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Vienna to replace invasive trees, thanks to anonymous $20,000 donation

Trees along Nutley Street in Vienna. The town has 76 trees on the meridian and plans to replace dozens of invasive Bradford pear trees (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Town of Vienna leaders agreed to replace dozens of trees on Nutley Street after a citizen raised concerns about several invasive ones there.

The citizen, who wishes to remain anonymous, is giving $20,000 to the town, which agreed yesterday (Monday) to replace 27 Bradford pear trees (also known as Callery pear trees). The trees, which produce white flowers and can reach 60 feet in height, frequently choke out native plants when birds eat and spread their fruit.

“South Carolina…actually offers a bounty on people…bringing Bradford pears in,” Bob Robinson, a member of the town’s Conservation and Sustainability Commission, told the Vienna Town Council during the meeting.

The town will replace the Bradford pear trees with trees native to Virginia, including black gum, honey locust, and willow oak.

Vienna Parks Maintenance Superintendent Jeremy Edwards said the replacement trees will start with a height of around 7 to 9 feet, noting that other smaller trees planted there two years ago are now about 10 feet tall. Once they adapt to the soil, the newcomers will grow much larger, he said.

Town officials also discussed putting up signage when crews replace the trees to help inform the public.

According to Leslie Herman, the town’s parks and recreation director, it will take about a month in between removing and replanting trees. The town will replace the trees by the end of fiscal year 2023.

The money will be used to “dismantle and remove the existing Bradford/Callery Pear trees that are currently located on the Nutley Street median. The donation will then be used for stump grinding, purchase, delivery, and planting the native trees, mulching, and other services,” according to town staff.

If money remains, the town will use it to replace Chinese pistache trees on Nutley Street with Virginia native trees and then Linden trees that are in poor health.

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