VDOT pruning master class

pruned lateral branches
One hears varying things about the Virginia Department of Transportation and trees. I have seen them prune trees with a bush-hog, a rotary mower on a hydraulic arm, whacking limbs off a tree, then moving on. I have heard VDOT credited with creating an acronym for trees, “FHO” (fixed hazardous objects). I have seen them do terminal pruning of trees, cut the trees at ground level that communities have loved and cared for.
Route 20 Monticello Gateway
Recently, I have heard VDOT praise the trees between Charlottesville and Albemarle in the median of Route 20. I like VDOT when they are in praise mode.

platanus occidentalis and FDR

I could never find sycamore sprouts because I didn’t know what I was looking for.

A sycamore can grow to massive proportions, typically reaching up to 30 to 40 m (98 to 131 ft) high and 1.5 to 2 m (4.9 to 6.6 ft) in diameter when grown in deep soils. The largest of the species have been measured to 53 m (174 ft), and nearly 4 m (13 ft) in diameter. Larger specimens were recorded in historical times. In 1744, a Shenandoah Valley settler named Joseph Hampton and two sons lived for most of the year in a hollow sycamore in what is now Clarke County, Virginia.[8] In 1770, at Point Pleasant, Virginia (now in West Virginia)[9] near the junction of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, George Washington recorded in his journal a sycamore measuring 13.67 m (44 ft 10 in) in circumference at 91 cm (3 ft) from the ground.[10]–Wikipedia

sassafras albidum

sassafras flowers
The aromatic smell of sassafras was described by early European settlers arriving in North America. According to one legend, Christopher Columbus found North America because he could smell the scent of sassafras
Sassafras albidum was a well-used plant by Native Americans in what is now the southeastern United States prior to the European colonization. The Choctaw word for sassafras is “Kvfi.” It was known as “Winauk” in Delaware and Virginia and is called “Pauane” by the Timuca.
Some Native American tribes used the leaves of sassafras to treat wounds by rubbing the leaves directly into a wound, and used different parts of the plant for many medicinal purposes such as treating acne, urinary disorders, and sicknesses that increased body temperature, such as high fevers. They also used the bark as a dye, and as a flavoring.–Wikipedia

Gray Coale and Sassafras Albidum at Swan Point

Apex Energy-SouthernDevelopment-McDonough v Quercus

tree lined street
Garrett Street in Charlottesville, between Ridge Street and Avon, has excellent “green infrastructure”. It is a canopy street. Trees provide shade and shelter, and lower temperatures in the summer.

green city ideology
In 2006 the Charlottesville City Council adopted a 2025 Vision. Item five of the eight point vision was “A Green City”

voting on street elements
The City adopted a plan in 2016 to guide the morphology of its streets. Citizens were involved in the development of the plan. People like canopy trees. Shade is a necessity in a southern city if you intend to walk in the summertime.

Plan 6010 student
The Garrett Street trees have been celebrated over the years.

In the last decade development pressure has focused on this corridor. But still, in the time of COVID-19, a number of the trees remain. (construction workers maintaining distance).

Garret Street stumps
This past week, seven Garrett Street corridor Pin Oaks were dispatched. 10-15,000 square feet of shade gone. Over a million leaves, gone. Carbon sequestration gone.
Apex Energy is building an eight storey energy efficient structure to the south of the stumps . The landscape plan for Apex’s new corporate headquarters shows these noble oaks being replaced by pagoda dogwoods, a flowering plant, a small deciduous shrub that grows to twenty feet, with a trunk up to six inches in diameter. Token trees.

The proposed plantings will not provide the environmental services that these trees brought to our City. This canopy street destruction is deeply discouraging.

screenshot from search for 2025 vision
According to talk on the street, the Apex building is being designed by William McDonough + Partners, two thoughtful companies…
Sometimes green is not green.