Friday, March 9, 2012

Update Your Bookmarks - Tree Speak Has a New Home

Hello dedicated Tree Speak reader! Our blog has a new home at on our new website. Your bookmark should redirect to our new page, so there's probably no need to fix that. If you subscribe by RSS, make sure to update your RSS feed. The new RSS feed for our blog is

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tree of the Month: Yoshino Cherry

March’s tree of the month will be the center of attention around the District in the coming weeks: it’s the Yoshino cherry, the star of the National Cherry Blossom Festival that will kick off March 20 and run for almost six weeks. 

Yoshino cherries are famous for the ethereal beauty of their delicate flowers, which bloom pale pink and then turn white over the course of the two weeks that the trees blossom. This generally occurs late March or early April, and the National Park Service is predicting that this year the infamous cherry trees will hit peak bloom March 24 and  blossom through March 31. Peak bloom is the period that when 70 percent of the blossoms are open. The National Park Service said the mild winter didn't affect the timing of the bloom, but too many more warm days like today could speed up the blossoms' clock.

This year is an especially significant year for the festival, as it marks the 100th anniversary of the original planting of 3,020 Japanese cherry trees in the Tidal Basin. Remarkably, you can still admire some of the centenarian trees, most notably the two planted by First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Iwa Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador. Look for the bronze plaque on the northwest side of the Tidal Basin commemorating that event.

Photo courtesy of National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Tidal Basin is the place to go to be caught in a whirl of falling cherry blossoms, but if you’re looking for a slightly less-crowded spot for enjoying Yoshino cherries, try one of these locales:
  • East Potomac Park
  • U.S. Capitol grounds
  • Library of Congress grounds
  • Fort McNair
  • National Arboretum
  • Anacostia Park
  • Foxhall Village
  • Kenwood neighborhood, Bethesda
And keep an eye out for the cherry trees wewill be planting in partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival this spring, located in schools and parks around the District.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Expectant Tree Yard

Here at Casey Trees, there's little that tickles our fancy more than an empty tree yard waiting for it's first delivery of the season.

Between tomorrow and mid-April, 652 trees will come through our tree yard before being planted all over the District. The trees will be planted in Community Tree Plantings or as RiverSmart Homes in neighborhoods, schools and parks in every single ward.

Will you be planting any of these trees? Help us bring a little green to our communities and get to know your neighbors by signing up for a Community Tree Planting event today.

Last Chance to Vote for Casey Trees!

Tomorrow is your last chance to vote for Casey Trees as the Best Place to Volunteer and the Best Non-Profit in Washington City Paper's 2012 Readers' Poll. If you haven't voted yet, there's no better time than right now! Go ahead — we'll wait.

Great! Now that you've voted, pass the message along to friends, family, coworkers and neighbors, and make sure to tell them to vote by 11:59 p.m. EDT tomorrow.

Remember, your vote spreads the word about all the work that we do here at Casey Trees planting trees around the District and educating the public on just how important our tree canopy is.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Casey Trees, GW Contributes to ABA's One Million Trees Campaign

On Friday, February 24th, students from the George Washington Law School’s Environmental Law Association (ELA) partnered with Casey Trees to plant 23 trees on GW’s Foggy Bottom campus. This is the first time that the GW ELA has contributed to the One Million Trees Project, a nationwide effort led by the American Bar Association to plant one million trees across the United States by 2014, aiming to educate citizens about the benefits of trees and their role in helping to fight climate change. 

Begun in March 2009, the One Million Trees Project has already planted 11,718 trees across the country with the help of lawyers and students. On Friday, 25 students and volunteers braved the afternoon rain to plant Zelkovas, Chinese elms and Willow oaks along the streets of the Foggy Bottom campus. GW’s Grounds Department also contributed to the effort by helping the students dig, plant and stake the trees.

This planting event was funded by the GW Streetscape Grant which is working to making GW’s campus more sustainable and increase its tree canopy. Through the grant, Casey Trees has partnered with GW to consult on campus development projects, analyze GW’s tree canopy and advocate for more trees on its campus. Future projects include reaching out to stakeholders regarding low-impact development.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What It Could Be: 2100 MLK Ave. SE

The streetscapes of D.C. could bring beauty and benefits to our neighborhoods if only their potential was realized. The Planning & Design department looks at some of the rough patches and then demonstrates “What It Could Be” if it incorporated bioretention that promoted the growth of large shade trees. The most recent stretch of street to get a digital makeover is 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE. 

The drawings shows two different streetscapes, the current one on above and the imagined one below. Notice the before design constrains roots whereas the after design gives larger trees more space for their roots, in turn preserving the sidewalk, encouraging growth and making streets biodiverse.

The extra soil space allows for stormwater capture, which removes pollution and helps prevent dirty water from entering our waterways. In many street boxes in the District, like those in the photograph on the left, additional vegetation impedes on a tree’s root growth and sends polluted water to the river through the sewer system.

“What It Could Be” is a new recurring feature in our e-newsletter, The Leaflet. Subscribe to The Leaflet to catch stories like this one and more.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spotlight: Jim Sherald brings years of horticultural expertise to Board of Directors

When Jim Sherald retired in 2010 from the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), he knew he wanted to stay in the horticulture field, even if it was in a different capacity.

Enter Casey Trees, which Sherald worked with in the early days of the organization’s history as an advisory board member. Last year, Sherald became a member of the Board of Directors.

“Joining Casey Trees again was an opportunity to remain in the field and share my experiences from NPS with an organization I thought very highly of,” he said.

Sherald was instrumental in getting the 2002 D.C. street tree inventory completed and in his second stint with Casey Trees, he is glad to help plan for the future.

“The current focus is to stay the course and build on our D.C. programs,” he said. “In the long term, as places become more urbanized, we have to make areas sustainable and hospitable. It’s important for Casey Trees and D.C. to be a model.”

Trees — American elms in particular — are Sherald’s first love, one he gladly shares with Casey Trees. But the aspect of Casey Trees that he finds most important is citizen engagement.

“Casey Trees effectively engages citizens in understanding the value of the urban forest,” he said, “and Casey Trees’ educational tools help residents turn knowledge into active participation in restoring the tree canopy.”

Sherald participated in his first Community Tree Planting event last December at the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. He was inspired by how many volunteers showed up and how enthusiastic they were to plant trees.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to gather with people of like mind and like interest,” he said. “It’s like a party. If you have a real — or even moderate — passion for trees, it’s for you.”

When he speaks with people about his involvement with Casey Trees, Sherald talks about how well the organization has been brought people together.

“Every person who volunteers will share the same experience and share it with neighbors.”

This Board of Directors Spotlight was featured in the February issue of our e-newsletter, The Leaflet. Read more stories from The Leaflet and sign up to updates from Casey Trees.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What an Animal!

A new batch of tree planters will be earning their Citizen Forester stripes with our first event of the Community Tree Planting (CTP) spring season, a Tree Planting Workshop at the National Zoo on March 3.

All the tree planting basics will be covered, including selecting and preparing a tree planting site, choosing the appropriate species and maintaining tree health in an urban environment. After lunch we’ll be putting our new skills to the test, planting 30 trees near the seal habitat.

Sign up online for this Tree Planting Workshop event.

A class and planting like these are the first step toward becoming a Citizen Forester, but we ask students to volunteer for two more CTP events throughout the season to become Citizen Tree Planters.