The sad news is a great many of them, especially the Bradford Pears, were dead or dying—or the wrong size for the narrow spaces for planting, or too close to one another, or too close to where car doors open in parking spaces. So they had to come down.

The happy news is that they’re all being replaced this spring, over the next couple of weeks. New trees are being placed at the parking lines so the trees are 22 feet apart and there is no conflict with those car doors. The species that the city is planting are all narrow and only get 15 feet wide and about 35 feet tall. This prevents them from hitting buildings and causing damage. The trees are very upright and allow visibility of the retail establishments and restaurants while giving the beauty and benefits of trees in our downtown.

The species that are being planted are Everclear Elms, Musashino  Zelkovas, and Princeton Sentry Gingkoes. This will create a narrow upright canopy along our streets, helping keep our sidewalks cool, reduce the noise of traffic, and create a welcoming environment for visitors to our downtown. Studies have shown that trees in retail districts increase sales because visitors are more likely to linger and walk in a shady tree environment.

The city will also be adding rubberized mulch to the tree wells to make the walking experience safer for our visitors.


F250 Angle View

 Our trees are in desperate need of a new truck. Our current one, donated by Carl and Anne Little several years ago, is on its last legs, held up with chewing gum and bailing wire (and a recent $4,000 engine overhaul that’s a temporary fix). Two donors–Atlantic Builders and a family that would like to donate anonymously–have already pledged a total of $3,000 in matching funds through the May 3 Community Give, which will get us one-tenth of the way to our goal of buying this $30,000 relatively new, used Ford F-250, which we need for hauling around our heavy water tank for watering trees, and to pull a trailer loaded with new trees for delivery to planting areas. Please give what you can on May 3–and by donating on that day, you’ll help put us in a position to raise even more through incentive prizes during the Community Give!


If you saw the front page of the Free Lance-Star on Tuesday, Jan. 5, you know about the forum regarding the trees on Washington Avenue Mall.  A group of people has initiated a petition asking for the removal of all the trees that have been planted on the center area of the mall on Washington Avenue, most of which were planted over the past several years by Tree Fredericksburg volunteers, with approval from the city.

The petitioners believe that the trees block the view of their houses, that the trees will distract from the monuments, and that Washington Avenue Mall should be an open grassland without trees. We obviously disagree, and feel that the right trees appropriately planted—approximately the same number of trees as were on the mall back in 1980—will enhance the beauty of the mall, while also preserving plenty of green space and the important sightlines for visitors and residents alike.

The forum will be held by the City of Fredericksburg on Monday, Jan. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Dorothy Hart Center.  At the forum there will be a 15 minute presentation by the City and also a 15 minute presentation by the folks who drafted the petition.  After the presentations, public comments will be allowed (2 minutes each).

You’re welcome to attend the meeting and voice your opinion on this issue, and if you can’t attend, there will be an opportunity to post comments online regarding the trees.  If you wish to sign up in advance to speak at the meeting, send an email to Dave King, assistant director of public works, at dking@fredericksburgva.gov, and ask to be put on the speakers list for the forum.  It is important that you do this quickly.  There will only be a limited number of speakers allowed.

If you do not live in the City, pleas pass this email on to your friends who do.  If you work, shop or eat in the City, please comment as a person who brings economic benefit to our city. And if you have any questions, feel free to email us at treefred@cox.net.



Some drunks did this to three trees on Kenmore Avenue

Some drunks did this to three trees on Kenmore Avenue

Poor soil, not enough rain, angry drunks breaking tree limbs, BEAVERS! Tree Fredericksburg has planted nearly 5,000 trees in the City of Fredericksburg over the past seven years, and we have plans to plant another 5,000 to increase the city’s tree canopy by 5 percent over the next seven years. But planting trees also means taking proper care of them—and that takes money. Which is where you come in.

Here at year’s end, consider a donation to Tree Fredericksburg to help us combat lousy soil with proper mulching, not enough rain with regular watering, and beavers with protective fencing. (Unfortunately there’s not much we can do about those angry drunks breaking off tree limbs—or sometimes worse—except spread the word that the community won’t tolerate that sort of thing.)

The City of Fredericksburg and various grants cover most of the cost of the trees themselves, and the initial plantings, and the equipment we need to get the trees properly in the ground. It’s up to the rest of us to make sure our trees not only survive, but also thrive, and provide everybody who lives here with a higher quality of life. Trees soak up air pollution and storm water runoff. They provide shade and lower utility bills. They increase property values–and they’re nice to look at.

As we gear up for our spring and fall plantings in 2016, take a look at the 5,000 trees Tree Fredericksburg’s hundreds of volunteers have planted over these past seven years, then take a look at your checkbook and consider an end of the year gift to help us continue to raise them right.

You can access our PAYPAL ACCOUNT and make a donation, or if you’d prefer, you can mail a check to Tree Fredericksburg, 726 William St., Fredericksburg, VA 22401. Tree Fred is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Thanks for thinking of Tree Fredericksburg, and especially thanks for being a friend to trees.

Last Fall 2015 Planting Draws a Crowd

Rho-Chi chapter of Kappa Alpha UMWThese members of the Rho-Chi chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity from the University of Mary Washington were among the 61 volunteers who showed up to plant trees in the rain in the Mayfield neighborhood on Saturday, November 7. It was our last planting of the fall, and a couple of the Rho-Chi planting groups serenaded us the whole time, even though, from the looks of them, they’d been up all night the night before studying. Many thanks to them, and to the UMW tennis teams, who also turned out in force, and to all the rest of our intrepid volunteers.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, 22 volunteers from Tree Fred and the Main Street Initiative got up bright and early on Friday, November 6 to fill all the downtown Fredericksburg planters with miniature Christmas trees, helping get the city ready for the holiday season. Thanks to all who showed up for that as well. See you all in the spring!

Christmas tree pot planting Nov 6

Enough Volunteers Signed Up Already for Nov. 7!

How fantastic to have such dedicated volunteers that we’re literally full up for our next planting. We had an amazing turnout for the October 31 planting at Sunshine Ballpark as well–a LOT of folks showing up to show a LOT of love for trees. If you’ve already signed up for the Saturday, November 7 planting in Mayfield, we look forward to seeing you at 9 a.m. sharp. 57 trees. Should take us about two hours. It’s our last volunteer planting of the fall. Thanks to everybody who turned out this year to help. We’re at 5,000 trees and counting! Stay tuned for more tree plantings in the spring.

CSX Corporation Supporting Old Mill Planting

Our next two plantings will be HUGE, as a certain presidential candidate might say. Saturday, Oct. 17 we’ll be planting near the Falmouth Bridge, gathering at 2701 Princess Anne Street, and planting trees from 9 a.m. until noon–or whenever we finish, which is usually around 11. On Saturday, Oct. 24 we’ll be planting nearly 70 trees at Old Mill Park, also from 9-noon. The address there is 2217 Caroline Street. That planting is supported by a Restoration Grant from the CSX Corporation, which is being administered by ACTrees–the Alliance for Community Trees–focusing on riparian restoration at Old Mill. Email treefred@cox.net if you or your organization or business would like to join us.

ACTrees logoCSX Logo

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Award for Tree Fredericksburg and Carl and Anne Little

Fredericksburg residents Carl and Anne Little, founders of the urban reforestation organization Tree Fredericksburg, have been recognized for their work by the environmental group Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, which last week presented the Littles with one of four 2015 Forest Champion Awards for being “Most Effective at Engaging the Public.”

Every year, Tree Fredericksburg pulls together 450-500 volunteers—University of Mary Washington students, local students from Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties, scouts, church groups, and businesses–to help with fall and spring tree plantings. Since the organization started in 2008, Tree Fredericksburg has planted almost 5,000 trees in their mission to restore the urban forest in the city.

“Carl and I are happy to accept this award,” said Anne Little, who serves as president of Tree Fredericksburg, “but really, it’s a testament to the great volunteer spirit and commitment to trees that defines the Fredericksburg community.”

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is an organization that brings together individuals, environmental groups, businesses, and governments to find collaborative solutions to the problems threatening the region’s waterways, with a focus on building a strong commitment to stewardship, and delivering innovative, broadly-supported programs that benefit the land, waters, and residents of the Chesapeake Bay.

The purpose of the annual awards, given out this year at the Chesapeake Watershed Forum in Shepherdstown, W.V., on Friday, September 25, is to recognize the outstanding efforts of individuals and groups to conserve, restore and celebrate forests throughout the six-state Chesapeake Bay watershed.

About 55 percent of the 41 million acres of land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is forested, but the amount of forested land continues to decline by an average of 100 acres per day.  Groups such as Tree Fredericksburg are active in the fight to halt that trend.

“We know that forests are the best land cover for preventing nutrient pollution, and can say with confidence that every acre of forest lost to other uses means more nutrients entering the Bay and its rivers,” said Sally Claggett, U.S. Forest Service Liaison to the Chesapeake Bay Program at last year’s awards ceremony. “The need for local champions of trees and forest has never been greater”

Oct. 10 Volunteers Needed. October 3 Planting Canceled.

With Tropical Storm Joaquin knocking, and heavy winds and rain in the weekend forecast, we’re canceling this Saturday’s planting, rescheduling it for Saturday, November 7. In the mean time, we need more volunteers for our Saturday, October 10 planting, so sign up now, and spread the word to your friends. We’ll be meeting at 9 a.m. a week from Saturday at the corner of Bridgewater and Charles streets, near the Falmouth bridge.