1959 When the neighborhood was being built in 1959–1960, our late neighbors Cal Foltz and John Volk made a special request to the County that they plant cherry trees instead of shade trees. Homeowners agreed to pay $10 per tree and the County agreed to plant cherry trees. The original trees are the Yoshino variety with a life span of 40-50 years.
1998 44 new Yoshino cherry trees were planted with the assistance of a pilot grant received from the County Dept. of Public Works and Transportation for $2,500.
2001 An additional 34 Yoshino trees were installed with the help of a second $2,500 grant awarded by the county for our neighborhood beautification projects.
Stakes The planting stakes around young trees need to stay in place for at least 1 year. This means all stakes can now be removed from the 1998 and 2001 young trees.
Watering Both the 1998 and the 2001 trees are considered young and are still quite susceptible to drought conditions. In the absence of sufficient rain, they need to be watered approximately twice each week with 5 gallons of water from April 1st until all the leaves fall off.
Mulch If you put mulch around your tree’s base, be sure to leave space right around the trunk so that air can circulate. This small well will also allow water to get down to the roots instead of running off the mulch mound.
Wrapping Helmut (our tree planter and advisor) does not recommend wrapping the trunks of the young trees because wrapping does not allow air to circulate and borers thrive in a moist environment.
Pruning Remove all tiny branches (suckers) to help shape your tree. If you choose to prune small branches, make the cut at least 1 inch from the base of the tree.
Removal If your tree dies, it is important to remove it promptly since borers travel from tree to tree. The County will take down all dead trees located on the County easement free of charge—call Brett Linkletter’s office [240-777-6000] to request removal. He is the arborist from the County Division of Highway Maintenance. For the best response, it is important that you talk to him personally [don’t leave a message]. Explain the condition of your tree and be sure to mention specific facts such as dead branches hanging over sidewalks, dead branches above areas where children walk and play, or dead branches that are hit by large trucks on a regular basis. This may happen right away or it may take several weeks but the tree will be removed. Be persistent.
Replacement Trees If you would like to replace a cherry tree on the County easement, call Scott Myers’s office [240-777-6000] to request a replacement tree. Most likely you will be offered a “flowering tree”, but you can specify that you want a cherry tree to match the other cherry trees in the neighborhood planted by the County. Be persistent. When the crew comes to plant the new cherry tree, it’s very important that the new tree be planted in a different location from the removed dead tree.
Borers During the summer of 2001, Guy Turene, a botanist from the County Division of Highway Maintenance, toured our neighborhood and recommended that all of the young trees (1998 and 2001) be treated for shot borers because he saw borer infestation in so many of them. Outward signs that your tree is infected may include oozing sap on the trunk or a sudden wilt and dying off of branch tips. It is also possible that no signs will be visible. After being infected, these young trees can die within a week if not treated.
The first treatment program recommended for our trees by Montgomery County experts was the application of a liquid insecticide containing Imidacloprid to the base of the tree (Bayer and Merit brands are available at Johnson’s in Kensington). While some trees have been saved, many have died.
Then we learned of a program offered by TruGreen-ChemLawn that has been used in the Kenwood neighborhood to protect its historic cherry trees. Through this program, each homeowner in the neighborhood has an individual contract with TruGreen-ChemLawn to treat the trees on their property at a reduced “group rate”. This treatment program has been very effective in protecting the cherry trees in Kenwood.
Rock Creek Woods Civic Association has arranged a similar program with TruGreen for treating our cherry trees. The company strongly recommends two treatments each year, one in May and the other in June.
Each neighbor will receive an individual contract from TruGreen. You are responsible for the details of your contract. Do confirm that you are receiving the special group rates that were established at the beginning of our neighborhood program with TruGreen. If you do not receive mail from TruGreen, call and ask them to send your contract with our special group rates.
Any questions concerning the treatment or the billing process should be directed to our representative at TruGreen-ChemLawn, Bret Daly (240) 388-6008. He quoted a price of $19.80 for a “trunk wash” for borers and $19.80 for fertilization for each tree.
For more information, you can contact:
Helmut Jaehnigen, Behnke Nursery 301-937-1100
Bret Daly, TruGreen-ChemLawn 240-388-6008
Neighborhood Cherry Tree Committee members: