In the garden
Choosing the right tree
Fall is the ideal time to plant a new tree. The right tree planted in the right place on your property can give you years of pleasure and enhance your property’s value should you decide to sell your home. The key is to make sure you choose the right tree for the place you want to plant.
“Begin with a site analysis,” says Henrico Extension Agent Lisa Sanderson. “The principles are much the same for any landscape design project.”
Start with the soil. It’s helpful to know the pH of your soil, so you may want to do a soil test. Remember that Henrico residents can get two free soil tests each year. Soil test kits are available at Henrico public libraries and at the Extension Office.
Look, too, at the texture of your soil. Is it clayey, loamy, or sandy? Is it compacted? And how well does it drain?
“You need to know what you’re dealing with,” says Sanderson. “Some trees like a tupelo can tolerate poor drainage, and some can’t.”
The climate in our area is another consideration. Henrico is in USDA Hardiness Zone 7 where the average extreme minimum temperature is 0-10 degrees Fahrenheit and in American Horticultural Society Heat Zone 7 where the temperature exceeds 86 degrees Fahrenheit from 60 to 90 days each year.
“Lots of trees will do really well in our area,” says Sanderson, “but some do better with our climate than others. River Birch, for example, seems to do better than White Birch in our climate.” Sunlight is another important factor. Not all trees do well in bright sun. Local favorites such as dogwoods, red buds, and sourwoods usually prefer a shadier location near the edges of forests or other stands of trees.
“It never fails,” says Sanderson. “People love dogwoods, and they plant them right in the middle of their yards where they get full sun and then wonder why they don’t do well.”
Trees need about an inch of water each week during the first year “establishment period,” so making sure you have access to water either with an existing irrigation system or a convenient water hose can save a lot of work.
And, of course, trees grow so you need to have enough space not only for the size of the tree today but to accommodate how large it will be in a decade. If you’re putting your tree near existing trees, you’ll also need to consider how large those trees are going to get, and make sure you have enough space to accommodate the needs of all the trees in your yard.
The other trees in the area that are doing well can serve as “indicator plants” to help you assess the conditions in your yard and choose a tree that will do well there.
Good checklists for accessing your site are available online and the Virginia Cooperative Extension has an excellent publication, “Problem-free Trees for Virginia Landscapes” on it’s website, http://www.ext.vt.edu to he,lp you choose the trees that best suit the space you have to plant. And you can call Lisa Sanderson at the Henrico Extension Office at 501-5160.
The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.
The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)
The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.
For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.
The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.
The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.
Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.
Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise
Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.
They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.
As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.
Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.
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