This Thursday, May 23, from 8:30-10:30 a.m., the village Highway Department and the Tree Advisory Board will be hosting a “Mulch Morning”, providing resident gardeners with free mulch in the vicinity of Main Street (between High Street and Lunn Terrace).

This follows an event last week, “Tree Pit Gardening Workshop” which the Chamber sponsored and Jen Zwarwick presented the workshop along with the rest of the Tree Advisory Board, Charlie Day, professional horticulturist, Tony Bardes, Master Gardener and landscape professional, and Kory Riesterer, garden educator. The group led a discussion and demonstration of how to plant sustainable, decorative, low-maintenance plants in the village sidewalk tree pits, and how to care for a Main Street garden.


The group started by giving a step by step demonstration on how to mend soils, prepare beds, and plant among and around root systems. We asked them when do you add compost to the soil? The answer, anytime you can! Working compost into the soil when prepping a bed and regularly throughout the year will help feed the tree and your garden bed. Here, Tony and Charlie are loosening the soil and mixing compost into it before they plant their bed.


Next our Cold Spring village tree pit gardeners placed their plants, a mix of perennials and annuals. They advised to choose hearty, drought-resistant, low growing plants, no shrubs. They explained, it is best to get small plant plugs to put in, as they are easier to fit between tree roots. Perennials should be given plenty space between plants so they have room to expand and grow and recommended filling in the space between with annuals for immediate color and pop while your perennials are getting started.


Charles Day, garden expert from Wave Hill Public Gardens advised to break up the roots of plant plugs before putting them into the ground. The more you break them up, however, the more you should water them in subsequent weeks to help the plants grow their root system.


he Village Tree Advisory Board tree pit gardeners offered advice for weed suppression: mulch, mulch, mulch. But be careful not to bury the tree base which should have a root flare exposed at the foot of the trunk. 
If you have a bed with too many roots to plant in or a bed without a tree-guard that is more exposed to street traffic and dogs, they recommended buying large planters, like the ones out front of C&E Hardware, and planting your garden in them. It will add color and joy and will be low maintenance as well if you mulch the strip below it.


Here's an example of a classic no-no: never pile soil or mulch up around the base of a tree trunk or the roots will grow in a formation that will strangle the tree or the trunk may begin to rot. This tree also had the misfortune of being previously blocked in by cement side-walking, creating an issue of packed roots with nowhere to go. They recommended pulling the soil away and gently trimming back the roots encircling the trunk of the tree. Then either planting in pots if the root system around the tree is too dense or planting outside the root density.