The black walnut tree at the entrance of Pocahontas State Park before
tree work was done.
On the Friday before Labor Day a large numbers of visitors flocked to Pocahontas State Park and upon entering the park they were greeted by the charismatic black walnut tree which is estimated to be more than 50 years old. The black walnut tree has not always had it easy. High winds have broken limbs; asphalt and lawn have reduced the amounts of water and nutrients reaching the tree’s roots; and this year fungi caused anthracnose and some leaf spot on the walnut’s leaves.
Tree work performed by Arborscapes, LLC, at Pocahontas State Park. In the bucket: Shane Lawler; tree climber: Hunter Matthews.
But things are looking up for this beleaguered tree.Arborscapes, LLC, a tree management and plant health care company from Powhatan. Arborscapes offered graciously to provide tree care as a community service, and sent certified arborist A. J. Elton to determine what care the black walnut needed.
Tree work in the black walnut tree performed by Arborscapes, LLC, employees Shane Lawler (left) and Hunter Matthews.
So on the Friday before Labor Day, tree care specialists Shane Lawler and Hunter Matthews arrived with a bucket truck, climbing ropes, pole saws, and chain saws. In consultation with Elton, they came up with a plan of action: The crown of the tree needed to be cleaned up by removing all dead branches and stubs. Some structural pruning needed to take place, especially to prevent limbs from rubbing up against each other, because this would weaken both limbs. And thirdly, a one pound soil sample would be collected from various places underneath the tree to determine the acidity and fertilization needs of the soil.
The black walnut tree at the entrance of Pocahontas State Park at the completion
of the tree work.
Lawler and Matthews then went up into the tree – Lawler in the bucket, and Hunter by climbing rope. They expertly carried out the plan. Their movements through the tree were carried out with great precision, while never sacrificing safety. After almost three hours their work was complete, the black walnut tree looking rejuvenated. This fall the Arborscapes company will return with after care, and fertilize the tree. Park staff will replace the grass underneath the tree with mulch. The big black walnut tree sure is looking better now, ready to greet Pocahontas’ guests – hopefully for at least another 50 years!
The park is located in Chesterfield County, about 20 miles from Richmond. It's easily accessible from Interstate 95, Route 288 and Route 360.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia, two hours; Richmond, half an hour; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, two hours; Roanoke, three hours.