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September 2023 Update

Fall is for planting. Please see the short article at the bottom of this page and share it as widely as possible.


Outreach of the month – Gardeners

Who do you know who gardens? Please let them know about the fall native plant sales and the advantage to planting now rather than waiting for spring.


October is Celebrate Native Trees Month

Looking for a discount on native trees (or even free ones?) Want to attend a tree-related event? Organizations around Virginia are promoting native trees this fall. You can find details about Northern Virginia activities on our website.


Goldenrod ID talk

Native plant enthusiasts can learn to tackle one of the toughest problems in the field: how to tell one goldenrod from another. September 14 7:30 pm. Details here.


Volunteers needed! Please sign up here to staff tables

· 9/24 NatureFest, Herndon

· 9/30 Manassas Latino Festival

· 9/30 Northern Alexandria Native Plant Sale

· 10/1 Earth Sangha Open House


Learn how to engage young people

Would you like to learn an array of engaging activities to teach young people the importance of caring for trees? Project Learning Tree offers a 4-6 hour interactive environmental education workshop focused on trees for teachers, parents, and community members who work with children in grades K-12. The workshop costs $10 and requires a minimum of eight participants. If interested, contact Wendy Cohen at wncohen@gmail.com.


Gifts for all occasions

Going to a party? Instead of flowers or wine, why not bring a Native Plants for Northern Virginia guide? Great for house warmings, holidays, birthdays… Discount when you buy 40 or more. https://www.plantnovanatives.org/buy-the-native-plant-guide-book


Zooms in Spanish – please spread the word

The third talk in our series in Spanish will be about sustainable gardening basics. Recordings of previous talks can be seen on the Spanish playlist of our YouTube channel.

Todo sobre las plantas nativas: Zooms en español ¡Gratis! Regístrese para obtener el enlace de Zoom.

· Miércoles 27 de Septiembre, 7-8pm

· CONVERSANDO ACERCA de las VENTAJAS/DESAFIOS de CULTIVAR PLANTAS NATIVAS en NUESTROS JARDINES

· Próximamente más fechas



Report your native tree and shrub plantings

Please help Northern Virginia meet its tree-planting obligations by reporting your tree and shrub plantings here. So far 12,957 have been reported!


Report your tree rescues

Millions of trees are at risk from invasive non-native vines. You can help save them on your own land or by volunteering on public land. So far, 10,069 tree rescues have been reported in Northern Virginia. Please add your report here.


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


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



Biodiversity starts at home - plant native plants!


Fall is for planting. When choosing what to plant, why not factor in the ecosystem while you are at it? Preserving biodiversity may sound like a job for scientists, but in fact the implementation is up to all of us. It is the decisions we make on a daily basis that determine how well our local ecosystem will weather the numerous stressors that come with climate change. We get to see this in action as we choose which plants to install on our properties.


Why should we care about biodiversity, a term that seems so remote to our own lives? Perhaps a better word would be “bio-resilience” or even “bio-survival,” to highlight the importance of genetic diversity in a changing world. In our yards, for example, planting a whole range of species means that whether they are hit by drought, deluge, or the next plague, at least some of them will make it. Better still is to use plants that themselves have genetic diversity, as opposed to ones that are produced by cloning, which is the case for most cultivars.


None of this has much meaning to the planet unless those plants are also native to the area and thus support the myriad critters that depend on them for food. Losing an entire hedge to boxwood blight or a row of crape myrtles to crape myrtle bark scale may be sad for us but makes no difference to the ecosystem. Replacing them with a mixed hedge of native trees and shrubs would provide insurance against stressors while supporting our birds and butterflies. Those critters very much need our support, because they are under threat from the non-native plants that have escaped from our gardens into the natural areas and are turning our parks into monocultures of tree-killing invasives. Finding appropriate substitutes for invasive plants is not a problem - the Native Plants for Northern Virginia guide lists 263 garden-worthy species


Professional landscapers all know that autumn is a great time to plant, even if home gardeners make the mistake of waiting until April to flock to the garden centers. Planting can even continue until the ground is frozen. Many plants including trees and shrubs continue to grow their roots after their leaves fall off, and even those that go dormant have a major head start in the spring before they have to face summer heat and drought. The wise gardeners who take advantage of the fall discounts are rewarded by lighter watering chores and healthier plants. In Northern Virginia, you can find native plants either by looking for the red stickers in participating conventional garden centers or by shopping at the native plant nurseries or at the local fall native plant sales.


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