Vienna begins cultivating new spring look for Maple and Church streets

The current Maple Avenue streetscape across from the Vienna Town Green (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Generally speaking, florals for spring may not be groundbreaking, but the Town of Vienna is still counting on new flowers and shrubs to give its commercial corridor some seasonal pizzazz.

Landscaping crews began work yesterday (Thursday) to update the landscaping along Maple Avenue and Church Street for the first time in 20 years. The project is intended to “boost curb appeal in the business district,” according to the town.

“The plan calls for 81 landscape planters on both sides of Maple Avenue and 46 planters on both sides of Church Street to be transformed into a welcoming, vibrant display of seasonal color from spring to fall,” Vienna Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Herman said in a press release.

The initial work is focused on Maple Avenue between Courthouse Road SW and East Street NE, requiring lane closures from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Monday (Sept. 25).

However, Herman says crews will typically remove plants and prepare the new planters between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. to “mitigate the impact of lane closures on residents and commuters.”

Designed by contractor LSG Landscape with plants from Merrifield Garden Center, the project will replace all understory plantings on Maple Avenue with new shrubs, ornamental grasses and both perennial and annual plants, according to the town.

Most of the existing understory on Church Street will remain, but it will be supplemented by new plants with “similar colors and textures to create a more consistent appearance,” the town said.

While the project mostly deals with the underlying plants, it will also remove trees deemed to be in poor health, per the press release:

As part of this project, some trees that are in poor or declining condition will be removed. This will not only improve the health of the remaining street trees but also increase sunlight exposure and reduce root competition. To maintain the tree population, an equal number of new trees will be planted, enhancing both consistency and biodiversity.

A recent inventory determined that most of Vienna’s remaining trees are healthy, but the overall canopy has declined, prompting the town to consider new conservation measures. A proposal that would require developers to preserve more trees will go to the planning commission for a public hearing on Wednesday (Sept. 27).

The planting work on Maple and Church is expected to continue through Nov. 8.

“If all goes as planned, residents and visitors will start seeing the colorful results in spring 2024,” the town said.