Castanea dentata

Castanea dentata seedling
Fortunately, there are not too many parallels between COVID19 and the American Chestnut blight. But in common there is awareness and awakening. Minimize death, be careful. The awakening part… Have you planted a tree during this life? What are you waiting for? It is a rehabilitative and blessed thing to do. Plant. Now. #growingtowardthelight
large dead chestnut tree
The Family of James and Caroline Shelton pose by a large dead American chestnut tree in Tremont Falls, Tennessee, circa 1920. Courtesy of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Library

Greatest forest loss in history

The American chestnut is an historic and beloved part of America’s landscape. Its extinction would be the loss of a symbol of American strength, endurance and resourcefulness. Saving the chestnut and restoring it to its native range at scale could also help give other endangered tree species a new lease on life and directly offset the effects of climate change and deforestation. While no single intervention can completely eradicate chestnut blight, together the science of breeding, biotechnology, and biocontrol (3BUR) offer our best hope for rescuing the American chestnut tree.—The American Chestnut Foundation

quercus

at night

“I willingly confess so great a partiality for trees as tempts me to respect a man in exact proportion to his respect for them. He cannot be wholly bad who has a sympathy with what is so innocent and so beautiful. But quite apart from any sentimental consideration, the influence of trees upon climate and rainfall gives to the planting of trees, and to the protection of them where nature has already planted them, a national importance. Our wicked wastefulness and contempt for the teaching of science in this matter will most surely be avenged on our descendants. Nature may not instantly rebuke, but she never forgives the breach of her laws.” March 25, 1888, James Russell Lowell

shade tree

Sorry to lose the Monsoon oak. Couldn’t we build another? Manufacture a trunk, a branch system, put a few hundred thousand leaves on limbs. Develop mechanical systems to allow the leaves to transpire, create shade and a microclimate on the terrace.

tree tubes

When Tilly was 10 weeks old she hung out while I planted 41 tulip trees in tubes.

Two years later all those trees have survived. Some have thrived, others are only slightly larger than when they were planted. Same weather, same soil, same source. What is the variable that accounts for the difference?

Tree tubes are not magic. Maintenance is required.

favorite things v land use plan

Rivanna trail
pedestrian/bike trails, overarching tree canopy, falling snow, walks by the river…

draft land use map
The draft land use plan now being considered by Council and the Planning Commission shows the Rivanna river trail passing through a “High Intensity” river corridor from the residential Woolen Mills neighborhood to the VFW Post on River Road…

High Intensity

These (the purple shaded areas) are the most intense, urban areas within the City and allow for the highest density developments.
To increase access to housing for all, the City should incentivize on-site affordable dwelling units. In addition, the City should incentivize development to incorporate civic space, such as public meeting space, public parking, or other public needs. Buildings, rather than developments, should provide reasonably consistent street level uses along public rights of way. Mixed use development should be encouraged throughout the site, while passive uses that do not create activity at the street level should be discouraged. These areas should have intense activities that attract large employment centers. New developments should be contextually sensitive to the existing street grid pattern and create buildings that are close together. Areas just inside the City limits should be transit hubs where parking should be integrated into a larger parking plan as part of a regional parking strategy.