Chinkapin oak

Here are a few of my favorite trees

Lexington is home to an astonishing number of very large, very old trees. Many of these trees were here before the city was settled and represent the original vegetation of the Bluegrass. As the city grew, the native woodland pastures were cleared for development, but the finest trees were often kept in yards, parks and […]

Rethinking Urban Forestry in Lexington

The urban forest of Lexington includes a remarkably large number of very large, very old trees, may of them predating the existence of the cities. These trees are now in trouble. Many of them are unhealthy because of neglect, poor management decisions, and old age. We need to change the way we view and manage these […]

Tree with Treegator bag

Water your young trees!

We are having a spell of beautiful weather – not too hot and with low humidity.  This weather may be fine for people, but it can be stressful to trees.  Trees lose more water from their leaves when humidity is low. I If the soil is dry, the trees may soon wilt or die back. […]

Dying street trees

A declining urban forest

It is that time of year when our urban forest seems to be lush, vibrant, and green.  Trees have finished leafing out, many have flowered and, with recent heavy rains, many are growing well.  To the casual observer, the urban forest looks like it is thriving.  People are planting trees all over town and nurseries are […]

The green terror emerges

The emerald ash borer, a shiny green beetle, is emerging from ash trees all over the eastern US and Canada.  The beautiful little beetle, part of a group called “metallic wood boring beetle” was introduced in packing material from China around 1990.  Carried throughout the region by people moving firewood, the beetle threatens to eliminate white, […]

Street Lights and Tree Growth

Urban trees live with all kinds of stresses that their forest cousins do not – road salt, soil compaction, lawn mower strikes. They also live in a different light environment, one in which it is never completely dark.  Spend the night deep in the woods and the only light you will see is from the […]

Great Trees of the Bluegrass

Today, we are launching a new project “Great Trees of the Bluegrass” to locate and identify important trees in our region. We have a new Facebook Group: Great Trees of the Bluegrass for you to contribute your own observations, and we are also creating a new web-based identification and mapping tool for your use. The purpose of […]

The Ingleside Oak

Finding Left-Behind Trees

Finding left-behind trees can be the start of an urban adventure.  As our woodland pastures were developed into urban areas, most of the trees of woodland pastures were cut down. A few remained, usually as single trees in a parking lot or front yard.  Here’s where the adventure comes in: when we find a single […]

Veteran Oak – A Left Behind Tree

The Veteran Oak in Lexington is one of the most iconic trees in the city.  A magnificent bur oak, it lies along a popular walking path on the south side of town.  The Veteran Oak is a left-behind, the only ancient tree in a young riparian (stream-side) forest.  Most of the ancient left-behind trees are on […]

Blue ash tree

Left-behind Trees

A left-behind tree is our term for woodland pasture trees that are left behind as lone individuals when farmland is urbanized.  You can help us find them. Woodland pastures are part of the original presettlement vegetation of the Bluegrass.  As some areas, especially in Fayette County, were urbanized, most of the trees of the woodland pastures were […]

The Old Schoolhouse Oak

The Old Schoolhouse Oak in the news again

Tom Eblen has a fine article in today’s Lexington Herald-Leader about the Old Schoolhouse Oak  and the commitment of Ball Homes to preserve the tree in a new housing development.  By my count, this is the 14th Herald Leader article about this splendid tree You can read the article at the Herald Leader or on […]

Good Urban Forestry For Resilient Cities, Part 1

A healthy urban forest is important as the world warms and cities become increasingly hot. The effects of climate change are exaggerated in cities due to the urban heat island effect. In a new article at Planet Experts, I begin a new series of articles on urban forestry and climate change.  The first installment is […]

Sassafras albidum in autumn

What is your favorite autumn tree?

What is your favorite autumn tree? Mine changes on a daily basis, but my current favorite has to be sassafras, Sassafras albidum. I like trees like sassafras and sweetgum that display many colors in a single tree. Sassafras is a great urban tree in fairly large spaces such as parks. It reproduces from root sprouts, […]

Ginkgo Trees Are Lovely – Let’s Stop Planting Them

Cities are heating up because of a combination of climate change, the urban heat island effect, and a loss of urban tree canopy cover. We can mitigate some of these effects and increase the resilience of urban environments  if we plant more trees. The wrong choice of trees, though, can reduce urban biodiversity and may […]

thousand canker disease

Death by a Thousand Cankers

We have posted a new article at Planet Experts, Death by a Thousand Cankers, about the tragedy of a new disease of black walnut.  Although not yet in Kentucky, is it present in surrounding states.  The disease is new and began in the western United States, where black walnuts have been introduced as ornamentals.  Since […]

Fixing Our Urban Tree Management Problems

At a workshop at Bell Place Park in Lexington last Saturday, we made considerable progress on improving urban tree management in  Lexington.  Although the weather was poor and the turnout small, some key people were there.  In addition to several citizens from the neighborhood, we were joined by LFUCG Council Member Steve Kay,  LFUCG Deputy […]

Ginkgo tree killed by stem damage

Walking Tour of Trees at Bell Court

Many people have expressed concern about the poor condition of trees in Lexington parks.  To help concerned citizens understand the nature of the problem and see some solutions, we are holding a walking tour of trees and tree condition at Bell Place Park in Bell Court, Lexington.   The tour is from 10 to 12 […]

Mower damage, old (O) and new (N)

Street tree abuse – Part II

Street tree abuse is our term for management of street trees that results in their death, or in severe damage that shortens their lives. We have previously shown examples of this throughout the Lexington area. Now, we show an egregious example of street tree abuse while it is happening. The scene is the Legacy Trail, […]

Street Tree

Street tree abuse – Part 1

Street tree abuse is all too common in many cities. Here, a tree was planted to high, leaving its roots exposed on the surface. This would not be a serious problem – it is better to plant too high than too low – if it weren’t for subsequent damage by mowers. Every exposed root of […]

Ginkgo tree killed by stem damage

Killing ginkgo trees

Killing ginkgo trees is not easy. The most ancient tree species on earth, it seems to have outlived most of its pests and pathogens.  The main cause of death for urban ginkgo trees is damage from mowers and string trimmers, and soil compaction. A ginkgo in Bell Place Park, in Lexington, KY, is on the […]

Soil compaction due to construction vehicles

You had an impact!

A lot of people called the city yesterday about the construction damage at Woodland Park, and the city responded. The city asked the contractor to remove vehicles from the park, and they appear to have done so to a degree. There is still a tracked vehicle parked next to one of the young beech trees. […]

Picture of a Friday Tree

Friday Tree

Here is the first Friday Tree. Each week, we will post a picture of a tree and see who knows what it is (on our Facebook page). When you post on the Facebook Page, tell us a little bit about your own experience with the tree. Then, once we have some good choices, we’ll provide […]

Stems for STEM

  Venerable Trees, Inc. and Andrea James, together with other partners soon to be named,  are pleased to announce a new program to involve kids on the North Side of Lexington in nature study and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects. The program is called Stems for STEM.  Lexington parks are home to an […]

Ancient Trees in Urban Parks

Urban parks in Lexington Kentucky contain many trees that were growing long before the parks were established. It is common for parks to include large, old trees, but these usually were planted after estalishment of the parks. In Lexington, most urban parks in the older parts of town were small parts of large estates. The […]

Picture of an ancient blue ash in a construction area

Why it matters

The goal of Venerable Trees, Inc is to conserve woodland pastures in rural areas and to preserve ancient trees in urban developments whenever possible. We recognize that it is not always possible to preserve every ancient tree in a development. However, there should be a public discussion before any tree is removed. The bur oak […]