The NTA operates the first municipal tree farm in Fairfield County – the NTA Tree Farm at Fodor Farm. This facility cultivates both indigenous and unique species of trees for replanting elsewhere in the City.
Since its creation several years ago, Tree Farm at Fodor Farm has been a labor of love and a work in progress. The 1/3 acre plot originally was conceived by the Tree Alliance to cultivate native trees to plant in Norwalk neighborhoods. Since its inception, Tree Farm has been more about promise, than productivity. While no trees planted have matured successfully for transplanting, teams of volunteers have enjoyed working together and learning tree cultivation techniques.
This year, the Tree Alliance has decided on a new approach for Tree Farm. Starting this spring, arborist and NTA board member Rich Whitehead will lead a dedicated team to develop Tree Farm as an innovative pilot program. The objective of the program is teaching and demonstrating best-practices, yet accessible, tree cultivation techniques to school kids.
A focus of the program will be the use of above-ground bags for tree cultivation. The advantage of grow tree bags is enhanced soil, root, fertilization and irrigation control, plus ease of transportation and transplanting. As well, Tree Farm’s existing physical assets will be improved, including its irrigation, fencing and gating systems. The use of special ground covers will be tested for weed deterrence and control. An after-school curriculum will be developed in consort with local schools and the school board.
The Tree Farm’s new program is envisioned not only to support the Alliance’s commitment to best-practices arboriculture, but its mission of tree education and outreach to the Norwalk community.