Caring for Maymont’s Trees
Inspired by their world-wide travels, the Dooleys imported more than 200 species of trees and plants for their estate, creating what is now one of the country’s notable arboretums. To help maintain the health of the Dooleys’ precious natural investment, Maymont receives generous annual tree-care contributions from Davey Tree and Truetimber Tree Service.
Davey Tree provides year-round care for 15 of Maymont’s most significant specimens. They include two Deodar Cedars, Laurel Oak, Tulip Tree, American Elm, Cucumbertree Magnolia, Atlas Cedar, Nordmann Fir, Golden Larch, European Linden, Persian Ironwood, Eastern Hemlock, Willow Oak, Ginkgo and Spanish Fir. Davey Tree is one of the oldest and most prestigious tree, shrub and lawn care companies in North America. It was founded in 1880 and has been employee-owned for more than 25 years, making it one of the oldest employee-owned companies in the United States.
Truetimber Tree Service
Truetimber Tree Service helps Maymont to care for its arboretum with an annual gift of tree work. For one full day each year, all of Truetimber’s work crews come to Maymont to perform various tree care services. Truetimber is a full-service tree care company structured to meet the tree-related needs of homeowners. In 2009, Truetimber enlisted the help of Richmond Crane for their annual tree care day at Maymont in order to remove a tree that threatened the Bison Habitat perimeter fence.
City of Richmond Urban Forestry Division
The City of Richmond Urban Forestry Division assists Maymont in times of need, removing hazardous trees from the estate. Their goal is to keep the property safe for our guests. Maymont works with city arborists, Luke McCall and Mike Mather, when tree assistance is urgent.
Tree Care Tips
Maymont is known for the beautiful trees growing throughout the property. Caring for these majestic giants can be very challenging, particularly as they show signs of aging. Every homeowner who enjoys the cool shade provided by a tree understands the value of trees in the landscape. Simple tasks can be done to improve the health of any tree.
When planting a tree, do not plant it too deep. Tree roots need oxygen; a lack of oxygen could cause the tree to die.
Mulch the tree once it is planted to aid in retaining soil moisture and to buffer the soil against temperature extremes. Don’t mound the mulch up around the trunk but create a donut-style mulching pattern (mulch 1″ deep nearest the trunk, then make a 4″ deep ring from there to about 24″ out). Maymont uses this method and we find mulching also reduces lawn mower and Weed-eater damage to the trunk.
Water a tree for one year after it has been planted. The heat of the summer stresses any plant, especially a newly-planted tree. Roots continue to grow as long as the soil temperature is above 40 degrees, so remember to water during dry winters, too. At Maymont in Central Virginia, the soil temperature rarely falls below 40 degrees.
As the tree grows it will need to be pruned. Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure next to watering, and is often desirable or necessary to remove dead, diseased, or insect-infested branches, improve tree structure, enhance vigor, or maintain safety. Since each cut has the potential to change the growth of (or cause damage to) a tree, no branch should be removed without a reason.
If a large limb is to be removed, its weight should first be reduced. This is done by making an undercut about 12-18 inches from the limb’s point of attachment. A second cut is made from the top, directly above or a few inches further out on the limb. This removes the limb leaving the 12-18 inch stub.
The stub is removed by cutting back to the branch collar. The branch collar contains trunk or parent branch tissue and should not be damaged or removed. This technique reduces the possibility of tearing the bark. Finally, don’t “paint” the fresh cut with any material; this promotes rot.
Hiring an arborist to care for the trees in a landscape is a wise step in promoting the life of any tree. Hire an arborist that is a fully-insured certified professional. Ask for references and check on them. Hiring a professional will benefit the tree, the landscape and the investment made in your home. Maymont uses certified, fully-insured professional arborists to care for the unique trees growing on the property.
This page was sponsored by a grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry.