Hickory Farms

Common Areas Committee Meeting Minutes

May 31, 2020

Date: Sunday, May 31st, 2020 @ 11:00 AM        

Location:  Upper Commons       

Attendees: Melissa and Jarrett Stark, Carlie Mensen, Rich Dudley, Bob and Judy Cosgriff, Claire Coleman, Bryan Crabtree, Bruce and Nancy Bernhardt and Chuck Stewart


The meeting opened at approximately 11 AM and the Area Landscaping, Inc. planting plans and planting quote was handed out to all attendees for reference.  The attendees were informed that all tree and shrub planting pricing included the following: purchase of the tree or shrub, professional planting of it, all soil amendments, initial 1st watering and mulch toping.   All plants furnished and planted by Area Landscaping, Inc. are guaranteed for 1 year from planting date.  Replacements will be at no charge, one time.  As long as, they are watered regularly.

Upper Commons Overview

Main Island – Meadow

The Area Landscaping proposed plan for this area included: (1) American Holly, (2) Scarlet Oaks, (2) Redbuds and (8) Hypericum (St. John’s Wart) for $1,430 Common Areas Improvement budget. 

As a group, we went over the placement of the trees and shrubs.  The American holly placement may be a little tight for the area, since they get pretty big.  Other placement areas were discussed, but they were not feasible due to the meadow path or the area was deep with river rock from the old farmhouse driveway.  It was decided that we would move it up further and from the original placement and move any perennials that would be in the way.

Melissa asked the team if they had further questions about the plants or the cost for this area.  There were none.

Main Island – Woodlands

The Area Landscaping proposed plan for this area includes: (3) Red Maple, (4) American Holly, (2) American Hornbeam, (3) Pignut Hickory, (2) White Oak, (7) Serviceberry, (5) Redbud, (1) Bald Cypress, (2) Black Gum, (3) Virginia Magnolia, (8) Itea, (7) Winterberry, (7) Clethra, (7) Beautyberry, (5) Annabelle Hydrangea, (7) Red Twig Dogwood, and (5) Hypericum for $6,860 from the Common Areas Improvement budget.

This area used to have .75 acres of bamboo that came from the back yard of 4330 Still Meadow Rd many years ago.  The bamboo was removed in July 2017 and there has been remediation for the past couple of years to remove the regrowth of bamboo.  There is a very small patch of stubborn bamboo, that is currently being treated. 

Invasive management will continue in this area, due to porcelain berry, Japanese stilt grass and tree of heaven being present in this area.  Native ground cover like wild strawberry, native grasses, some trees and perennials will be left to grow and fill in this area.

Pool & Koi Pond Area

The pool area within the Main Island – Woodlands current has an intact pool deck 3 – 4 inches down surrounding the pool and connect to the koi pond.  This area is deemed unplantable for trees, but will do well with ground cover.  Ferns and other shallow rooted ground cover will be target for this area.

A small patch of bamboo was shown to the group.  This will be target sprayed.

The koi pond area has had some native perennial planting put in it.  Melissa mentioned this area is doing well, but notices that kids like to walk the circle and pick some of the plants in it.  It may be better to transplant the native perennials to another location and add some walking stones, a rock or something to make it more interactive.  The following was suggested by the team:

  • Zen walking path
  • A bench
  • Adding pavers that go from one area to another, no set pattern
  • Add a white rock in the middle with some planting
  • Add some stepping stones, Pennsylvania sedge and koi fish.

These will be taken into consideration and designs mapped out once this area hits the planning stage.

Cherry Tree Island

This island had roughly 2 or 3 cherry trees that were smothered in vines. These trees were removed in July 2017 with the forestry grinder.   Discussed options for this area.  One was to rebuild it with 1 tree, some shrubs and native ground cover and a bench or go the more cost-effective route, which is just grass it.  The attendees participating seemed to be in favor of grass.

American Boxwood Grove

The American Boxwood Grove is a part of the historic farm house property, where the driveway went around it.   The American boxwoods are at least or close to 100 years old.  They have shallow roots and need proper air circulation to avoid blight.  It was recommended by multiple professional arborists not to mulch the boxwoods, nor trim them in height.  Just make sure that they receive proper air circulation and finger trim any areas that need extra circulation.

In Dec. 2019, (2) large locust trees (major rot issues) and shrub/vine underbrush were removed from the Virginia cedar side of the grove.  This side of the grove still needs remediation in the form of hand pulling new vines and digging out sticker bushes that are coming up.   A boy scout troop was going to help, but COVID may be impacting that volunteer event.  This boy scout event is targeted to be completed in 2020.  Remediation of this area will continue into 2021, prior to a planting plan being developed.  There are still vines and locust suckers to tackle, before planting can be done.

The CAC discussed what new planting would be good for this area.  Redbuds and dogwoods were recommended by a few to be a complimentary understory.  Also adding some Virginia cedar seedlings, so they can start growing larger.   Groundcover and a bush will be added as well.  The planting will be targeted for end 2021/2022.

Large Norway Maple and Large Catalpa behind Round Top Ct.

These two are historic trees that have vines growing underneath and had trees growing underneath from seed.   The trees have been removed and in 2020 we will plan on removing the remainder of the vines and adding a light mulch top dressing.

Redbud Grove

This island had a large number of vines covering it and also has invasive shrubs and English ivy growing below.  With some current volunteer help, the vines have been cut and the English ivy is in the process of being removed.  English ivy removal will be targeted to be completed by the end of 2020.   Adding some dirt to a large hole, left over from a 20+ years tree removal, as well as, adding understory will be in 2021.  Over time, one or two Japanese honeysuckle bushes will be removed and replaced with a native variety to assist in providing more food/shelter for wildlife.  This island will also need some select tree removal.  There are many seedlings growing in the island.  Too much for it to support.

Largest and Oldest Black Walnut Tree

The Upper Commons has one of the oldest and straightest black walnut trees on the entire property.  Its health will be monitored to ensure continued longevity.

Holes in the Grass

There are some holes in the grass areas, due to previous trees or possibly animals digging.  These holes will be filled in and reseeded in 2021.  This will ensure a safer and more level walking area.

Still Meadow Island

This island is 95% untouched.  A select tree that was dead was removed and some vines were clipped.  A large dead tree, covered in vines was pointed out for future removal.  The group discussed keeping this island in its current state for deer and wildlife to hide in.  Vine removal will be done to help keep what trees are on the island from being smothered.  Melissa mentioned this will be done by professionals, she will not allow volunteers to go within the island, due to possibility of poison ivy or injury.  An attendee did mention that she was concerned about the professionals removing too much.   It was also mentioned by a CAC member, that if we do not do some light remediation, the island will collapse on itself eventually.  As locust trees die off (which is a majority of trees on the island), we will target planting more beneficial ones. 

Tree Issues

Three locus trees with splits or broken limb issues were pointed out.  Melissa will be getting quotes for the trimming or removal of these liabilities.


Meeting closed @ 12:53 PM

Next Meeting: Lower Commons June 20, 2020