By Mary Reid Barrow
“The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago. The second best time is now.” – old proverb.
This is why LRNow and scores of hard working volunteers will have planted more than a thousand trees in low lying Green Run and Ocean Lakes by the end of this year.
And this is why we encourage homeowners to plant native trees and not cut down their big trees. It is why we have a Notable Tree program that calls attention to wonderful old trees still standing.
It is also why we have bookmarks chock full of interesting tree facts and have adopted “Plant for the Future” as our tree logo.
LRNow has learned that trees are one of the best tools we have to keep our waterways clean, to respond to sea level rise and so much more. To fund our tree work, we seek grants from the Virginia Department of Forestry, among other sources, and we raise funds from private donors.
We have learned that a mature tree can take up several hundred gallons of water a day from the ground. Trees can make a difference in the amount or standing water in one yard and a number of them can make a huge difference in a neighborhood. At the same time, trees also absorb pollutants that would otherwise drain into our waterways too.
But that’s not all. Trees are warriors in combating climate change. In one year, a mature tree can take up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground.
Trees also provide the good things in life like shade from the sun. Trees provide food and shelter to hundreds of insects, birds, and other animals. Trees also give fruits, nuts, and wood for homes to us humans.
While encouraging tree planting, we designed our Notable Tree Program to call attention to the trees we already have. These are trees that deserve recognition for their size, age, or historical significance, but are not big enough for state or national tree registries. Take for example the huge cherrybark oak in Blackwater.
Brent James, LRNow’s Notable Tree coordinator, believes the oak could be not only the oldest living thing in Virginia Beach but also the largest!
We hope that pointing out these majestic trees will encourage homeowners to protect the big trees in their yards too. Often homeowners will cut down their trees for fear they will blow down in a storm. In the process they lose all the benefits the trees have been providing for many years.
Trees support one another in high winds. Severely thinning them just makes the trees that are left as well as those on nearby property, more vulnerable to storm damage, Brent said.
“It would take 75 to 100 years for newly planted trees to reach the stature and beauty of what is already there,” he added.
“Once a tree is gone, it is gone forever.”
Volunteer at our next tree planting event in Green Run. Click HERE to sign up!
Find out more about Trees on LRNow’s website: https://www.lynnhavenrivernow.org/why-trees-matter/
If you think you have a tree worthy of Notable Tree designation, email the details to Brent: firstname.lastname@example.org and he will check it out.
Reach Mary Reid: email@example.com