Dinosaurs Ate Magnolias

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Herbivores of the Cretaceous period enjoyed lunching on the early ancestors of many plants and trees that we know and love today. Magnolia, for example, is a genus that dates back to the dinosaur days, along with ginkgos, conifers and palms. While great snacks for dinosaurs, PHS does not recommend eating magnolias for the rest of us. Nevertheless, let’s celebrate some stunners this spring that would have surely appealed to the Pleurocoelus.

We spoke with our very own tree expert, PHS’s Mindy Maslin, Education Project Manager and Tree Tender extraordinaire. Here are her top picks for must-admire trees around Philadelphia:

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellate)
This early bloomer in Philadelphia has large, white, star-shaped fragrant flowers. Spot these along Kelly Drive and near Lloyd Hall. After the blooms fall off, we can enjoy glossy, green leaves that make this a great tree throughout the seasons. Be on the lookout for their interesting-looking seed pods later this year.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)Eastern Rosebud- Photo Credit- Julie Walton Shaver
Usually one of the earliest spring trees to bloom in this area, and the name can be misleading. The blooms on this tree have a purple  hue and do not necessarily reveal a “redbud.”  Once the blooms fade away, they expose beautiful heart-shaped leaves. A nice display of Eastern Redbud can be found along Market Street near 11th street.

Flowering Cherry Trees
A traditional favorite among the “first signs of spring,” with their pop of vibrant pinks. Remember, names can be misleading.  These are ornamental trees and don’t bear edible fruit. When the petals fall to the ground in profusion, they can create a flowery carpet of pink in the streets and sidewalks along Kelly Drive and into Fairmount Park. Special note: One of Mindy’s favorites is the Kwanzan Cherry Tree with its double blossom.

Fun Fact: What’s going on with my Oak tree?
While everything else is budding out in springtime, oak and beech trees are still holding their leaves from last fall. Don’t despair, they will leaf out later in the season and old leaves help protect the emerging leaf buds. At this point in the season, the leaf buds are expanding and they are pushing out the old leaf and springing into the new season. With the help of rain and wind, the old leaves will soon fall off.

PHS Tree Resources:
Free Tree Giveaway
Register today to receive a free tree, courtesy of a partnership between the Phillies and PHS. Tree pickup will be held Saturday, May 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. Learn more and register here.

The PHS Tree Tenders program, part of the Plant One Million campaign, teaches the basics of tree planting, tree care, and how to rally communities around the importance of trees. It also provides street trees for community plantings twice a year. The class is offered several times throughout the year in Center City Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. The Montgomery County three-part class meets May 5, 12 and 19. The Philadelphia three-part class meets on May 13, 20 and 27.

Make Your Tree Count
Visit PlantOneMillion.org to register your tree and make it count toward our goal of one million trees throughout 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.

Stop by PHS Meadowbrook Farm in Abington Township to purchase a spring blooming tree such as Magnolias, Chinese and Eastern Redbud, the PHS Gold Medal Fothergilla and many more. Speak with a Meadowbrook expert to determine the right tree for your yard.

Richard Allen Homes Get Shade Trees

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Youth from Richard Allen Homes and the Urban Technology Project joined forces to plant 19 yard trees.

By Guina Hammond and Dana Dentice

On November 15, PHS along with Philadelphia Housing Authority (PAL), U.S. Forest Service staff and 20 volunteers  — youth and adults from the Richard Allen Homes neighborhood, Urban Technology Project members from the School District of Philadelphia and other individuals — planted 19 yard trees in several back yards of the Richard Allen Homes in the West Poplar neighborhood in Lower North Philadelphia.

The trees that were planted included maple, gingko, honeylocust, London plane tree, oak, elm and Japanese tree lilac. These trees will provide increasing shade, beauty and energy savings to the residents as they grow.

The young people had fun planting and naming the trees and are eager to begin caring for them. Young members from the Urban Technology Project enjoyed their first tree-planting experience and are interested in getting their schools involved in tree planting as the regional Plant One Million program nears its 500,000th tree.

second richard allen tree planting photo for blog 11 25The Richard Allen Homes tree planting project was inspired by the success of the tree planting activities that took place last year in the Mill Creek community, a low- and moderate-income community that includes redeveloped PHA housing. The success of engaging residents, business owners, schools, churches, PHA leaders and PHA Resident Advisory Leaders in planting 150 trees throughout the Mill Creek neighborhood inspired PHS to continue its work in the PHA housing development sites of the Lucien Blackwell Homes in Mill Creek and the Richard Allen Homes in North Philadelphia.

Throughout these communities the tree canopy is very low and the health of the residents is compromised. Many residents in these communities want trees to help improve their health and well-being as well as to beautify their community. Therefore, it has been a great partnership for PHS and PHA to work together to plant trees and teach the residents about the many health benefits trees provide.

Additional residents in the Richard Allen Homes have expressed an interest in getting a tree for their property next spring and PHS is eager to continue work throughout the community. Residents will be invited to participate in  the Tree Tenders program as well as Garden Tenders training, too.

PHS thanks the following funders for helping to make this work possible: the Boeing Company, the Austelle Foundation, DCNR’s TreeVitalize program, and an anonymous donor.



Getting Down and Dirty with 1,200 Trees

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The SOSNA Green Tree Tenders group planted five street trees in Philadelphia on November 15. A total of 1,500 trees were planted by PHS Tree Tenders and volunteers in Southeastern Pa. Photo by SOSNA Green.

By Dana Dentice and Emma Melvin

We teamed up with our Tree Tenders partners over the last two weeks to distribute and plant 600 trees in Philadelphia and another 600 trees in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties. These 1,200 bare root trees were planted along streets, as well as in yards, parks and school campuses as part of the Plant One Million campaign.

We’d like to give a big thank-you to all the volunteers, individuals, and funders who helped make this possible. We couldn’t have done this without your dedication, energy and love for trees. Whether you delivered or planted a tree, coordinated a tree planting event, or applied for a tree(s), your effort is much appreciated! We also thank our funders, the Boeing Company, the Austelle Foundation, DCNR’s TreeVitalize program, and an anonymous donor.

We had more than 30 Philadelphia Tree Tenders groups from neighborhoods all over the city getting down and dirty planting trees with and for their neighbors. Many were greening their neighborhood streets by planting city-approved trees in existing and newly cut tree pits. PHS also partnered with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, its residents, and the Urban Technology Project to plant 19 trees in the once shadeless backyards of Richard Allen Homes residents.

Bensalem tree planting 11 25Another 30 Tree Tenders groups planted trees in the counties outside of Philadelphia, including 100 trees planted at schools in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. On November 13, students from Cecelia Snyder and Shafer Middle Schools in Bensalem and the Phillie Phanatic came out to celebrate the Home Runs for Trees program, a partnership of the Phillies, Aramark and PHS, by planting a tree for every home run the players made in 2014. They planted 50 trees with us on the two school campuses to provide shade, beauty and improve the air quality around the schools for students and pedestrians. Watch the video.

PHS also partnered with Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) to restore the urban tree canopy on the school’s campus. With the help from professors, students and MCCC grounds staff, 50 trees were planted along roads and walkways within the campus on November 14. Volunteers conquered cold temperatures and wet soils to get the job done. PHS staff trained volunteers on proper planting techniques and assisted volunteers during planting to ensure the bare root trees will survive the winter and provide shade, stormwater reduction and beauty for years to come.

MCCC tree planting 11 25All trees were purchased as bare root stock from our good friends at Schichtel’s Nursery Inc. in Springville, New York. We love bare root trees for their light weight, lower cost, and more dense and intact root systems.

We can’t wait to see these 1,200 new trees leaf out next spring and hopefully grow to their full potential. Over the years, they will add to the region’s tree canopy and the many benefits that our urban forest provides our communities and neighborhoods.

A Tree Grows in Wilmington

St. Anthony's tree planting

Urban Forest Administrator from the Wilmington Department of Public Works, Mandy Tolino, planted a tree with students at St. Anthony of Padua Grade School in Wilmington to celebrate Arbor Day. Photo by Bob Hunt.

By Marion McParland

The Delaware Center for Horticulture, one of our lead partners in the Plant One Million campaign, celebrated Arbor Day with an event and tree planting at St. Anthony of Padua Grade School in Wilmington on Tuesday, April 29. In attendance at this year’s event were representatives of the Wilmington Department of Public Works, the Delaware Forest Service, the office of the City of Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams, and a few raindrops.

The focus this year was the environmental value of trees. Activities included information about tree climbing careers and safety with Kerns Brothers Tree Service, educational sessions with Ashley Peebles of Delaware Forest Service; and a proclamation by Claude McCrea, director, Wilmington Department of Parks and Recreation. Urban Forest Administrator with the Wilmington Department of Public Works, Mandy Tolino, planted a tree at St. Anthony’s with the students.

The Delaware Center for Horticulture strives to encourage environmental stewardship among Wilmington’s youth. PHS is pleased to partner with the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s TreePhilly program, the New Jersey Tree Foundation, the Delaware Center for Horticulture, and the DCNR TreeVitalize program to plant trees to help achieve our collective vision of a greener and healthier region. Click here to visit the Plant One Million website.






Take Me Out to the Ball Game!


Yesterday at Citizens Bank Park we planted a tree as part of our PLANT ONE MILLION campaign. Pictured, from left to right, are the Phillie Phanatic, PHS President Drew Becher, Phillies’ infielder Cody Asche, ARAMARK Regional Director Brian Hastings, and Phillies President David Montgomery.


By Marion McParland

Peanuts, Cracker Jack, hot dogs and trees! Yes, trees! Yesterday’s Phillies’ game marked the kick-off of the third season for our Home Runs for Trees” partnership between PHS, the Phillies, and ARAMARK. For every home run hit by a Phillies player at a home or away game this season, PHS will plant a tree in the fall. Since the inception of this program, PHS has planted 298 trees throughout the Philadelphia area.

PHS will also be giving away 200 free trees to Phillies fans this season. Register for your tree on the Phillies website.

“Home Runs for Trees” is part of the PLANT ONE MILLION campaign, an initiative led by PHS to restore the tree coverage in the Philadelphia region, as well as southern New Jersey and the state of Delaware. Next week, in honor of Arbor Day on April 25, PHS will be planting the 300,000th tree of the PLANT ONE MILLION campaign at St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls in Northeast Philadelphia. Over the weekend of April 26 and 27, PHS Tree Tenders will add 800 trees to the Philadelphia landscape.

You can support the PLANT ONE MILLION campaign by planting trees in your neighborhood or yard, or by making a donation.

For more information about PLANT ONE MILLION, please click here.

Chase Utley Stars in Plant One Million Promo

Chase Utley—the Philadelphia Phillies’ second-baseman and current home run leader—is ready for his close-up! In this short video, Chase speaks to the importance of “Home Runs for Trees.” If you’re unfamiliar with this important initiative involving Plant One Million, the Phillies, and ARAMARK, click below! Go Phils!