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  • Mark Coyne

Last Week in the Cemetery (Week of April 10)

Posted July 17, 2023 by M.S. Coyne

Not much to report this week. It is still cool enough that the grass does not grow very quickly. But April is a good time to plant trees because of the potential for timely rainfall.

This week Amber and Sydney Keister of Georgetown KY did a morning of service in which they removed

vines from the back fence and planted a couple of Willow Oaks (Quercus phellos) in Section A to add to the cemetery’s tree diversity. The Willow Oaks originally came from Oakland Farm Trees of Paris KY.

(Willow Oak Sapling)

The key (according to Trees Lexington!) for planting saplings is to make sure to clear a circle about 2 feet wide around the future tree and dig a hole deep enough so that the point where the stem just meets the roots is at the level of the sod. Firmly replace the soil around the roots to ensure there is good root-to-soil contact. Mix the soil with a little bit of compost first if the soil seems especially clayey. Water thoroughly. Then, surround the sapling with mulch at least 2 inches deep. The end result should look a little like a volcano with the sapling in the center of the crater. This does many things for the growing tree: it suppresses weeds, it conserves moisture, as the mulch breaks down it provides nutrients, it makes it a lot easier to trim and mow around the sapling without damaging it.

(Box Elder Saplings Around the Storm Drain Grate)

In addition to the Willow Oaks, this week also saw the planting of several Box Elders (Acer negundo), which are members of the Maple Family (Sapidales). These saplings were transplants from Idle Hour Park in Lexington and were placed around the storm drainage grate in Section A with the intent that in several years they will provide shade for a bench in this location.

In the 1930’s the City of Lexington obtained an easement from the remaining members of Union Benevolent Society No. 2 to place a storm drain extending across the entire width of the cemetery. This was one of many examples of damage occurring in the cemetery due to developing neglect. By the 1930’s relatively few people were being buried in the African Cemetery No. 2.

Remember, if you or your group would like to contribute a few hours of service maintaining African Cemetery No. 2 in 2023, please contact Mark Coyne at to plan a visit.

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