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.

Rescue trees from invasive non-native vines

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.


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.


Don't have any trees that need rescuing? 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.

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.

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.


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

Laurel Hill Park, Lorton

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Blake Lane, Oakton

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

Annandale Park, Annandale


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.