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Volunteers needed to clear away invasive non-native plants then plant more native trees.

Tree Planting Volunteer Day

Thursday, April 20, 2023 (Rain Date May 4)
9am - 12:30pm  Lake Accotink
Heming Avenue parking lot - 5660 Heming Ave, Springfield, VA 22151


Supported as part of a large grant to free the trees from invasive non-native vines such as English Ivy, Asian Wisteria, and Japanese Honeysuckle.

Microsoft is proud to collaborate with the Society for Ecological Restoration to deliver standards-based ecological restoration with Fairfax County Park Authority, Friends of Accotink Creek, Fairfax ReLeaf, and Plant NOVA Natives/Plant NOVA Trees in Fairfax County, Virginia, USA

Help save the woods of Lake Accotink Park!


  • 9 am Volunteers check in.

    • Welcome, introductions, and briefing

  • 9:15 am Invasives removal.

    • During this activity, volunteers will remove invasives and prepare the area for trees.

  • 10:30 am Break, briefing on tree planting

  • 10:45 am Tree planting

    • During this time, volunteers will plant trees, spread mulch, water trees, and install protective deer cages made by volunteers

    • Park staff will direct the placement and planting of the trees.

  • 12:00 pm Cleanup and photos

    • Bring tools and leftover supplies to the designated location. Haul the remaining invasive debris to the dumpster.

    • Group photo. Pick up your Native Plants for Northern Virginia guide as you leave.


Lake Accotink


How to plant a tree

  1. Clear away any grass from around the tree.

  2. Straighten out the roots so you can see how deep to dig

  3. Dig a hole the same depth as the roots and twice the width. If you encounter a root wider than an inch, don't cut it - move your hole.

  4. Roughen up any smooth sides a little.

  5. Set the tree in so the top of the topmost root is level with the surrounding soil.

  6. Make sure the roots are pointed down or sideways and not circling around or headed back upwards.

  7. Replace the soil that you dug out, gently. Get rid of the big air holes, but don't stamp or press it down hard. You don't want to compact the soil. Make sure the top of the root flare is still at ground level.

  8. Slowly water with one gallon for bare root seedlings (and more for larger trees).

  9. Cover the exposed soil with no more than two inches of wood mulch.

  10. Drive a stake into the ground at the edge of the hole. Put the deer protector over the tree and attach it to the stake. Leave the bottom of the protector open so to give the tree more room to grow before someone remembers to remove it.

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How to remove invasive vines and save a tree

  1. Identify the vine first. We only want to kill the non-native invasive vines (in this case mostly Porcelain Berry, with some English Ivy, Wintercreeper, and Japanese Honeysuckle) and not the native vines such as grapes.

  2. Using a lopper or clipper, cut the vine at or above your head.

  3. Clip it again near the base.

  4. Pull the root out of the ground. You will probably need to use a shovel to loosen the soil around the vine so that it pulls easily without breaking.

  5. If the vine breaks and roots are left in the soil, please use a tool to dig out the remaining roots.

  6. Shake or brush off the soil from the roots and place all of the debris into the dumpster.

  7. Tamp down the loose soil with your foot to prevent erosion.

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Be a Tree Rescuer in your own community!

Drop off door-hangers to alert your neighbors that they have invasive vines threatening their trees.

Learn more here.


Wear clothes to protect against thorns, ticks and Poison Ivy.

A first aid kit is available at the info desk.

Inspect yourself for ticks and wash all your clothes when you get home.


There is a restroom in the pavilion just downhill from our work area.


Why tiny trees?

Transplant shock is a big problem for big trees. Small trees establish faster and end up healthier, assuming they are protected from deer, mowers, and invasive plants. In five years, a tiny tree will be as tall as or taller than a large tree planted at the same time.

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Learn about landscaping and gardening with native plants!

Check out the

Plant NOVA Natives website.

We hope you enjoy today’s volunteer event. Please consider continuing this work by planting native plants and trees and controlling invasive species in your yard, in your neighborhood, at work, or even on a balcony and by spreading the word to others about how important it is to take these steps to save our local birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

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