Plants Maintenance Plan

Arboretum Plants Maintenance Schedule and Plan

This plan may be accomplished by the Washington Township Parks employee if and when hired, Volunteer Public Gardens Coordinator, (both hands on and as leaders of teams), also with other volunteer staff, coordinating students/volunteers, and with support from the Washington Township Department of Public Works.

  • Washington Township Department of Public Works already does the grass mowing, grounds maintenance, leaf removal, fence maintenance, weed trimming, snow plowing, and provides mulch.

-Prune, trim, and shape trees, shrubs according to horticultural best management practices (Fall, Early Winter) under guidance of principal gardener, if necessary, who prunes the specimen plants inside the fence.

Ø Prune, trim, and shape trees and shrubs in the stone beds to grow upright, separate, and to facilitate mowing around edges (Fall, Early Winter)

Ø Monitor and provide special attention to the horticultural needs of the plants and species in the arboretum’s native plant collection (go around to each plant)

Ø Keep ID signs visible by trimming away overhanging vegetation (Summer, Fall)

Ø Maintain deer protectors by pounding stakes and repairing fencing. Remove protectors as necessary when plants are large enough (Spring, Fall)

Ø Leaf blow stone beds to remove all sticks and organic debris (May, September)

Ø Mulch generously around trees and shrubs in the native plant collection including around sign posts (Fall or Spring, Annually) Volunteer work days. Or spray carefully around trees in intervals between mulch applications.

Ø Weed whack and cut back vegetation infringing on arboretum trees and shrubs outside of fenced area, in woods, and along trails (Fall, Summer)

Ø Manage, weed, and pull weed tree seedlings in the ‘Wetland’ and ‘Forest Understory’ small rock circle beds located inside fenced area. Mulch around stones (Spring, Summer)

Ø Remove dead branches, leaves, and twigs from trees and shrubs (Summer, Fall)

Ø Remove weeds taking root next to trees and multi-stemmed shrubs including inside deer protectors (Summer, Fall) Important to pull weed tree seedlings. Use vice grips, dig out, or spray carefully

  • Brush cut or weed whack as far back as possible to edge of woods, except along the creek, to discourage the growth of woody vegetation (Fall, Annually) A Stihl weed whacker body with hedge clipper attachment works well. Ask around.


Ø Schedule and coordinate work days with Warren Hills high school students. For mulching and projects. Contact teacher Jesse O’Neil at (Fall, Winter, Spring)

  • Look around for small tasks there is always something to do, please pick up dead branches, straighten up around the place, and alert the DPW of any downed trees or other issues.

Ø Water, fertilize, and care for new plants added to the collection (until established)

® Fertilize with Holly-Tone red (acid-loving) or green (non-acid) recently-planted and small trees and shrubs (Spring and Fall)

Ø Trim lower branches and leaves off shrubs and understory trees in the fenced in area, up to a six foot height level to emphasize the lateral view of the stone beds (only where practical) (Fall, Winter)

Ø Cut back shrubs and overhanging branches along the perimeter. Remove and treat invasive plants including multiflora rose, shrub honeysuckle, and Russian Olive (Annually)

Ø Limb lower branches of trees in the native collection as they grow larger over time (twice Annually)

Ø Arrange for professional arborists including Andy Hart of the DPW to remove high branches of trees in the surrounding forest interfering with trees in the collection (Annually)


Ø Look for opportunities to move back the mow line to expand the arboretum by removing rocks or adding soil (Summer, Fall)

Ø Back out screws on tree mounted ID signs (10) to compensate for annual trunk growth. Important (Summer or Fall)

  • Adjust ID labels on branches as trees and shrubs grow if necessary

Ø Acquire additional hand tools, mowers, and materials to store in the log cabin tool room (ask Recreation Commission for the key)

Ø Perform a site analysis and assessment of the arboretum periodically to determine tasks to add to the annual maintenance schedule. (Monthly)

*Experienced gardeners and plant lovers will have a sense of what to do beyond what's on this maintenance plan. This plan does not include planting, designing, installing interpretive signs, bridges, or any activities beyond basic maintenance. These are additional opportunities for both coordinators and teams of volunteers.