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Ask the Supervisor: Landscaping in McLean

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust answers questions submitted by Patch readers.

Question: I am wondering who makes decisions re: landscaping in McLean? Specifically, the section in front of the Madison Building was replanted with an array of non-native plants, which is a missed opportunity on many counts.

Answer: The owner of the Madison Building, on Old Chain Bridge Road, recently re-landscaped his property as part of a rezoning application approved in 2009. The application review process took over a year and included an evaluation by the County’s Urban Forestry Department. The Urban Forester reviews landscape plans to insure there is adequate planting space, species diversity, and compliance with the 10-year tree canopy requirements. The Urban Forester also reviews whether proposed landscaping provides for native or desirable species.

Plants that are considered overused, structurally weak, susceptible to insect and disease problems, or are considered invasive in the Mid-Atlantic region are either not allowed or receive no credit toward meeting the 10-year canopy requirement. In order to obtain approval, the Madison Building was required to remove several diseased or dying invasive trees, such as Bradford Pears, and replace them with native trees including Magnolia Virginiana, Magnolia Grandiflora, and Tila Americana.

While the Urban Forester recommends that native shrubs and ground covers be used to the greatest extent practical, there are situations where non-native plants will survive in extremely harsh conditions, such as immediately along a roadway. In these instances, the developer’s arborist, in consultation with the County’s Urban Forester, is allowed to select plant species he believes will best suit the environment. While nearly 70 percent of the plant species at the Madison Building are native, some allowance had to be made to allow for non-native species because of the urban nature of the site.

Do you have a question for Supervisor Foust? You can submit it below in the comments section or contact his office directly via email, dranesville@fairfaxcounty.gov, or by phone, 703-356-0551.

Catherine January 29, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Is there any pressure you as our supervisor can use on VDOT for cleaning up the brush, bramble and fallen trees that line Georgetown Pike and parts of Spring Hill Road? It's a mess and makes our area look terrible. Thank you.
Mafalda Marrocco January 29, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Mafalda You do a great job, John Faust!
Dave Webster January 30, 2013 at 12:20 AM
I don't think this answer is detailed enough.
Jane Peterson January 30, 2013 at 12:19 PM
John, I agree with Catherine. When will the trail along Old Dominion near the small shopping center and 7eleven be finished?

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