Community has wealth of beautiful trees

BY SUSAN JONAS

Garden Club of Danville

Danville is fortunate to have a wealth of beautiful trees, large and small. From its beginnings in 1935, the Garden Club of Danville has been a community leader in promoting tree planting and proper care.

Back in 1944 the club planted 100 tree saplings in then new Constitution Square Park. After learning this fact in 2019, the club hired Master Arborist Dave Leonard to survey the existing trees in the park and report on their condition.

At that time Leonard, of Dave Leonard Tree Specialists in Lexington, noted that many of the trees needed professional pruning. He suggested a workshop about proper pruning techniques for the city and county employees who care for trees in Danville and Boyle County.

The first workshop, sponsored by the Garden Club, was held in 2019, with 25 participants, including public works employees, club members, and homeowners. It was such a success that the Garden Club organized a second workshop recently.

At this year’s workshop on Aug. 20, Dave Leonard instructed public works employees who didn’t attend the first class, plus a new group of homeowners and club members, 20 in all.

The workshop began at Third Street Methodist Church with a slide presentation, including handouts about techniques and tools. The group then moved to Constitution Square for a hands-on demonstration.

“I couldn’t wait to get home from the workshop to check out the trees in my yard,” said participant and local homeowner Gene Carpenter. “I was able to identify in my own trees many of the techniques, both good and bad, that Dave showed us at Constitution Square.”

Carpenter said she was delighted by what she learned in just three hours. She can now start recognizing good tree structure and pruning practices. She was particularly concerned about evidence of poor pruning on the trunk of a young purple smoke tree planted in her yard just a year ago.

Even if people don’t prune their own trees, it is helpful to know what a properly pruned tree should look like, identify problems, and be able to check for proper techniques when others are doing the work.

Leonard emphasized that it is best to begin pruning regularly when trees are young, before problems get complicated and expensive. Spending time and money getting a young tree started off right will be worth the effort when the result is a healthy and beautiful tree.

Improper pruning can shorten the life of a tree by removing too much of the canopy or allowing disease and insects to infect it, as well as by distorting the natural shape of the tree.

For those who didn’t attend the workshop, free brochures about the correct way to prune shade trees, fruit trees, and shrubs are available at the Boyle County Cooperative Extension Service, 99 Corporate Drive in Danville.