Thankfully our army of two was enough to plant the two staghorn sumacs on Sunday for what is turning into be an annual Veteran’s day planting and maintenance of the trees we put in on the Arlington Boulevard/Rt. 50 shoulder in December 2015.
We are almost to four years of tree growth. Our first plantings were primarily a mixture of eastern cedars and staghorn sumacs we purchased and some redbuds and hollies from the Arlington County tree give away in conjunction with Tree Stewards. Initially, it looked like more stakes than trees, but we are finally getting to the point where the trees are taller than the stakes!
The new larger sumacs plugged some holes in the tree line on the east part of the grassy shoulder where previously planted trees did not survive. While we were out, we also re-staked the trees, did some weeding and mulching, and picked up some trash.
Importantly, the staghorn sumacs have started to spread in the west part of the grassy shoulder. Unfortunately, the young saplings are getting mowed down, so we staked those to make them visible and protect them from the maintenance staff. This seemed to be a better option than transplanting them. We will put in more stakes during our next visit. If we can keep them growing, the screening will improve considerably on that section of the shoulder. As the staghorn sumacs spread on the east part, that screening will improve too.
In terms of next steps, now that the holes in the grass shoulder are filled in, we can finally devote more time to restoring the central part of the shoulder. Ideally, we would clear out 20-40 feet of the heavy honeysuckle vine infestation that is growing on decent trees just east of the grassy section. Seeing that the sumacs do well, we probably should look to replant with sumacs to create a screen there.
Put Sunday, December 1, 1-2:30 PM for the next scheduled session to work on cleaning out the invasives and more trash clean up.
For 2015 pre-planting see: http://www.boulevardmanor.org/2018/11/arlington-blvdrt-50-shoulder-beautification-and-restoration-november-2018-update/