Landscape Committee News

November is a busy month. Leaf removal begins the first full week of November. A second leaf removal should happen before Thanksgiving, with the final removal prior to Christmas. Keep in mind that all of this is weather dependent.

The other big event is the annual tree trimming. No, not Christmas, but actual TREE TRIMMING. The Board has contracted with Moore and Wright to remove overhanging limbs, dead branches, and in some cases, dead trees. Don’t be surprised if you hear the sound of buzz saws and wood grinding starting around or about mid-November. Again, this is weather dependent.

The Mews scored a free Swamp Oak for Court 6. The tree will be planted sometime this fall and maybe even into early winter. As everyone knows, nothing is really “free”. The application process was long requiring maps and photographs. Submitting the on-line application proved to be the most challenging, but we were finally successful. Knowing the process, the Landscape Committee will apply for more trees next year.

Finally, Fern Birtwistle and I attended a seminar at NVCC on November 2 about “Sustainable solutions to landscaping headaches.” The seminar targets condominium and homeowners associations and focuses on the use of native and indigenous plants.

All the news for now.

Sue Davis Co-chair, Landscape Committee 

Time to Winterize!

Freezing temperatures are in the forecast so it’s time to turn off your outdoor faucets.

  1. Turn the water off from inside your unit.
  2. Open the outside faucet to drain remaining water. Leave the faucet in the open position over the winter. 
  3. Hoses should be removed and stored for the winter to prevent any remaining water in the hose from traveling back into the pipes and freezing. 

In most units the shut-off valve for the backyard faucet is under the kitchen sink.  You’ll find the shut-off valve for the front faucet in the basement next to, or above, the hot water heater. If you’re in a B-building the lower unit’s front and back shut off valve is in the laundry room.

Landscape Committee News

Tree Tagging

Sometime within the next two weeks you may see a man nailing small metal tags onto the trees in the Mews.  The Landscape Committee hired an entomologist to identify and tag each of our trees with a unique number.  He will create a spreadsheet for the committee to keep track of trees that have been pruned, diseased, or worse, died.  For example, if an Eastern Red Cedar shows evidence of insect infestation, we can locate additional cedar trees on Mews property quickly.  Besides tagging trees, N.A.T.E (Not A Typical Entomologist) creates “bugscapes” for homeowners interested in promoting insects that feed birds and other wildlife.

Another benefit is keeping track of our tree diversity so we can plant native trees recommended by the county as our older trees mature.  Arlington County has an Urban Forestry Commission and advises the county on ways to improve sustainability of our urban tree canopy. They also offer free trees through a grant program.  The Mews applied for, and was granted a free tree this year that should be planted later this fall.  Based on this experience the Landscape Committee plans to apply for additional trees next year.  This link will provide more information about the Arlington program. https://environment.arlingtonva.us/trees/plant-trees/recommended-trees/

Why native trees and plants, you may ask?  Because the trees and plants are from this environment, they are best adapted to the climate of Northern Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Overall, the trees and plants are healthier, drought resistant, and provide habitat for local wildlife. 

Wildlife

Deer are breaking summer camp and on the move. They have been seen in Court Six and probably others as well.  Take extra caution driving in early evening and morning when they are most active.  

How can you help? Please Continue Watering!!!

All of our plants need water, especially newer ones.  We are moving into a drought situation and the shrubs and trees outside your homes need a drink.  There are also younger trees in every court that are stressed.  Signs of stress usually appears in foliage that looks brown or withered.  There are green watering bags available if your court needs one.  They should be filled every two days.  The committee has identified some of the trees in each court and are looking for court members to assist with watering. Please volunteer.

Flower Bed Waiver Forms

Some Mews owners and renters want to plant flowers and shrubs in front of their property.  The Landscape Committee loves this, but we need to know who you are.  We urge you to complete the Flower Bed Waiver form on the website.  Yes, you may have done this in the past, but our information needs updating.  Once you have submitted the form, the Landscape Committee will distribute red reflectors.  This indicates to Environmental Enhancements, our landscape contractor, that this area is taken care of by the homeowner.    

https://fairlingtonmews.org/maintenance-variances/flower-bed-waiver/

Landscape Committee News

First of all, Straw Hats Off and Two Green Thumbs UP to Judith Guerny who stepped down as the Landscape Committee Chair in July.  Judith was a guiding force for the committee.  Her input will be missed.  

Last year the committee was focused on landscape damage control from Verizon and fence replacement activity.  This year we are addressing King Street tree and shrub replacement. We are using guidelines from Arlington’s Urban Forestry Commission and Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping in selecting trees and plants for the renewal.  Native plants are often less prone to disease and many are drought tolerant. Diversity and maintenance of our existing plants and trees is imperative. The county offers Free Tree Distribution programs which the Mews has applied to and received a freetree that meets the guidelines mentioned above.  We will use this program again to apply for more free trees next fall.  Other Fairlington neighborhoods are moving in the same direction and we are in touch with and collaborating with these communities.

How can you help?

Watering

All of our plants need water, especially newer ones.  We are moving into a drought situation and the shrubs and trees outside of your homes need a drink.  There are also younger trees in every court that are stressed.  Signs of stress usually appears in foliage that looks brown or withered.  There are green watering bags available if your court needs one.  They should be filled every two days.  The committee has been identified some of these trees in each court and are looking for court members of assist with watering.  Please volunteer.

Waiver Forms

Some Mews owners and renters want to plant flowers and shrubs in front of their property.  The Landscape Committee loves this, but we need to know who your are.  We urge you to complete and Flower Bed Waiver form on the website.  Yes, you may have done this in the past, but our information needs updating.  Once you have submitted the form, the Landscape Committee will distribute red reflectors.  This indicates to Environmental Enhancements, our landscape contractor, that this area is taken care of by the homeowner.    

https://fairlingtonmews.org/maintenance-variances/flower-bed-waiver/

Work Days

Have a messy spot in your court?  The Landscape Committee will hold quarterly work days for cleaning up the landscape.  Recently, board member Gabe Butler, addressed a problem in Court 1.  A resident was over run with spreading nandina and ivy. Gabe worked to help remove the invasive plants. This saved the Mews over a thousand dollars.  This is just one way your board is working for you, the resident. More to come on when these days will take place and what areas will be addressed.

REMEMBER when we, as residents, work together on a landscape issue as above, this saves the community money and will help keep condo fees in check.

Volunteers

Interested in assisting.  We would love to have your help.  Contact Sue Davis at shoeboxsue@gmail.com

Your Landscape Committee

Sue Davis

Fern Birtwistle

Penny Glass