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Rescuing native trees

Important as it is to be planting native trees - we need new trees just to keep up with the natural death rate - it is even more useful to preserve the ones that we already have. A mature tree has incomparably greater benefits than a sapling - far more stormwater capture, carbon sequestration, cooling, etc. But Northern Virginia trees are under constant threat from numerous directions, including strangling vines, development, pollution and lack of basic tree care.

We can do this together! Here’s how.


Protect against accidental damage

  • Don’t let mulch touch the base of your tree. Building up mulch against a tree causes the bark to rot.

  • Avoid soil compaction, such as from from cars or heavy machinery

  • Don’t use a string trimmer or a lawn mower near a tree. Protect it with a ring of native groundcover plants or a thin layer of organic mulch. As much as possible, leave fallen leaves under the tree to protect the roots and provide homes for fireflies.

Don’t cut down healthy trees

  • Worried that your tree might fall on your house? Consult a certified independent arborist (one who does not sell tree services, known as a Consulting Arborist in the industry) who can assess the risk. An every two year visit is wise.

  • Tired of raking? Just don’t rake! The fallen leaves belong under the tree, where they provide habitat for fireflies and where they nourish the soil as they break down.

  • Doing construction? Future owners will be grateful for the shade provided by mature trees.


Rescue trees from invasive non-native vines

Addressing threats to trees
Park volunteering

How do you remove invasive non-native vines at home?


On your own property, you may mostly do what you like. (That could include hiring an invasives control company.) However, please be aware: if your property is in a floodplain or a Resource Protection Area (which basically means within 100 feet of a stream or wetland), you must first obtain a permit to remove any vegetation.


For instructions on controlling vines, check out these resources.

Fairfax restoration sites

in need of support

Details are here

Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon

Elklick Preserve, Centreville

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, Chantilly

Fitzhugh Park, Annandale

Riverbend Park, Great Falls

Green Spring Gardens, Alexandria

Old Colchester, Lorton

Huntley Meadows, Alexandria

Laurel Hill Park, Lorton

Annandale Park, Annandale

how to remove vines
Help out the parks

Just want to give money? Help out the parks!

Our park services do not have the funds to control all the invasive plants on park property. We are working with them on their "wish lists" for parks where mature trees could be rescued with professional management. Please consider sending them donations.

City of Alexandria

Donations are welcome to the general fund for park improvements. See details about the PARKnership program. They can also work with individuals or organizations that would like to fund a substantial tree rescue program in a specific park.

Fairfax County Park Authority

Many sites have trees at risk. These sites were chosen by the park managers because a minimum donation of $2,500 can make possible tree rescue/habitat restoration projects that are planned but in need of funds.

Most useful of all is an annual donation  to allow for repeat treatments - most projects require two or more professional treatments to get good control.

Fairfax Invasive Management

Areas in need of support

Details are here

Blake Lane Park, Oakton

Churchill Road Park, McLean

Westgrove Park, Alexandria

Justice Park, Falls Church

Mason District Park, Annandale

Nottoway, Vienna

Mount Eagle, Alexandria

Lake Accotink Park, West Springfield

Hollin Meadows, Alexandria

Heritage Hill, Alexandria

Giles Run, Lorton


City of Falls Church

Contact to donate to the tree planting fund or to arrange a larger donation for a specific project.

Leesylvania State Park, Prince William

Donations are welcome for tree restoration or to pay for contractors to remove invasive plants. Contact

Mason Neck State Park, Fairfax

NOVA Parks properties:

Send your donation here and designate it for invasive plant removal, either for any park or, if you prefer, specifically for Upton Hill, Potomac Overlook, or the W&OD.

Town of Vienna parks, Vienna

Small or large contributions welcome

Tree rescuer.jpg

Our goal:

14000 rescues by 6/2024

Major roads

215 miles surveyed so far

12,320  trees at risk


Residential properties surveyed

  • 2845 alerted

  • 14371 trees at risk

Non-residential areas

  • 9944 acres surveyed

  • 67835 trees at risk

As of 5/18/2024 (and since Sept. 2021)

English Ivy success stories - the vines will die above the cuts and fall off by themselves


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All done by hand in Deerlick Park

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Rescued Boxelder Maple in Clifton

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