Protecting the Beauty of 2.9 Million Trees

Photos of Autumn trees at Burke Lake

Autumn is officially here and Fairfax County’s estimated 2.9 million trees will be putting on a spectacular show of colors lasting a few weeks. Headliners include the county’s most common species: red maple, American beech and the tulip tree.

Virginia fall foliage timeframe graphic.

Peak foliage typically begins mid-October in Fairfax County.

Fairfax County has nearly six percent more tree canopy compared to other urbanized jurisdictions in Virginia. Our substantial 53 percent of tree cover not only adds to our quality of life, but also provides air quality, water quality and stormwater benefits. For example, a 12-inch red maple intercepts more than 2,000 gallons of stormwater runoff in one year.

Unfortunately, threats to the tree population are the same here as elsewhere in the United States. Tree loss is caused by humans, animals (deer overpopulation) and invasive insect species such as the emerald ash borer and the gypsy moth.

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Preserving and protecting our tree cover year-round is the responsibility of Urban Forest Management, which began in 1973 when the county adopted its first tree preservation and planting ordinance. Our 18 urban foresters are split into two branches, forest conservation (conserve tree cover) and forest pest (prevent infestations), who work closely with homeowner associations, residents and county agencies.

Listen to Urban Forest Management’s Keith Cline:

Guiding that work is the county’s Tree Action Plan, implemented in 2006. It provides guidance on the countywide tree planting program as part of our environmental agenda.

6 Things You Can Do for Trees
  1. Plant trees in your yard.
  2. Take care of the trees in your yard, including the correct use of mulch.
  3. Follow proper procedures for disposal of yard debris and household chemicals.
  4. Have a questions about trees? We have an urban forester available to answer questions at 703-324-1770 (TTY 711), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  5. Contact your Homeowners Association to find out about tree conservation efforts in your neighborhood. Get involved.
  6. Don’t let “woodchucks” touch your trees!

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