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Workshop aims to help future of Morgan’s Grove trees

By Staff | Feb 9, 2018

Courtesy Photo Shawn Walker shows participants various tools of the tree pruning trade.

The Shepherdstown Community Club partnered with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society to learn the basics of tree pruning from local master naturalist Shawn Walker, owner of Trees 101.

Walker said the inspiration for the event came from a walk in the park and a discussion with Community Club President Mark Shields about the trees that had been planted there.

“The trees at the park are starting to get established and getting larger and could benefit from ‘structural pruning’ before they get too large and need to be done by bigger equipment,” Walker said. “Basically, that’s preventing defective form and failures. It’s pruning for structure and health.”

Walker began with a Powerpoint presentation at the War Memorial Building, educating the participants on the importance of tree pruning, as well as the details of how and when to prune. Participants then went to Morgan’s Grove, where two groups applied the lesson to practice pruning some of the park’s trees.

Starting about 10 years ago, the Shepherdstown Community Club, which owns Morgan’s Grove Park, began a program to plant new trees in MGP to replenish the tree canopy and diversify its tree culture.

According to Walker, it’s most advantageous to prune during the dormant season – winter – because it’s easier to avoid the spread of disease, minimize stress to the tree and maximize the tree’s ability to seal pruning wounds through the upcoming growing season. But he also says that sometimes one just has to prune when one can.

Walker offers a pruning workshop once or twice a year to volunteers and homeowners; part of the goal of this workshop is to educate people who are interested in contributing to the park by learning to properly prune the trees.

“They keep putting in new trees, so they are maintaining their tree canopy there,” Walker said. “Over time they are going to need pruning of all kinds, but most important will be the structural pruning.”

Walker has been working with the ash trees at the park and has helped save over 75 trees from the devastating Emerald Ash Borer with two treatments in 2014 and 2016, and another treatment scheduled for spring 2018. Each treatment costs approximately $11,000, according to Nancy Stewart, Community Club boardmember.

For more information on tree pruning or other topics, visit Walker’s blog at trees101.net.