Thursday, November 19, 2009


A common question we get to our office is who should I call to prune or take a look at a tree.

The first part of the answer is - always an ISA licensed Arborist. Arborists are specialists in the care of trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to to provide proper care. You wouldn't take your sick child to be examined by an auto mechanic would you?

Services that arborists can provide include pruning, removal, emergency tree care, planting and a wide variety of other tree care services.

So where do you find an ISA Certified Arborist? The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture - yes, it is a mouthfull - developed a go-to web resource ( to help individuals in MD, VA, WV and DC find licensed arborists that service trees in their area. You can search by arborist last name or by county.

Additionally, you can verify an individual is a licensed arborist by visiting their other find an arborist web tool.


Did you know that DC has a Tree Act? While it does not look like the crafty origami creation above, the District has had a Tree Act on the books since 2002 to protect the District's Urban Tree Canopy (UTC).

Officially named the Urban Forest Preservation Act, the Tree Act protects all trees with a circumference of 55 inches (17.5 inches in diameter) or more by designating them as Special Trees. The designation requires individuals to obtain a permit to cut down, remove, girdle, break, top or destroy any tree of this size or greater on public or private property.

If someone does any of the aforementioned without a permit, they are subject to a fine of not less than a $100 per inch of circumference. More simply put, they will have to pay a minimum fine of $5,500.
Not cheap.

Individuals can obtain a permit to remove a Special Tree if the tree is:

  • Hazardous- An ISA certified arborist or UFA arborist must determine that it is.
  • Appropriate for removal - Must be identified so by regulation. Trees that may be removed are Tree of Heaven, Mulberry and Norway Maples.
Or if the individual agrees to:
  • Pay into the Tree Fund - must be equal to $35.00 for each inch of circumference.
  • Plant more trees - Quantity of replacement saplings aggregate circumference must equal or exceed the circumference of the Special Tree to be removed.
Money in the Tree Fund goes towards planting new trees, covering costs associated with administering the Tree Act and assisting DC residents meet certain income guidelines with the removal costs of hazardous trees.

To learn more about the Tree Act or to request a permit to remove a Special Tree, visit the DC UFA website.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Are you a federal employee interested in making the District a better place for everyone to live, work and play?

Consider supporting Casey Trees work through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the only authorized workplace charitable giving drive for employees of the federal government. Casey Trees CFC Code is 24598.

Giving through the CFC is easy to do. You determine the amount to give - minimum $1 per pay period - and the method of payment.

New in 2009, you have the option to give electronically by filling out and printing an online Pledge Form or you can contribute via credit/debit card and e-Check electronic bank transactions in a paperless e-Giving process.

You can also continue to donate by filling out the traditional paper Pledge Form. Payroll deduction is still a great choice if you choose the paper or online Pledge Form.

If you are not a federal employee, you can still help Casey Trees’ work through financial gifts. Donations of any amount can be securely made online. Several Casey Trees tree planting and education initiatives are available for sponsorship.

Monday, November 9, 2009


By now you know that I love fall for the changing colors of the leaves. Red, orange, yellow...I like them all. But all good things come to an end and soon those leaves I admire so much will be on the ground waiting for me to rake them up. And you should rake leaves so you can help prevent accidents and prevent storm drains from clogging. Nothing good comes without a cost.

So what do you do with these leaves? From November 2 to January 9 the Department of Public Works (DPW) will collect them for you. There are two options for collection.

  • Rake the leaves into piles in the curbside treebox space. These leaves will be collected by a vacuum truck and composted. District residents can then request compost between March and October by calling 311.
  • Bag the leaves and place them in either the treebox space or alley in neighborhoods with rear trash and recycling collections. Be sure to put the bags next to the recycling containers. These leaves go straight to the landfill. No composting, no recycling. Sad face.
Before you rake, learn when leaf collection is schedule for your neighborhood. I've even made it easy for you. Click here or the adorable puppy above for the 2009-2010 Leaf Collection Schedule.

Happy raking!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Why is Answered

Being from California, fall on the east coast is always treat. There is something about leaves changing color that makes the weather getting colder somehow okay.

For ten years I have admired the yellows, oranges and reds but never thought to learn why the leaves change color at all. My only contribution has been providing keen observations such as "how pretty" and "ohh, look" out loud. Okay, those comments aren't that insightful but you know everyone is compelled to say similar things.

Thankfully for all of us the Washington Post has provided us with some answers in their Why do leaves do this? (Nov. 3, 2009) article. Now we can go forth and say "how pretty" followed by "you do know that leaves change color because of unmasking pigments and chemical compounds?".

Feel free to say it with an air of superiority.