Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Episode 621 (3-21-22): An Introduction to Trees and Water

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:02).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-18-22.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 21, 2022.  This revised episode from March 2013 is the first in a series of episodes this year on trees and shrubs.

MUSIC – ~7 sec – instrumental.

This week, we feature a musical selection about one of Virginia’s most common natural resources and one of the most important for the Commonwealth’s waters.  Have a listen to the music for about 45 more seconds. 

MUSIC  - ~43 sec – Lyrics: “When you plant trees, it’s not for tomorrow; no shade tomorrow from them itty bitty seeds.  It’s your children’s children who’ll look up and feel the wonder; it’s like lovin’ some person you might never chance to meet.  You could say it with flowers, you could shout it from the rooftop, you could beg from your knees; you could say I’m sorry, or darlin’ I love you—Grandad planted trees.” 

You’ve been listening to part of “Grandad Planted Trees,” by Bob Gramann of Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Fortunately for all of us, lots of people these days are like the grandad in the song and recognize the value of planting trees for many reasons, including water benefits.  Here are four examples: volunteers in many watersheds plant trees along streams to help improve water quality and habitat; cities encourage tree-planting to help reduce stormwater runoff and the pollutants it can carry to waterways; Chesapeake Bay states are working to increase forest coverage to improve Bay water quality, such as in the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Virginia Trees for Clean Water Program; and 141 countries at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in 2021 affirmed the critical role of trees in addressing climate change through trees’ absorption of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.  In these and other ways, trees are recognized as part of the solution for an array of water-resources issues.

Virginia has a rich diversity of trees: deciduous and evergreen; flowering and cone-bearing; shrubby and towering.  These trees’ interactions with water are key factors in the health of water, land, air, and wildlife.  And, of course, trees are great for shade, beauty, and birdsong.

Thanks to Bob Gramann for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “Grandad Planted Trees.”

MUSIC – ~18 sec – Lyrics: “You could say I’m sorry, or darlin’ I love you—Grandad planted trees.”


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 153, 3-18-13.

“Grandad Planted Trees,” from the 2004 album of the same name, is copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  More information about Bob Gramann is available online at http://www.bobgramann.com/.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in Episode 376, 7-10-17.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.


Trees framing Little River near Radford, Virginia, September 22, 2009.

Tree-planting project along the Holtan Branch tributary to Stroubles Creek in Blacksburg, Va., March 21, 2022.

Tree-planting project along the Docks Branch tributary of of Stroubles Creek in Blacksburg, Va., November 17, 2021.

Sycamore along Stroubles Creek in Blacksburg, Va., March 21, 2022.

Cherry trees blooming beside the Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg, Va., March 21 2022.


“Benefits of Trees” poster from the Virginia Department of Forestry, accessed online at https://dof.virginia.gov/education-and-recreation/learn-about-education-recreation/benefits-of-tree/, 3-28-22/


Used for Audio

Center for Watershed Protection, “Trees and Stormwater Runoff,” online at https://www.cwp.org/reducing-stormwater-runoff/.

Chesapeake Bay Program, “Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement 2014” (updated in 2020), online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/what/what_guides_us/watershed_agreement.

Sanglin Lee and Alan Raflo, “Trees and Water,” Viriginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Water Central Newsletter, pages 13-18, online at https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49367.   (A Virginia Cooperative Extension version of this article—“Trees and Water,” by Sanglin Lee, Alan Raflo, and Jennifer Gagnon, 2018—with some slight differences in the text is available online at https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/pubs_ext_vt_edu/en/ANR/ANR-18/ANR-18NP.html.)

26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), October 31—November 12, 2021, online at https://ukcop26.org/.

Virginia Department of Forestry, “Virginia Trees for Clean Water Program,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/urban-community-forestry/urban-forestry-community-assistance/virginia-trees-for-clean-water-grant-program/.

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources, “Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay,” online at https://www.naturalresources.virginia.gov/initiatives/chesapeake-bay/.

For More Information about Trees in Virginia and Elsewhere

Chesapeake Bay Program, “Field Guide: Plants and Trees,” online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/all/plants_trees/all.

Oscar W. Gupton and Fred C. Swope, Trees and Shrubs of Virginia, University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, 1981.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Natural Resources Conservation Service Plants Database, online at https://plants.usda.gov.

Virginia Botanical Associates, “Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora,” online at http://www.vaplantatlas.org/index.php?do=start&search=Search.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Division, online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/.

Virginia Department of Forestry, Common Native Trees of Virginia,” 2020 edition, online (as a PDF) at https://dof.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/Common-Native-Trees-ID_pub.pdf.

Virginia Department of Forestry, “Tree Identification,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/education-and-recreation/learn-about-education-recreation/tree-identification/.

Virginia Native Plant Society, online at http://vnps.org/.

Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Conservation, “Virginia Tech Dendrology/Fact Sheets,” online at http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/factsheets.cfm.  At this site, one can search for trees by common or scientific name.

A.S. Weakley, J.C. Ludwig, and J.F. Townsend, Flora of Virginia, Bland Crowder, ed.  Copyright by the Foundation of the Flora of Virginia Project, Inc., Richmond.  Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, 2012.  This is the first comprehensive manual of Virginia plants published since the 1700s.  The Flora of Virginia Project is online at https://floraofvirginia.org/.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Plants” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes on trees and shrubs.

Introduction to trees and water – Episode 621, 3-21-22.
American Sycamore – Episode 176, 8-26-13.
American Witch Hazel – Episode 238, 10-31-14.
Ash trees – Episode 376, 7-10-17.
Early spring wildfowers in woodlands – Episode 573, 4-19-21.
Forestry as work and as an industry in Virginia – Episode 160, 5-6-13.
Maple trees – Episode 503, 12-16-19.
Photosynthesis – Episode 602, 11-8-21.
Poison Ivy and related plants, including the shrub Poison Sumac – Episode 535, 7-27-20.
Rhododendrons – Episode 574, 4-26-21.
Tree colors and changes in fall, including to water movement – Episode 285, 10-9-15.|
Tree buds – Episode 449, 12-3-18.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs 

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs 

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
1.4 – Plants have basic life needs (including water) and functional parts that allow them to survive; including that plants can be classified based on a variety of characteristics.
2.5 – Living things are part of a system.
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.
4.2 – Plants and animals have structures that distinguish them from one another and play vital roles in their ability to survive.
4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
K.11 – Humans use resources.
1.8 – Natural resources can be used responsibly.
2.8 – Plants are important natural resources.
3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.
4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.

Grade 6 

6.4 – There are basic sources of energy and that energy can be transformed.
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.
6.8 – Land and water have roles in watershed systems.
6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment.

Life Science
LS.3 – There are levels of structural organization in living things.
LS.4 – There are chemical processes of energy transfer which are important for life.
LS.5 – Biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem.
LS.6 – Populations in a biological community interact and are interdependent.
LS.9 – Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science
ES.6 – Resource use is complex.
ES.8 – Freshwater resources influence and are influenced by geologic processes and human activity.
ES.12 – The Earth’s weather and climate result from the interaction of the sun’s energy with the atmosphere, oceans, and the land.

BIO.2 – Chemical and biochemical processes are essential for life.
BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems. 

2015 Social Studies SOLs 

Grades K-3 Economics Theme
2.8 – Natural, human, and capital resources.
3.8 – Understanding of cultures and of how natural, human, and capital resources are used for goods and services.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.10 – Public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – How selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.3 – How regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants. 

Government Course
GOVT.9 – Public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – Role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20
– on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.
Episode 606, 12-6-21
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.