Community Roots Tree Planting–Holton Elementary

We had a great day earlier this week at Holton Elementary School, planting trees provided by Richmond Tree Stewards through our Community Roots Program.  Four 4th grade classes of about 25 kids each, 10 – 12 parent volunteers and 2 Department of Forestry volunteers planted 13 trees and made mulch “donuts” around each tree.  Watering and caring for these trees will ensure that they are part of this school’s future!

13 Trees Community Roots Trees Planted

This project is made possible thanks to a grant from the Overton and Katherine Dennis Fund.

2018 Tree Steward Classes To Begin In January

Applications are now open for our 2018 Tree Steward Class.  You’ll find details about the classes and a link to the application form here:   TS 2018 Class Information and Application

Each year we offer our training class to those who would like to join our efforts to preserve, protect and increase the tree canopy in the City of Richmond.  We work in neighborhoods and city parks and actively engage with our community through outreach and education.  This is an opportunity to join the ranks of our trained volunteers who plant and prune trees and remove invasive species throughout Richmond.  Check out our website for information about our programs and projects:  Richmond Tree Stewards

Space in the class is limited and the Application deadline is December 2.

Register here! Free Tree Care Workshop

Tree Stewards will hold a free tree care workshop just in time for fall planting.   Details and sign up here:  Tree Care Workshop Registration

Saturday October 21, 2017 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Round House in Byrd Park

Our speaker is Janine Lester, a Tree Steward and outstanding speaker who holds credentials as an ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist®, ISA Board Certified Master Arborist® and has ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification.

We’ll also have a tree planting demonstration, a pruning demonstration, door prizes and a  Byrd Park tree walk!

Hope you’ll join us!

Leaf Litter: The only litter that should be left on the ground.

You’ve probably heard of layers in the canopy – tall trees, then understory trees and shrubs, with annuals and perennials at ground level.  Each layer provides food, habitat, and water quality benefits.  There is one more beneficial layer that is frequently discarded but well worth mentioning:  It’s leaf litter.  The only kind of litter that should be left on the ground!

Here’s a short list of the many benefits of leaf litter.

  • Keeps soil temperature more consistent- insulates against cold and heat.
  • Recycles nutrients from the plants themselves providing just what the plants need.

Lots of critters live in leaf litter; worms and millipedes, caterpillars and pill bugs.  As they chew on leaves and move around, they break it into smaller pieces. Fungi and bacteria then break it down further into nutrients that can be used by plants.

  • Leaf litter is a layer of life.

Brown thrashers and some other feed primarily on the bugs living in leaf litter.  Frogs, skinks, turtles,  and others can benefit, too.  Every resident there is connected to the food web and so lowly leaf litter can actually create a more diverse habitat.

  • Over time, leaf litter will create a rich, moisture retentive soil where plants can thrive.
  • And it’s FREE!

Thinking about keeping those leaves? Here’s what you can do…

  • If you have a few leaves on your lawn, use a mulching mower and let them feed the lawn.
  • More leaves?  Mow with the bag attached to the mower and place in garden beds.
  • Rake leaves into garden beds.  Beds with shrubs and plenty of plant stems will keep most of the leaves where they are when the wind blows.
  • Rake leaves into a corner of the yard and let them decompose then use as a soil amendment.
  • Add the leaves to your compost pile.

It’s understood that not all properties have the space to keep their leaves, but let’s not think of them as a problem to be disposed of.

Improve your soil, create habitat, keep your leaves.






Community Roots Arbor Day–Free Tree Care Workshop

Celebrate Arbor Day with a Tree Care Workshop!

Saturday October 21, 2017 9:00 a.m. to noon

Round House in Byrd Park

Our FREE workshop will include:

A lecture about tree benefits:  Measuring the Value of Trees. Our speaker is Janine Lester, a Tree Steward and outstanding speaker who holds credentials as an ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist®, ISA Board Certified Master Arborist® and has ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification.

…and a tree planting demonstration, a pruning demonstration and a tree walk just to enjoy the trees in Byrd Park!

Full details and sign up here:  Tree Care Workshop Registration

Free Trees for Homeowners in the City of Richmond–Update

As of 9/29, all of our trees have been claimed so the program for 2017 is closed.  We hope you’ll consider joining us for our Free Tree Care Workshop on October 21. 

Details here: Tree Care Workshop Registration

Thank you!

Our Community Roots program is offering trees to homeowners in the City of Richmond again this year.

For the first time, we have the opportunity to provide trees from our gravel beds and we are excited!  Though these trees are smaller and may have many fewer leaves that trees in containers, the beauty is in the roots.  At the link below you will find some information about gravel beds, the application, details about pick-up, and information about the species we offer. ‎

We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to help make Richmond a more beautiful and healthy place while providing environmental benefits at the same time.   Act now before all the trees are claimed.


This project is made possible thanks to a grant from the Overton and Katherine Dennis Fund.

Let’s Plant Some Trees

Schools, “Friends of Parks” groups, houses of worship, and other non-profits in the City of Richmond…

Richmond Tree Stewards would like to help you put down some roots in your community with our Community Roots program.  We provide the trees along with support and education; you plant and care for them.

Healthy urban trees moderate our temperature, improve water quality, offer food and shelter for wildlife, and even benefit our own health.    Tree Stewards look forward to working with organizations interested in caring for and growing our urban canopy.

Click here for information and the application.

Application deadline is August 31, 2017


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Gravel Bed News–72 trees placed in our gravel beds this weekend!

Our team worked through the rain on Saturday to get 72 trees planted in our gravel beds.  Native trees… dogwood, sweetbay magnolia, pin oak, red maple and others were taken out of nursery pots and their  roots were washed and prepped for installation in the gravel bed.  By taking this step, the roots will grow in the gravel bed over the next few months.  These trees, with healthy root systems, will be available for planting in the fall.  The photo below shows how a red maple looks just before it goes in the gravel bed.

Jenna Evers helped us out on Saturday:  “I enjoyed getting the young trees ready for success in the gravel beds and beyond! It was a great way to get practice in correcting circling roots, planting, and tree ID.”  Thanks Jenna and everyone!