (Chionanthus retusus) that will stay smaller and grow slower.

Fall is a good time to plant a tree.

The most important factors in the success of a new tree are proper planting and care during the first year.

Carter says the biggest problems she sees are trees that have been planted in holes that are too small and too deep.

“There’s a lot of truth in the old saying that it’s better to plant a $50 tree in a $100 hole than a $100 tree in a $50 hole,” says Carter.

The hole should be wide, at least two to three times the width of the root ball, and shallow, no deeper than the root ball. “Studies show at least half of the trees being planted are set too deeply,” she said. Find the top-most root and measure from it to the base of the root ball before you dig so the tree isn’t set too deep and rests on undisturbed soil.

“If I could only say one thing about planting a tree,” said Carter, “I’d say plant it at the right depth.”

Another hot button issue is using too much mulch. “I see mulch volcanoes around tree trunks,” says Carter, “And that is very, very unhealthy for the tree.” Mulch should be only 2” to 3” deep, applied in as broad a ring around the tree as practical, ideally to the drip line of the tree.

Henrico Master Gardeners involved in the Tree Smarts program will host free seminars about "Caring for an Older Tree" next week (Sandston, Oct. 25; Twin Hickory – Oct. 26 and Glen Allen – Oct. 27).

Pre-registration is requested at 501-5160.
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Community

Free children’s clothing for those in need

The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.

Local choral group seeks volunteers

Good Vibrations choral group is looking for all voices with some musical experience to sing with the volunteer choir. The season runs from August to November. Genre includes patriotic and inspirational. > Read more.
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Weekend Top 10


It’s a great weekend to get outside! The Pocahontas Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society is offering two events this weekend. Accompany the group to find and document native plants present and blooming in Echo Lake Park on Saturday or take a “Sunday Stroll” at Dorey Park to observe the seasonal changes taking place. Other outdoor events this weekend include the final summer concert at West Broad Village and “Fridays on the Patio” at James River Cellars Winery in Glen Allen. If you’re going to be outside, don’t forget the insect repellent! To learn more about avoiding those pesky mosquitos, check out Henrico County’s “Fight-the-Bite TODAY” event tomorrow. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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Crafters are wanted for the 26th annual Short Pump Ruritan Craft Show on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Short Pump Middle School, 4701 Pouncey Tract Rd. For an application, call 360-2371… Full text

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