The blooming, pink-tinged flowers have long served as a symbolic announcement of spring’s arrival in the D.C. area, but the sight might be especially welcome this year after a winter that proved challenging for reasons only partly related to the weather.
“It [always] gets quite busy here this time of the year,” Meadowlark park specialist Jeff Hill said. “But this year, there’s a slight edge of frenziness to it.”
Run by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks), Meadowlark is home to at least 60 to 80 cherry trees, a number of which are the same species as the ones at the Tidal Basin (Yoshino). The oldest ones were planted back in the late 1980s, while other cherry trees were planted more recently over the past several years.
Hill says that, particularly in the last four or five years, the trees have grown “exponentially in popularity.”
They are scattered throughout the 95-acre property, but mostly concentrated near the Visitor’s Center and down by the lakes.
According to Hill, the ones closer to the Visitor’s Center are already in bloom and are nearing their peak. The trees by the lakes just started to open earlier this week, so those blossoms should be nearing peak bloom as well by this weekend.
However, the recent cold weather could majorly impact them.
“Anything that’s in full bloom right now, will probably be affected the hardest,” Hill said. “Not only is it cold, they’ve been calling for pretty significant winds.”
However, he says that, since they haven’t fully opened up yet, the trees by the lakes “maybe able to skirt by” and remain on schedule to bloom come this weekend.
In terms of care, the staff at Meadowlark rarely interfere with the cherry trees aside from periodic pruning, monitoring for insects and fungi, and mulching.
“We try to leave things to be as natural as possible,” Hill says.
With the gardens expected to be very busy this weekend, Hill recommends visiting during the week if possible. Capacity limits are in effect, but since the grounds are so large, crowds should be minimized if people spread out.
“With the Tidal Basin so busy and popular, people are just looking for an alternative site,” Hill said. “[Meadowlark] is a great place because you have the water, you have the cherry trees…everything you need for a cherry blossom-style festival.”
Those trees date back to at least the early 1980s, according to the Reston Association, which does not own the trees, but occasionally prunes them to keep pathways clear.
The Van Gogh bridge was built in 1965 to link the Waterview and Washington Plaza clusters. It was designed by William Roehl, who also designed the nearby Swing.
A major county effort to restore heavily degraded stream areas at the Snakeden Branch at Lake Audubon is underway and should be completed by October of this year.
The county is working with Reston Association and neighbors to restore 750 linear feet of stream channel. The stream area is so degraded that it exposed sewer pipes between South Lakes Drive, Wakerobin Lane, Cedar Cove Court and Lake Audubon.
“Exposed utilities, including sanitary sewer, are a potential human and environmental health hazard,” according to the county.
Construction began in October last year and is expected to take one year to complete.
The project disturbs a little over half an acre of forested land, requiring the removal of 111 trees. When the project is complete, 326 will be planted, according to data provided by the county.
Once its complete, the project should improve water quality in the area, protect the local sanitary sewer system, remove invasive vegetation at the site, and reforest the area, resulting in improved wildlife habitat.
Here’s more on the project from RA:
Photos via Fairfax County Government
The holiday tree in Reston Town Center is set to light up this Friday (Nov. 29).
A half-hour-long holiday sing-along, in conjunction with the Reston Chorale and a brass quartet, will wrap up the evening after the tree is lit.
Attendees are encouraged to show up early and gather around Market Street near Fountain Square (11921 Freedom Drive).
Songbooks will be provided, and there will be a guest appearance from Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Photo via Facebook
Updated at 2 p.m. — Fox Mill Road is now open.
A fallen tree temporarily closed Fox Mill Road just south of Thoroughbred Road, the Fairfax County Police Department tweeted today (Jan. 15).
The large tree blocked the entire width of the road near the Reston-Herndon border.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue crews were busy chainsawing the tree around 12:50 p.m., according to the tweet.
The road reopened around 1:56 p.m., according to a second tweet from the police department.
UPDATE: Fox Mill Road is now open.https://t.co/JGkBZzbq2q
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) January 15, 2019
Map via Google Maps
Do you need a holiday tree?
The Christmas Tree Market at the Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Ave) will sell trees until 5 p.m. on Dec. 24.
Locals can also purchase ornaments, holiday gift baskets and treats.
The trees were delivered last Thursday (Dec. 13) to the three community centers that FACETS operates.
The Reston Farm Market provides fresh, locally-sourced produce, dairy and other farm-fresh goods. It will close for the season from Dec. 25 to March 15, but customers can still order firewood products online for delivery.
Photo via Reston Farm Market
“O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree” — If you’re looking for a place to get a tree this holiday season, this roundup lists nearby Christmas tree farms. [Reston Patch]
Dollars and Sense — The free monthly group at Reston Regional Library focuses on business leaders and markets. Tonight’s 7 p.m. discussion will be about Mel Lindauer ‘s book “The Bogleheads’: Guide to Investing.” [Fairfax County]
Tackling Reston’s housing inclusiveness — Richard Rothstein, author of “Color of Law: The Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America,” will lead a discussion on how housing policy impacts equitability and inclusiveness in Northern Virginia communities. An interactive panel discussion with local community experts will follow. The event takes place tonight at the Reston Community Center at 5 p.m. [Reston Community Center]
Investigating how the media impacts victims of crime — Karen Bune, a criminology professor at George Mason University, will dive into the news media’s role related to crime victims and ways to disseminate news without negatively impacting victims, survivors, confidentiality and ongoing investigations. The event is at 7 p.m. at the Herndon Fortnightly Library. [Fairfax County]
Photo via Ray Copson
Plans to restore roughly 800 linear feet of Lake Audubon’s streams were approved by Reston Association’s Design Review Board Tuesday night. The project, called Snakeden, would involve tree removal, stream construction and revegetation along RA’s parcels between Cedar Cove Cluster and Wakerobin Lane.
Meghan Fellows, the county’s manager of watershed projects, said a design team has been working on the project, with the input of RA, property owners and residents, for nearly three years.
“The stream is desperately in need of some assistance,” Fellows said at the DRB meeting, noting that portions of the area are degrading significantly.
Richard Newlon, the board’s chairman, said he hopes the project team will minimize the loss of trees by tweaking designs and implementation to conserve trees — even if it meant a minor tweak to save just one tree.
The project was challenged by the need to secure easements across private property and Reston Association property to construct the stream. Land rights for the project were obtained in June following a more than a year-long period of tree and stream surveys and conceptual planning.
After a cycle of revisions, permits were granted in October. After receiving final approval for designs, drawings and permits in the spring of next year, construction is likely to begin in the summer, Fellows said.
Overall, several sanitary crossings in the area are exposed and RA found that 40 trees are likely to fall down if no action is taken. Trees will be replanted during later phases of the project.
County staff estimates the project will cost under $1 million.
Photos via handout/Reston Association
Reston Association will lead a celebration of Arbor Day on Monday (April 2) by planting trees throughout Reston and learning more about the proper planting and care of trees.
An Arbor Day presentation and flag raising ceremony will be held at the Walker Nature Center (11450 State Route 4721) at 11:45 a.m., followed by a free pizza lunch for volunteers who planted trees earlier.
Tree planting will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will occur at various locations throughout Reston. Volunteers will be notified before Arbor Day which exact location they will be planting trees.
Groups are asked to register with Ha Brock by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-435-7986.
Reston is certified by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA, meaning the area celebrates Arbor Day, maintains a tree board or department, spends at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and has a community tree ordinance. As of 2017, Reston has 62,000 trees, according to the foundation.
The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is holding its annual seedling sale for Northern Virginia residents starting this month.
Two seedling packages are being offered for sale. The shrub and small tree package is on sale for $16.95 with 10 seeds, and the tree package features six seedlings for $11.95.
The native seedling sale helps to clean up the water and air. It also helps to prevent soil erosion by keeping the soil in place, said Lily Whitesell, a watershed specialist.
This year’s seedling packages are deer tolerant. Some of the species featured in the seedling packages are less palatable to deer and are fast growing so they can handle some deer as well.
“Across Fairfax County, we’ve really seen a lot of the understory of wooded areas be decimated by deer. We hope this will also help regenerate that growth,” Whitesell said.
Some of the featured plants include Eastern redbud, pawpaw, shortleaf pine, silky dogwood and witchhazel.
“The redbud is of interest to a lot of people because it has a really beautiful spring blossom. A lot of people this time of year are really thinking about the witchhazel because it has a very cool flower in the winter,” Whitesell said.
To keep the seedlings cheap, they are bought in bulk. If someone were to buy the same seedlings sold by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at the store, it would cost somewhere between $20 and several hundred dollars, she added.
Customers have until April 11 to order seedlings and can pick them up at the Packard Center in Annandale on April 20 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. or on April 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.
RA Offices Closed Today — Reston Association offices, including the Nature House and Central Services Facility, are closed today in observance of Columbus Day. [Reston Association]
North Shore Drive Sidewalk Project Planned — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a community meeting about the North Shore Drive sidewalk project Wednesday in the cafeteria of Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). Plans are to expand the sidewalk on the south side of North Shore Drive from Sycamore Valley Court to the existing sidewalk east of North Shore Court. [Fairfax County DOT]
Reston’s Tree Canopy Shown Off — Reston has a 49 percent urban tree canopy, RA Environmental Resource Supervisor Patricia Greenberg explains in Reston Association’s latest “Reston Today” video dispatch. In the video, Greenberg explains the benefits of the canopy and how to take care of it. [Reston Association/YouTube]
Why Reston is ‘One Better Than Ashburn’ — A recent Money magazine list named Reston the 29th-best place to live in America … and nearby Ashburn the 30th. A local blogger compared the communities in a tongue-in-cheek fashion and determined just how the magazine came to the conclusion that Reston is “Ashburn plus one.” [Restonian]
Final Week for Reston Community Center Preference Poll — Three incumbents are seeking to return to the Reston Community Center Board of Governors, and the community preference poll that guides the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in its choices ends this week. Each property in Small District 5 (SD5) is to have received a ballot in the mail. Mail-in ballots must be received by no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, while walk-in and online ballots can be submitted through 5 p.m. the following day. [Reston Now]
Herndon Police Collect Items for Hurricane Relief — The department collected the items to send to Puerto Rico and help residents there recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. [Herndon Police/Twitter]
SAIC Gets $250M USDA Contract — The Reston-based technology integrator was awarded the blanket purchase agreement to provide enterprise architecture and security support services to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Digital Journal]
Homeowners Save With Solar Energy — According to Fairfax County, 47 homeowners who signed contracts for discounted systems through Solarize Fairfax County will save about $1,250 per year on their electric bills. [Fairfax County]
Tree Management Workshop Set for Wednesday — Bartlett Tree Experts will discuss tree inventories, management plans and basic tree care during the event at Reston Association headquarters. [Reston Association/Twitter]
In order to comply with Virginia code regarding flood protection and dam safety, Reston Association crews will remove 143 trees in North Reston next month.
Most of the trees to be removed (131) are located near Butler Pond. Another dozen trees located near Bright Pond will also be removed.
The issue was brought to RA’s attention during a recent dam inspection by GKY & Associates.
According to Virginia code:
Dam owners shall not permit the growth of trees and other woody vegetation and shall remove any such vegetation from the slopes and crest of embankments and the emergency spillway area, and within a distance of 25 feet from the toe of the embankment and abutments of the dam.
Butler Pond is located on the west side of Reston Parkway near the intersection with Route 7. The trees in question line Reston Parkway, with most on the eastern side.
Bright Pond is located on the east side of Reston Parkway, north of the intersection with Wiehle Avenue. The trees in question there are located on the southeastern side of the pond, near Reston Association’s Pink Trail.
RA’s arborist and environmental crews are expected to begin the work during the first week of September. RA plans to replant trees beyond the 25-foot buffer area within the natural area behind Stones Throw Drive, beginning later in September.
Map of Butler Pond work plan courtesy Reston Association
Arbor Day may not officially be until the end of April, but that didn’t stop volunteers in Reston from marking the event a little early.
Friday morning at the Old Trail Natural Area, 70 volunteers and Reston Association staff participated in the community’s an Arbor Day tree planting. The event was a collaboration between Volunteer Reston and the National Wildlife Federation.
According to volunteer supervisor Ha Brock, RA celebrates Arbor Day earlier in the spring so it can stand alone from other Earth Day festivities in the community.
“A big thank you to all our volunteers,” Brock said. “Our work would not be possible without the work of our dedicated volunteers.”
A video showcasing the morning’s work is available on the Volunteer Reston Facebook page.
The goal, formally adopted in 2007, is to increase Fairfax County’s tree cover to 45 percent by the year 2037. Currently, the county has 40 percent tree cover. If tree planting efforts are not increased, by 2037 Fairfax could lose approximately 4 percent of its tree canopy cover.
To reach that goal, an additional 2 million trees — an average of 83,740 trees annually — will have to be planted, says the Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division. However, they point out that if every resident in Fairfax County plants two trees for every member of their household over the next 30 years, the county will exceed its longterm goal.
The county says it is limited by available space. here. There are only 4,200 acres available for tree planting on county-owned properties and commonly-owned open spaces. Therefore, the majority of tree planting required to meet the 30-year tree canopy goal will have to occur on privately-owned residential lots.
Here is what citizens can do to help Fairfax reach its goal:
- Plant trees on your property. Plant about 20 feet away from your home on the western exposures for optimum energy conservation.
- Plant at least one tree per car in your household to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Get involved with community tree planting groups such as Fairfax ReLeaf and Earth Sangha. For more information, visit www.fairfaxreleaf.org or www.earthsangha.org.
- Advocate for tree planting on commonly-owned open spaces in your community.
- Remember that all trees need to be maintained after they are planted. Visit the Virginia Department of Extension for more information about tree planting and maintenance.
- Be sure to plant the right tree in the right place. Use the Fairfax County Public Facilities Manual as a guide.
- Preserve trees during construction.
The Reston Comprehensive Plan Amendment, adopted by the Board of Supervisors earlier this year, says preservation of natural resources, including “use of closely spaced street trees and landscaping in open space areas to increase tree canopy in the transit station areas,” is a key element of Reston’s future.
Friends of Reston donated 50 trees to the community in honor of Reston’s 50th anniversary. The trees were planted on Arbor Day. Reston is a Tree City USA as certified by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Photo: Tree planting at Walker Nature Center in Reston/file photo
Photo: New trees planted on Fairfax County property/Credit: Fairfax County