Ask Stewart Articles

Recent “Ask Stewart” articles published in the Warren County Report

Hey Stewart,
Last Saturday, I saw a bunch of people planting trees at
Burrell Brooks Park next to the library. Was that you?
    Mary Ellen on Main Street

YES, it was us, Mary Ellen!

On 9 December, during our first snowfall of the season, 20 people planted 20 trees in honor of the 20 year anniversary of the Front Royal/Warren County Tree Stewards.

A big thanks to the Warren County Parks & Recreation Department! The Director Dan Lenz (a founding member of Tree Stewards), with the support of County Administrator Doug Stanley, provided the equipment (backhoe), operator (Wes), and utility inspector (Clark) to dig the holes for planting the trees. The inspector knew where all the underground plumbing pipes and utility electric lines were located, and the backhoe operator found only rocks and soil in the tree planting locations.

The tree planting operation was led by David Means, and ably supported by Leslie, Vinnie, Ryan, Cheryl, Peg, Margaret, Peter, Melaney, Jessie, Deborah, Chris, Henry, Vicki, Joan, Bill, Kim, Melody, Richard, and Tricia. Here is the list of trees we planted:

4 October Glory Red Maples (acer rubrum)
2 Multi-stem Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadenis)
4 Multi-stem Dura Heat River Birch (Betula nigra ‘Dura Heat’)
4 Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
4 Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
2 American Linden (Tilia americana)

What a TREE-mendous day!

There will be an upcoming ceremony commemorating the planting and the 20 year anniversary with a plaque. Stay tuned!

    Pal in the Trees, Stewart

Hi Stewart,
What can you tell us about the Christmas tree?
    John in Front Royal

Merry Christmas John,
The Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas. The modern Christmas tree was developed in early modern Germany.

The tree was traditionally decorated with roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, tinsel, and sweetmeats. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification.

The Christmas tree became very common in the United States in the early nineteenth century. The first mention of the Christmas tree in American literature was in a story in the 1836 edition of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, titled “New Year’s Day,” by Catherine Maria Sedgwick, where she tells the story of a German maid decorating her mistress’s tree.

The TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) was influential on the pop culture surrounding the Christmas tree. The term Charlie Brown Christmas Tree is now used to describe any poor- looking or malformed little tree, usually the last one to be sold.

Each year, 33 to 36 million Christmas trees are produced in America, and many people like to use live trees which can be planted. Here are some tips for a successful planting:

1. Limit the amount of time your tree is indoors — 7-10 days is ideal. Daily watering is necessary to keeping your tree healthy.

2. Move your tree to a sheltered outdoor space to allow your tree to acclimate back to the cold. Continue watering it daily. Choose an open, sunny planting spot. Research the type of tree you have and its growth potential.

3. Dig the hole as early as possible in the season. If you’ve waited too long to dig and the ground is already frozen, try pouring boiling water onto the spot and then digging. Dig wide but not deep. Using a shovel, dig a hole twice as wide as the size of the root ball to give the roots a chance to spread. But don’t go any deeper than the height of the root ball.

4. Remove root ball coverings. Place the tree in the hole. Fill the hole back in. Tamp the soil gently, but don’t pack it in tightly. Stake your tree to keep it upright.

5.Water the newly planted tree. You do not need to use any sort of fertilizer – just plain water will do.

6. Mulch around the tree. Add a couple inches of mulch around the base of the tree as an insulating layer.

7. Monitor soil moisture. If your winter conditions are dry, occasionally water the tree to keep moisture near the roots.

    Your Pal in the Trees, Stewart