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July 2022 Update

Nature by Design is still selling plants

Various issues have delayed their relocation into a permanent location. In the meantime, they are eager and able to sell their plants. Give them your order, and they will give you three options:

· Free delivery inside the Beltway (in Northern Virginia)

· Delivery with a fee outside the Beltway in Northern Virginia

· Pick up at the Four Mile Run farmer’s market, Sundays 9am – 1 pm.

Short article to share

Please see this month’s article on protecting yourself and your trees from heat at the bottom of this page and post it in newsletters and social media.

Prince William Summer Wildflower Garden Tour this Saturday

July 30, 9am- 1 pm

Help at fairs

We are looking for volunteers the 8/6 4-H Fair and the 9/24 Latino Festival. Please sign up here.

Doug Tallamy is coming (virtually)! September 25. His talk will be followed by a panel presentation by local experts about the resources available in Northern Virginia for translating inspiration into action. Register here. Most importantly, invite your friends who have not yet heard the message!

Become a Master Naturalist

Fairfax: Applications for the fall 2022 basic training class of Fairfax Master Naturalists are open. Apply soon – the process is one of rolling admissions.

Arlington/Alexandria: Applications are open through August 3.

Prince William: Applications due August 1. Email for details.

Loudoun: Applications have closed. Stay tuned for next year.


We haven’t ventured into the world of TicTok yet but recognize its potential to reach new audiences in our quest to truly change the landscaping culture. Want to help? We’ll need some enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers. Email

Thanks to Andre Passos, owner of The Grounds Guys, we now have an 8 minute video introducing tree rescuing.

· Spanish version:

· English version:

Please encourage any landscaping companies you know to watch them.

Tree Rescuers hands-on vine ID training opportunity

Saturday, August 13, 10am-12pm, Leopold’s Preserve. 16290 Thoroughfare Rd, Broad Run

Meet in the main parking lot to learn about

  • Invasive vines that kill trees and how to control them

  • How to recognize native vines that should be left alone

  • How to be a Tree Rescuer volunteer for your community, alerting the neighbors by dropping off brochures.

Afterwards there will be an optional vine-clipping session. Wear clothes to protect against thorns, ticks and poison ivy. Sponsored by Merrimac Farms Master Naturalists.

Coming soon – Celebrate Native Trees week Sept 26 – Oct 2. Garden centers and others around the region will be promoting native trees and shrubs. As details come in, you will find them here:

Report your native tree and shrub plantings

Please help Virginia meet its tree-planting obligations by reporting your tree and shrub plantings here. So far 3715 have been reported so far!

Report your native tree rescues

Have you saved a tree from invasive vines, excess mulch, a contractor’s chain saw, or any other threat? Add your report here to the 3,405 trees already saved!

Next Steering Committee meeting – via videoconferencing – All are welcome. Thursday, August 25, 10:00am-12:00pm. Check our Event Calendar for future meetings.

This month’s newsletter article to share – Please use this link for social media.

On a recent day, driving out of the sun into a wooded community resulted in a temperature drop from 91 to 86 degrees. We all try to stay in the shade in hot weather, competing for the parking spaces under trees. What we may not realize is that tree-lined neighborhoods are cooler not just because of the shade but because the trees themselves act as air conditioners. The basic concept is that it takes energy to turn a liquid into a gas – we see that when boiling water. When a tree sucks up water through its roots and releases it as a gas through its leaves, a process known as transpiration, the energy that causes the water to evaporate is absorbed from the surroundings in the form of heat, and the result is a lower air temperature. This principle of physics also explains why sweating cools our bodies.

Newly planted trees are particularly vulnerable to high heat, so the most basic care needed from us is to provide enough water until they are well established. Seedlings establish quickly, but a landscaper-sized tree needs several years for its root to grow out of the planting hole into the surrounding soil. Our torrential summer storms can fool us into thinking we are getting enough rain, but many of them are brief and don’t even budge the rain gauge. A young tree with brown leaves is a very sad sight. At the same time, overwatering any plant can be worse than underwatering, by depriving the roots of oxygen, so we need to be careful to follow instructions in that regard and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Once a native tree gets established, though, little if any care may be required for the next twenty years or so. Our oaks and other native trees evolved here and are accustomed to the local soils and our variable temperatures and rainfall, although those 91 degree days are adding to the stress of living in an urban or suburban environment. Because older trees may start to develop issues, it is wise to have those that are near houses inspected every two years by an independent consulting arborist, meaning one who has no financial incentive to sell tree care services. They can recommend procedures that may prevent a tree from becoming hazardous. Even better, they may be able to provide reassurance, for instance, that a tree that is leaning a little may be quite stable, despite the dire warnings of a marketing rep from a tree company that is eager to keep its crew busy. Always use the services of arborists certified by the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture.)

When future residents are facing temperatures even higher than today’s, a five degree lower temperature may make a life or death difference. Consider what hundred degree weather does to the human body when a prolonged blackout shuts down everyone’s air conditioning. It pays to take good care of our trees. Find out how on the Plant NOVA Trees website.


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