Landscape pros to volunteer services at Arlington National Cemetery

(PHOTO CREDIT: PLANET/ Philippe Nobile Photography)(PHOTO CREDIT: PLANET/ Philippe Nobile Photography)

Hundreds of lawn and landscape industry professionals will volunteer at Arlington National Cemetery to beautify and improve more than one quarter of the cemetery’s historic grounds on July 28.

Organized by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), the national trade association for the landscape and lawn care industry, Renewal & Remembrance will involve than 400 volunteer professionals from around the country.

Entering its 18th year, Renewal & Remembrance is billed as the largest green industry day of service in the country. More than 180 acres of the cemetery’s 624 acres will be touched by the PLANET volunteers. They will be mulching, pruning, aerating, planting, liming and applying gypsum.

Approximately 78 tons of lime will be applied to 180 acres of turf to ensure Arlington’s rolling green landscape remains pristine. By helping to neutralize acidic soils, the application of limestone makes nutrients in the soil more available to Arlington’s lawns.

Irrigation experts will work on various locations throughout the cemetery performing audits, and inspecting and repairing irrigation systems as needed.

Tree care experts will install lightning protection on five of the cemetery’s historic trees and cable seven others for support.

The lightning protection and cabling are important, say organizers.

“The cemetery has lost many trees in major storms, including the 220-year-old Arlington Oak, which shaded the Kennedy gravesite until it fell in 2011 during Hurricane Irene,” says PLANET President Jim McCutcheon, Landscape Industry Certified. “As the cemetery marks its 150th anniversary this year, it is imperative we take care of and preserve this national treasure for future generations.

“It is the least we can do, as the green industry, to help care for these sacred grounds.”

(PHOTO: PLANET/Philippe Nobile Photography)(PHOTO: PLANET/Philippe Nobile Photography)

Several PLANET members who will be volunteering on July 28 are veterans who served in our nation’s Armed Forces.

Part of what drew veteran Tom Warfel to work for PLANET member Spring-Green, was the company’s participation in Renewal & Remembrance and its support for veterans.

He is looking forward to doing lawn care work at the cemetery and will see the nation’s capital city for the first time on the trip.

“I am very interested in history and I get to give back a little bit on sacred ground,” said Warfel, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005 and deployed to Iraq twice.

Renewal & Remembrance will kick off with an opening ceremony at the recently re-named James R. Tanner Amphitheater (formerly the Old Amphitheater). Grounds work will commence immediately following.

To honor the service and sacrifice of the nation’s veterans and military service members, two children of PLANET member volunteers will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Fifty children ages 3-13 will plant perennial flowers on the cemetery grounds in the morning to help the new generation of the landscape and lawn care industry appreciate the value of giving back.

New Holland Construction and Caterpillar, Inc. are platinum sponsors for Renewal & Remembrance. For more information about PLANET, visit