Ten trees, nine located on public property and one on private property, were designated as “Specimen Trees” by the Urban Forestry Commission and approved by the County Board on March 15, 2008. Most of these trees were documented as part of the Natural Heritage Resource Inventory Project and are currently designated as “Champion Trees” through Arlington County’s new Champion Tree Program. The tree located on private property was nominated by the owners of the property where the tree is located. View a short video about the Specimen Tree Program and these trees.
Designation as “Specimen Trees” through the Tree Preservation Ordinance will result in their protection from removal or injury. Arlington County’s Tree Preservation Ordinance (Chapter 67, Trees and Shrubs) provides a mechanism for the County Board to designate Heritage, Memorial, Specimen and Street Trees on both public and private property, which may result in special protection from removal or damage.
Privately Owned Tree
White oak (Quercus alba) located in the front yard at 4836 30th Street North
Publicly Owned Trees
|Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea) on the grounds of the Lee Community Center (5722 Lee Highway)|
This County Co-Champion scarlet oak is the fourth largest of its species in the state. It is well proportioned and exhibits a classic flare at the base of its trunk. It is probably one of the oldest trees in the Westover area.
Chestnut oak (Quercus prinus) located in Bluemont Park
|Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) adjacent to the picnic shelter in Bluemont Park|
This County Champion swamp white oak is not only significant for its size and age, but is also rare in Arlington and represents an historical remnant of the original floodplain swamp forest that once existed along this portion of the Four Mile Run stream valley.
|Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) on the grounds of Fort C.F. Smith Park|
This County Champion tulip poplar is currently the largest tree measured in Arlington County. It is almost 21 feet in circumference and 140 feet tall. This specimen is most likely one of the few trees at historic Fort C.F. Smith to pre-date the civil war.
|Swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii) located in Nina Park|
Swamp chestnut oaks are currently considered to be a rare local species in Arlington due to past destruction of wetland forests. This specimen is the current County Champion for the species. It grows in a small urban park in an area that once supported a large expanse of wooded wetlands and swamp forests.
|Two Virginia pines (Pinus viginiana) located in Lacey Woods Park|
These two Virginia pines grow within 20 feet of each other in Lacey Woods Park. They represent the largest and the second largest Virginia pines currently listed in the State. This is not a long-living species, and these two trees probably date from the time of farmland abandonment. They are estimated to be between 85 and 100 years old.
|Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea) located in Chestnut Hills Park|
This tree is the current County Co-Champion scarlet oak, and is tied as the second largest in the State. It is growing in a small neighborhood park that appears to have been part of an historic homestead.
In November, 2002, the Arlington County Board approved a Tree Preservation Ordinance, Chapter 67 (Trees and Shrubs). The Tree Preservation Ordinance focuses on two main areas: 1) the protection of trees on County property (or public vehicular and pedestrian easements maintained by the County), and 2) establishing a mechanism for designating Heritage, Memorial, Specimen and Street Trees on both public and private property, which may result in special protection status. The recommended designation of nine publicly owned trees and one privately owned tree as “Specimen Trees” under this ordinance will provide special protection for these trees. The nine publicly owned trees were nominated for designation by Arlington’s Urban Forestry Commission. The privately owned tree was nominated for designation by the owners of the property where the tree is located.
The Tree Preservation Ordinance stipulates that no designated trees shall be removed or damaged in any way unless the County Board determines that: (a) there is an overriding need for public improvements; or (b) a severe hardship exists for reasonable use of a site. Should the County Board determine to permit such treatment, the Board may require that the tree be replaced with a similar tree or trees to approximate the canopy lost, and must issue a writing specifying the action permitted, the tree and its location, and the findings justifying the permission. However, nothing shall prevent the County Manager from permitting the removal of a tree in the event that the Urban Forester determines that the tree is dead, has become irreversibly diseased or irreversibly damaged by natural causes, or presents a hazard to the public.
Any person or entity who violates Arlington’s Tree Preservation Ordinance by causing, contributing to, or permitting injury to or removal or destruction of a Heritage, Memorial, Specimen, or Street Tree shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 for each violation.
Arlington’s Tree Preservation Ordinance also states that the provisions governing the preservation of designated Heritage, Memorial, Specimen and Street Trees “shall not apply (a) to work conducted on Federal or State property; (b) to emergency work to protect life, limb or property; (c) to routine installation, maintenance and repair of cable and wires used to provide cable television, electric, gas or telephone service; (d) to activities with minor effects on trees, including but not limited to home gardening and landscaping of individual homes; and (e) to commercial silvicultural or horticultural activities, including but not limited to planting, managing, or harvesting forest or tree crops”.