All posts by Jim Abbot

Bioswales on Highland Avenue!

On Saturday, March 23, 2019, Trees Atlanta and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper installed the first of two bioswales on Highland Avenue. They had the help of several volunteers from Inman Park, including Jamie Allen, Chuck Young, and Jim Abbot.

Bioswales are landscape elements intended to capture, clean, and infiltrate stormwater on site. Trees Atlanta, in the person of Kelly Ridenhour, and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, represented by Eric Fyfe, received a grant to pilot a simple and inexpensive approach to retrofitting existing street features, such as sidewalk rights-of-way and bump-outs, into bioswales.

Each new vegetated bioswale — at Highland’s intersection with Washita — will be home to one big-flowered silverbell tree (Halesia diptera var. magniflora), together with ground cover including Virginia sweetspire, eastern bluestar, river oats, coneflowers, and more.

Public Service Announcements

Getting Some Tree Work Done?

Get multiple bids with detailed estimates of the costs and time required.

Ask whether the work will be planned and supervised by an arborist who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

What equipment will be used? If you are told that a crane or boom lift is necessary, ask why the work can’t be done by tree workers climbing with ropes.

How will they clean up your property at the completion of the removal or pruning?

Exercise some due diligence. If you spot a tree worker in a boom lift (see photo above) wielding an unsecured chainsaw without any protective gear at all (hardhat, safety glasses, earplugs, gloves), you’ve hired the wrong company. If workers seem to you to be insufficiently careful around the chipper, you’ve hired the wrong company. Ask them to stop work immediately and insist on speaking with a manager.

Note that some tree services are investing in electric equipment and committing to practices that are better for the environment. If you can afford to pay a little extra for that service, you will be encouraging other companies to do the same.

Here’s an earlier post on this website about selecting a tree service company.

Hiring a Lawn Service? 

Does the company offer a clean and quiet service using battery-powered and manual equipment? Does it have expertise in organic lawn and plant care?

What is the minimum number of times each month that you absolutely need this service? Do you need it year-round, e.g., even in winter?

Can the work be scheduled at a time when it is least likely that the noise will disturb your neighbors, e.g., not on a weekend and not early in the morning or late in the afternoon?

Do the workers seem professional and well-trained? Do they wear protective gear? Are they paid a living wage?

Hiring Someone to Spray for Mosquitoes?

Before you sign up, do your homework. Are you breeding mosquitoes by leaving standing water on your property? Can you adequately protect yourself by applying repellent or screening a porch? What chemical will the company use, and what can you find out about that chemical by doing your own research? Are you vulnerable enough to the inconvenience of a mosquito bite or the remote chance of contracting a mosquito-borne disease that it outweighs the environmental damage caused by the spraying, e.g., the killing of bees?

Here’s a Consumer Reports article on whether to spray your yard for mosquitoes and ticks. And once again, as with anyone visiting your property to do work, insist on professionalism and adequate safety measures: if the young person misting your yard is wearing no protective equipment at all, for example, ask why.

Updated Volunteer Opportunities, March-April 2019

 

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.
Tree Ordinance Talk & Information Session at Trees Atlanta’s Kendeda Center in Reynoldstown. The City of Atlanta has begun a critically important process to rewrite our tree protection ordinance. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that will have a bigger longterm impact on our urban forest than this revised ordinance. At this information session, Trees Atlanta will have pizza, explanations, opportunities for you to comment and ask questions, and the like. Here’s more info on the event.

Saturday, March 16, 9:00 a.m.
We’ll be back in the southern half of Springvale Park to continue removing woody invasives. Meet as usual on the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Waverly Way.

Saturday, March 23, 9:00 a.m. 
We’ll be installing nifty “bioswales” in two bump-outs on Highland Avenue, at its intersection with Washita. Here’s more info.

Saturday, April 13, 9:00 a.m. 
We’ll be mulching trees within the Festival zone.  Meeting spot TBD, but probably along Euclid Avenue at Poplar Circle, near the intersection with Hurt Street.

We Need Volunteers in 2019!

Saturday, February 16, 2019, 9:00-Noon
Springvale Park Forest Restoration

Help remove invasive plants from Inman Park’s crown jewel, emerald-green Springvale Park. This project is best for ages 12 and up, children to be accompanied by an adult. No prior experience is necessary – we’ll provide tools and teach you what to do. Physical activity such as bending, sawing/snipping, and lifting is required. Meet in the park near the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Waverly Way.

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 9:00-Noon
Freedom Park Shade Tree Planting

Help plant trees in Freedom Park to shade and cool the path, clean our air, reduce stormwater runoff, dampen noise, and provide habitat for critters. No prior experience is necessary — we’ll provide instruction and tools. All ages welcome, though children should be accompanied by an adult. Physical activity is required: digging, bending, lifting, etc. Meet in Freedom Park near the intersection of Sinclair Avenue and Austin Avenue.

Date and Time TBD
Installation in New Stormwater Planters

Help install plants in new stormwater planters that will soon be constructed along Highland Avenue at the Washita intersection. Check back here later for details.

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 9:00 AM-Noon
Inman Park Pre-Festival Tree Maintenance

Help mulch trees in Inman Park to get the neighborhood looking pretty for Festival. No prior experience is necessary — we’ll teach you everything. This activity is best for ages 12 and up, with children to be accompanied by an adult. Physical activity is required: filling and lifting buckets of mulch, walking, etc. The meeting place for this project is TBD, though in past years it’s been along Euclid Avenue at the Poplar Circle section of Freedom Park, near the intersection of Hurt Street and Euclid Avenue.

Springvale Park Restoration

Inman Park Tree Watch has been working with Trees Atlanta and the IPNA Springvale Park Committee to restore the natural half of Springvale Park, lying south of Euclid Avenue, to a healthy condition.

The project is being funded by the Inman Park Neighborhood Association, Springvale Park Committee, and the Trolley Barn.

By summer 2018, invasive trees, shrubs, and vines had become rampant throughout the forest:

The plan to remove these invasive plants calls for five to six volunteer projects in addition to high density professional herbicide treatment of the ground layer.

The first workday was held in September 2018. Volunteers pulled up Japanese chaff flower, a perennial which tends to form dense monocultures capable of shading and outcompeting native plant species.

In October, November, and December, students in a Forest Stewardship workshop being conducted by Trees Atlanta did work in the park, including cutting English ivy from some of the towering  hardwoods in Springvale.

On January 26, 2019, we attacked woody invasives including Carolina cherry laurel, leatherleaf mahonia, thorny olive, bush honeysuckle, Chinese privet, and southern magnolia:

Meanwhile, preparations are being made for the eradication of English ivy and creeping liriope or monkey grass from the forest floor:

So, in sum, steady progress is being made toward our goal of a healthy, beautiful, and more usable Springvale Park:

Already appearing from underneath the choking layers of invasive plants are gems like this white oak seedling:

Once invasive plants are removed and a plan is in place to prevent their return, we will be planting new shrubs and trees in the park. Interestingly, we are fortunate to have, for consulting, the 1903 plans formulated by the Olmsted Brothers firm, at the request of Joel Hurt:

The next volunteer workday will take place on Saturday, February 16, 9:00 AM to noon.