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Corporate Tree Rescues

Northern Virginia is known for its beautiful, mature tree canopy – in parks, in neighborhoods, even in business districts.  These mature canopies cool our region, provide habitat for local fauna, and bring joy and health benefits to our residents.  But invasive species are destroying this valuable asset.  Invasive vines smother and strangle mature trees and saplings.  Without quick action to reduce these invasive species, Northern Virginia will steadily lose tree canopy.  This will raise local temperatures, increase energy consumption, decrease property values, and destroy our parks.  

Let’s act now and save our trees!

1. Save the trees on your commercial properties

Many commercial areas have natural areas at the periphery that create a buffer between properties. These small islands of nature are beautiful and functional as they cool the surrounding areas and provide needed habitat for our songbirds.  But invasive plants are consuming these spaces, turning a beautiful amenity into a liability, an ugly tangle of vines that invite dumping and crime. 


First priority should be given to controlling the tree-killing invasive vines while protecting the native vines. See this page for details. With a small amount of training and attention to the correct technique for each invasive species, your regular landscaping crews can save the trees and start the process of restoring habitat.

We have resources to help your crews identify the plants to be targeted.

English Ivy buffer zone.jpg

English Ivy threatening trees


Porcelain Berry smothering trees in Lewinsville Park

2. Help your community save its trees

Quality of life for your employees is greatly enhanced in Northern Virginia by its tree canopy and numerous parks. Unfortunately, those areas are under serious threat from invasive non-native plants. We estimate that there may be as many as three million trees at risk from invasive vines alone, a number that will only grow if the problem is not addressed now. Will we lose most of our natural areas by the end of this century? Such a scenario can be averted if all the major actors pitch in - residents, community associations, government, and the business world, which can play a major role by providing funding for our natural areas.

Can your company adopt a park?

Taxpayer money can only pay for a small fraction of the need. In Fairfax County, for example, invasive plants are being actively managed on only a few hundred out of 23,000 acres within Fairfax County Park Authority, and the situation is the same in the other jurisdictions. The Virginia Department of Transportation has no budget for rescuing the trees within its easements. All the parks would welcome donations to pay for professional invasive plant control companies to come in. VDOT has a procedure for organizations to obtain permission to take over invasives management in those areas where landscaping companies or individuals can work safely.

Adopting parks


Can our volunteers help save the trees?

Corporate groups are welcome to volunteer at invasives removal events at a number of parks across the region. Although volunteerism can chip away at the problem in some areas, it cannot come close to meeting the need. But these events are fun and useful on a small scale and are valuable for showing people just how big the challenge is and for teaching them how to manage it on their own properties. These events take place year round, although June through September is more difficult because of the heat and poison ivy.

How much does it cost?

The cost of invasives removal depends on the size of the infestation and the plant species involved. Donors can choose how big an area to adopt and how much of a commitment to make.

You can adopt an entire park and pay for the 3-5 year invasives removal process and long term maintenance afterwards. Or you can pay for sections within a park for the whole time or for fewer years. Even just a couple thousand dollars is enough to make a good start in some areas.

For example, a recent estimate to rescue the trees in the badly infested Lewinsville Park in McLean added up to about $20,000 over three years for one large area and $54,000 for the rest of the park.

How long does it take to control invasive plants?

Control of most invasive vines on trees is a three year process (five years for Wisteria), with half the money being spent in the first year and the rest divided equally between year one and two. Long term surveillance is needed after that to nip any recurrences in the bud.

How long does it take to get started?

The first step is for the park to get an estimate, which might take a few weeks. From the time the money is in hand, figure on three to four months for the project to get started.

Can we simply instruct our landscaping crews to cut down the invasive plants?

No, not without training. The first step is proper plant identification, as cutting down the native plants would defeat the purpose. The second i is to learn the specific control technique for each species. For example, simply cutting down some invasive trees will cause them to send up a hundred sprouts, worsening the problem, so the tree needs to be first killed with herbicide using the correct product and method and the correct time of year.

Which parks need help?

Some of the park systems have made "wish lists" of parks in need. Many others also need help.

Which invasive vines the only non-native threat to our natural areas?

The invasive vines are the most obvious tree-killer but not the only ones. Invasive trees such as Callery Pear, Tree-of-Heaven and Autumn Olive displace the native saplings and have taken over huge swathes of land. Invasive shrubs such as Mutlflora Rose and Bush Honeysuckle also crowd out the natives saplings and make our woodlands impassable. At the ground level, Lesser Celandine and numerous other invasives smother the wildflowers. 

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