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Votes

Gardening Notes

<lst>Potted tree seedlings are available to volunteer organizations, schools and other interested groups who would like to plant trees on public lands. Offered by the National Tree Trust and The University of the District of Columbia’s Regional Grow-Out Station in Beltsville, Md., the trees must be planted on public land and watered and maintained for two years. A form to report survival rates and volunteer hours must be completed after the first year. Pick up is by appointment, March 20 and March 23. To obtain an application or further information, contact Joe Liszewski at 202-628-8733, ext. 20 or e-mail jliszewski@nationaltreetrust.org.

Ten free flowering dogwood trees will be given to anyone who joins the National Arbor Day Foundation during March. The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting between March 1 and May 31 with enclosed planting instructions. The six to 12 inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced. To become a member send a $10 contribution to Ten Free Dogwood Trees, National Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor AVenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410 by March 31.

Green Spring Garden Park offers a variety of gardening classes and lectures. Reservations and prepayment are required. Green Spring Garden park is located at 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria. Call 703-642-5173 for information and reservations.

* Workshop: Spring Sprucing. Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m.-noon. $10. Topics include fertilizing, watering, mulching, weeding, staking, when to dead-head, when perennials should be divided, and when to cut back grasses. Begin indoors, then move outside for hands-on demonstrations.

* Indoor Spring Window Boxes. Saturday, March 23, 10-11:30 a.m. $10. Demonstration of how to use different containers and plants that can be transplanted to the garden.

This flower-watching bus tour begins with the tidal basin’s cherry blossoms. A stop at Hillwood Estate’s Japanese Garden is followed by a picnic at the National Arboretum. Tour ends with a visit to the Arboretum’s Asian Valley Exhibit. April 23 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $65. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

In Fairfax County a battle is being fought to keep non-native plants from taking over the parks. Without any natural checks on their growth, invading plants can quickly crowd out indigenous plants needed by native wildlife. County parks can be preserved by following these general guidelines:

*Yard waste: Do not dispose of yard waste on parkland. Non-native plant seeds in the waste can spread. Learn to “grasscycle,” a practice that improves your lawn and keeps your parks safe;

*Plant disposal: Remains of invasive plants should be put in Fairfax County trash to be burned at the I-95 Waste-to-Energy Facility. Seeds and plants in landfills may still grow;

*Native plants: Use native plants for your grounds and garden.

Especially invasive species include Tree-of-Heaven, Orientalo Bittersweet, Purple Loosestrife, English ivy, Japanese stilt grass and Japanese honeysuckle.

For complete listing of invasive plants or information on native species, call Green Spring Garden Park at 703-642-5173. Information on yard waste and grasscycling, call Fairfax County at 703-324-5052. More information on plant invaders can be found at The Virginia Natural Heritage Web site (www.state.va.us/~dcr/dnh/invinfo.htm) or the Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group Web site (www.nps.gov/plants/alien).