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 help 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.
St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.
Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.
Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.
Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarA celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be held at 3 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 East Laburnum Ave. The event will include a one-act play written and directed by Tony Cosby, entitled "Put Down the Guns;” guest appearances by TV One's Pearline Muckelvene and The Coates Brothers; singer and J. Brown impersonator Oscar Fields; and a musical tribute to Gil Scott Heron. A light dinner will be served. Tickets are $20 and available by calling (804) 218-6970 or in person at the Gospel Bookstore, 4842 Laburnum Ave. Full text