Dawn Szelc LDG Secretary, Clear Blue Landscapes
On this brilliant fall morning over 60 people (from the Landscape Designers Group, Master Gardeners, Trees Stewards, National Park Service and other organizations) had an inspirational and informative visit to Arlington Woods, a remnant stand of Mid-Atlantic Mesic, Mixed-Hardwood Forest adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery.
The tour was led by Rod Simmons, Natural Resource Manager/Plant Ecologist who highlighted unique features of this “old age forest” that once covered the uplands and hillside of property owned by George Washington Parke Custis. Rod described features of the Chestnut Oak and Oak Heath Forest communities found on the upper areas of the property, and Acid Oak Hickory in the ravines and lower benches. Rod further clarified that “old age forests” are ones established post-colonial settlement, (such those as seen at Monticello or Chapman Forest) in contrast with “old growth forests” more common in the west which remain intact due to their more remote or inaccessible locations
Evidence of the current drought was seen, even in the larger oak and hickory trees. Rod cautioned against the removal of stressed trees until next year and encouraged evaluating them in late spring. Rod also noted that American Ash saplings were abundant despite deer browse and the loss of larger trees killed by the Emerald Ash borer and suggested prudent use of benzodiazepine injections in larger saplings to enhance pest resistance. He also highlighted the excellent work that the National Park Service does with environmental planning and projects, including recent stream and stormwater conveyance work seen onsite. Rod’s amazing breath of knowledge and keen powers of observation were further evidenced by his description of an artifact found on site and carefully replaced where found.
Once again, the beauty and complexity of our native forests were an inspiration to all!
A bio for Rod:
“Rod Simmons is the Plant Ecologist for the City of Alexandria, a member of the Virginia Botanical Associates (a nonprofit scientific organization dedicated to the study of Virginia’s flora), a board member of the Virginia Native Plant Society, and Botany Chair of the Maryland Native Plant Society. A life-long resident of northern Virginia, Rod has an encyclopedic command of the local flora.” https://armn.org/2012/12/19/rod-simmons-on-ecological-restoration/
An interesting description of the area written by Rod Simmons: ArlingtonWoods Through The AgesPDF.pdf
Thank you to the groups that joined us that day:
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