by John Burwell
There’s a wild patch by the Broad Branch Stream along Nevada Avenue between Nebraska Avenue and 36th Street. And a few Boy Scouts have done a lot to tame it.
On May 15th and 16th, Life Scout and Wilson senior Henry Byrne-Kalsvik successfully directed volunteer scouts of Troop 52 to remove targeted invasive non-native plants and protect native trees and shrubs.
Henry’s Eagle Scout service project was an effort to restore the area to a balanced condition of native flora not dominated by exotics. Invasive bush honeysuckle, wineberry, multiflora rose, English ivy and porcelainberry vines were pulled out by the root or cut, removed and properly disposed of.
Native tree saplings and spice bush shrubs were recognized and preserved. The scouts were taught proper methods of tree transplantation including appropriate size and shape of a hole, height of root ball placement, depth, width and trunk clearance of mulching and fencing technique for protection from deer browsing and buck rub.
Other native trees on site were protected, including tulip, black walnut, box elder and black locust. And with permission from the DC arborist, the Troop 52 volunteers planted three popular street trees: tulip, dawn redwood and sycamore.
Scouts were instructed on the proper use of specialized tools and best management practices for the tasks required. Arboretum style identification tags were affixed to the protective fencing of new and existing trees.
These tree species ID tags served as an educational device for the scouts and will be a learning opportunity for neighbors and the public in general.
The newly planted trees will need to be watered regularly until they are established – usually three summers. Monitoring and controlling any return of threatening invasive plants and vines will also be necessary.
The scouts conducted themselves admirably. They were interested, industrious and courteous to curious thankful neighbors who stopped by. I would welcome their return and further volunteer service any time. And these trees will be enjoyed by all who pass by, and long stand as a testament of Troop 52’s volunteer service for decades to come.