Tree Stewards: A Good Time to Plant

Sep 27, 2013

Robin Hanes and Marjie Giuliano potting trees.
Credit Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards

Charlottesville’s Farmers Market will offer a surprising commodity this fall.  Between the pumpkins and mums, buyers will find 500 trees - part of a push to get people planting in autumn.

Robin Hanes is a tree commissioner in the city of Charlottesville , so it’s no surprise to find her promoting planting of trees - but it seems odd, as the leaves are falling, to find her putting trees in the ground now.   Most people do their planting in the spring, but Hanes says that’s not ideal .

The heat of summer is the hardest on a tree, and for them to be just put in the ground in the spring and then suddenly hit that heat - we  lose a lot more trees.

So she and other members of the Tree Stewards organization began plotting a fall event, and it turned out the state’s department of forestry was planning to destroy its leftover stock.  "I heard about that, and I went over and said, do you have leftover trees, and they said yes indeed, and I was thrilled at the variety of trees they had."

A Waynes boro company called Conservation Services also made a donation of hardwoods, so the stewards have spent their summer potting and tending about 500 trees.  They’ll go on sale in October  at the farmers’ market  for just five bucks apiece. 

Volunteers will be on hand to demonstrate  planting techniques, to talk about the best kind and size for customers yards, to explain how to use special guards that protect newly planted trees from deer and rodents, and to spread the gospel of growing trees.

"We just want trees in the ground.  There are so many developments going up, taking trees away.  There are more diseases and bigger storms, and yet trees are a huge benefit to us. They filter our water.  They hold back the stormwater.  They give us Oxygen and canopy - shelter from the heat," says Hanes.

Any leftovers from this enterprise will go to Habitat for Humanity and other non-profits.