From left: Janet Tysee, MCF Trustee; Alan Denko, MTF Board Member; Amee Burgoyne, President of MCF; Joyce Harris, Chairman of MTF; Rip Sullivan, MCF Trustee; Bob Koenig, MTF Board Member; and Joann Berkson, Vice President of MCF.
Homeowners who enjoy trees can now plant a tree in their front yard this fall or next spring with the help of the McLean Trees Foundation (MTF). The McLean Neighborhood Tree Program, a new initiative of MTF, is funded in part by the McLean Community Foundation and encourages homeowners to become actively engaged in the selection, planting, and care of their trees.
The program, the first of its kind in McLean, is similar to existing tree programs in Falls Church, Arlington, and Washington D.C. The program emphasizes homeowner involvement and long-term restoration of a quality tree canopy rather than short-term quantity planting of trees.
“To plant a tree and see it thrive and grow over a period of time is a joyful and positive experience,” said Joyce Harris, Chairman of the McLean Trees Foundation. “Trees improve our environment, contribute to our health and well-being, and enhance the character and beauty of our community.”
MTF has traditionally planted trees on public and private property, but this is the first MTF program designed to encourage homeowner involvement and to educate homeowners about the environmental, health, aesthetic, and economic benefits of trees.
“Trees impact our lives and the environment in many ways, but some homeowners may not realize that there are significant economic benefits to be gained from planting trees on their property”, said Harris. “For example, trees increase property values by 10 to 15 percent; homes with trees sell more quickly and for higher prices than homes without trees; and one mature 25-foot tree reduces annual heating and cooling costs of a typical residence by 8 to 12 percent.”
AN ADDITIONAL GOAL of the program is to help restore and diversify the tree canopy in McLean.
“To fully enhance the tree canopy in Fairfax County, tree planting must occur on privately-owned residential lots, as county-owned and commonly-owned open spaces are limited,” said Keith Cline, Director of the Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division. “Residential lots have the most space for planting new trees in Fairfax County and trees are more likely to thrive with a homeowner caring for them.” “A program like this benefits the environment, neighborhoods, homeowners, and the community,” said Jim McGlone, Urban Forest Conservationist with the Department of Urban Forestry in Northern Virginia, and a consultant to the program. “A healthy tree population projects a positive community image and improves the quality of life for all of us.”
To join the program, homeowners must complete an application that can be found online and pay a $50 fee that helps to supplement program costs. Once an application has been received, MTF volunteers will visit the homeowner’s property to discuss the program, review their property, and recommend tree species and planting locations.
MTF volunteers will work with the homeowner to properly plant the tree and guide the homeowner on watering and maintaining the tree. A follow-up visit to the property will be carried out by an MTF volunteer one to six months after the planting.
Planting dates can be scheduled for the fall or spring. Applications are accepted year round.
MTF offers a selection of native one-inch caliper (diameter) understory and canopy trees. Trees of this size have a high survival rate and are easy for volunteers to handle. The selection of trees include Oaks, Black Gum, Elm, American Holly, Bald Cypress, Eastern Red Cedar, Sweet Gum, Fringe Tree, Redbud, American Hornbeam, Sweetbay Magnolia, and Serviceberry.
“This is an experience that the whole family can participate in, including children,” said Harris. “It’s an experience that will stay with you for life.”
Unlike other neighboring tree programs, MTF receives no jurisdictional funding and is solely dependent on fees, grants, and contributions to support its program.
“The McLean Neighborhood Tree Program is an innovative environmental program, managed solely by volunteers, and it will help to improve our environment and enhance our neighborhoods,” said Amee Burgoyne, President of the McLean Community Foundation. “We are pleased to partner with MTF.”
MORE INFORMATION on the McLean Neighborhood Tree Program can be obtained on MTF’s website: McLeanTreesFoundation.org. or call Joyce Harris, Chairman of MTF, at 703-216-5605.