“Tree Preservation Area” say the signs on chain-link fences surrounding beautiful old live oaks, a holly tree and more on a stretch of Atlantic Avenue between 74th and 75th streets in Virginia Beach.
The sign is builder Chris Ettel’s statement about protecting the trees along that stretch. His Virginia Beach company, VB Homes, is constructing five cottage-style, single family homes on lots on the two streets and the feeder road.
Live oaks are an iconic part of the North End, and many of them have been growing there for years. Ettel, who writes the “A Better Home” column for this publication, hopes that preserving the trees will make his new housing area “special.”
Ettel is a client of Billy Almond of WPL Site Design in Virginia Beach. Tree preservation has been an important piece of WPL’s design work for many years.
“There’s a big difference between not knocking trees over in construction or nicking them with equipment and soil compaction,” Almond said. “Most damage is done by soil compaction.”
Soil compaction occurs when tree roots are squashed from above by heavy equipment moving over the ground. It may take a tree several years to die from that kind of abuse, he explained.
The 6-foot-high chain-link fences encircle the drip line of the trees at the building site. From the tree trunk out to the drip line is the critical area that must be protected to prevent soil compaction, Almond said.
Only chain-link fencing is sure to keep construction workers out of the area. “The orange stuff is worthless,” he said.
The “orange stuff” is the orange plastic fencing that you see on construction sites, that is normally used to protect trees, utility poles and more.
Ettel agreed that the orange plastic fencing doesn’t really work. It’s too easy for a piece of equipment to invade the space.
“So we wanted to take it to another level,” Ettel said.
He also is preserving the trees by working with certified arborist Oscar Richardson in Chesapeake to limb up the trees and fertilize them.
“Doing what Chris did is a big deal,” Almond said. “Hats off to him.”
The live oak is the official Virginia Beach tree. The stately trees with their spreading branches make quite a statement at the Beach, especially close to the Chesapeake Bay and Oceanfront areas.
Live oaks are prized along the coast because they stand up to whatever Mother Nature throws at them, whether nor’easters, hurricanes or salt spray. Holding their ground, live oaks also help to control flooding and rainwater runoff.
Children love to climb them, squirrels and other critters love their acorns, and everybody loves to look at them.
Thank you to VB Homes and WPL Site Design for loving them, too.
I was struck by the bright yellow egg-shaped mushrooms I saw the other day in a planter outside McDonald Garden Center on Great Neck Road in Virginia Beach.
I had never seen this pretty yellow fungus before. Turns out they are known as the yellow houseplant mushroom. They are well-known by greenhouse growers because the mushrooms often turn up in rich potting soil, especially around plants that were grown in a warm greenhouse environment.
These little mushrooms were not much more than 2 inches tall at the time. But I later read that as they grow, the mushrooms’ little egg-shaped cap develops into more of an umbrella cap.
Houseplant mushrooms are not harmful to houseplants and are not harmful to humans unless eaten.
And while they were a delight to my eyes, I understand the cute little things could be a pain perhaps to greenhouse growers. If you happen to find them growing in your houseplants and want to get rid of them, one possible control is to remove the caps so they won’t release any of their spores and spread. Or, you could change out the soil altogether.
As for me, I’d welcome these perky little ‘shrooms in my houseplants any time.
By: Mary Reid Barrow; firstname.lastname@example.org