Professional Property and Community Managers
Whether you manage the property of a residential community or a commercial property, your participation is essential to the success of our regions push to save our birds and to increase the native tree canopy.
For landscaped areas
Canopy trees provide the shade that will keep Northern Virginia livable area in an ever hotter climate.
Unshaded lawns where people gather? Unless you need a soccer pitch, shade trees are essential to make the outdoors a welcoming place, whether for residents or for customers (or for anyone watching a soccer game.)
Unused lawn? Why pay to mow a lawn that no one uses? Are your contractors mowing steep slopes? Native shrubs and trees are easily maintained as ornamentals. Even better, why not allow those areas to gradually reforest?
Sizzling parking lots and streets? Special considerations apply when choosing street trees.
Already have trees? Trees do not live forever! The time to plant replacement trees is now.
Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
For natural areas
The un-landscaped areas on any property are a valuable asset that needs to be property maintained. These buffer areas provide
A visual and sound barrier
Stormwater capture, reduced flooding
An experience of nature
Homes and food for our birds, butterflies, etc
Fifty years ago, these areas could take care of themselves. With the introduction of a flood of invasive plants in our region, this is no longer the case. It may look green superficially, but the trees are at risk of being killed, and the lower levels are losing their ecosystem value. Do not let an amenity turn into a liability!
Click here to find out how to manage wood lots.
Non-native plants such as turfgrass and many ornamentals come from other continents. They support very little life, because most insects can only eat the plants with which they evolved. If we want to stop the decline of the bird population, we need to provide them with the caterpillars they feed their babies. If we want caterpillars, we must provide their native plants. A good rule of thumb is that to support the birds, at least 70% of the plant biomass needs to be native. And zero percent should be invasive plants such as Japanese Barberry, Nandina, Privet, Burning Bush, Bradford Pear, Chinese Silvergrass, etc, since those spread to our natural areas and displace the native plants there. Not all non-native plants are invasive, by by definition, an invasive species is one that is harming the local ecosystem. A list of invasive ornamental plants can be found on the Virginia State Arboretum website.
Spruce up your public areas with ornamental natives
Easy-care, formal-looking welcome areas can be achieved with the right choice of native plants. See the bottom of this page for the "Commercial Settings Package" chart for basic ideas. More recommedations can be found here.
Choose at least 70% native plants
Adopt healthy maintenance practices
Good plant choice is essential, but there is more to the story. Other landscaping practices also contribute to a healthy ecosystem.
Use non-toxic alternatives - Spraying for adult mosquitoes (or any insect) kills all those caterpillars that the birds need as a food source. Other methods of mosquito and other pest control are more effective anyway.
Leave the leaves - Most caterpillars overwinter in the leaf litter. Where possible, leave the leaves under trees out to the drip line.
Find other opportunities in your maintenance contract - Your lawn and landscape company can offer a variety of services that are healthier for the environment. Near the bottom of this link you can find a sample management plan for institutions.
Do not let mulch touch the trunk of trees. Use proper tree planting techniques and proper tree care.