Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Tree and Leaf Collection in the District

Wondering what to do with your tree and wreaths after the holidays? The Department of Public Works (DPW) has a solution for you as we head into the new year. From January 3 to 15, trees will be picked up at curbside.

What you need to know about holiday tree collection:
  • Remove all decorations and put your tree or other greenery in the treebox space.
  • Do not put your tree in plastic or cloth bags.
  • The prime time for collection is between January 2nd and 9th. January 9th is your deadline for leaving your tree for DPW to collect.
  • Any trees not collected by January 15th should be set out with your trash.
Still have a lot of leaves left over from this past fall? DPW will also pick up leaves raked into treebox spaces through January 15th. The DC government also provides great online resource that maps out the leaf collection schedule. DPW will be collecting between 8,000 and 10,000 tons of leaves between November and January, most of which will be composted or recycled.

DC's Leaf Collection schedule map for 2010-11.

For more information and guidelines, check out the DC Department of Public Works page on leaf and holiday tree collection.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - December 24, 2010

Holly berries and evergreen leaves. Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Red Oak Down in Petworth

Contributing Writer - Carol Herwig, Volunteer Coordinator

The toughest tree in Petworth has come down. How do I know this was the toughest tree? Is there a way to measure tree toughness?

Here are some numbers: A red oak, it measured 5.5 feet across by 6.5 feet long — proof that not all trees are symmetrical or round. It grew to be more than 60 feet tall and more than 16 feet in circumference in a tree space smaller than the typical Washington DC kitchen. The above-ground root mass was more than 19 feet long. Encapsulated in that root mass — a storm drain and a 2x4 piece of wood

There likely were few mourners when it came down. After 70 years of great service, shading a DC public school in the 1300 block of Allison Street NW where young women and men once went to study cosmetology and other trades, it had become a hazard to the people, school and homes nearby. The center was hollow, chewed away by insects and other creatures of the food chain. I will miss this big oak, which stood as a metaphor for the Petworth that valued families and education above all else. The neighbors will miss for more practical reasons next July, when the temperatures hit the 90s.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Announcing the Winter Almanac

Casey Trees is marking the first day of winter with the release of our Winter Almanac, an informative guide for tree care and maintenance during the cold months.
  • Inspect for broken branches. This is especially important following snow or ice storms. Damaged branches should be pruned carefully. For guidance visit
  • Water your trees. Once or twice a month if temperatures stay above 40 degrees. Evergreens are especially vulnerable to drying out in winter. Once the ground has frozen, do not water.
  • Protect your trees. Do not allow heavy snow or ice to weigh down evergreen branches. Do not sweep leftover salt into tree boxes or storm drains. Sweep up and dispose properly.
  • Install deer damage management practices when appropriate, such as mesh fencing or tall tree guards.
  • Assess trees for structural pruning. Have your trees been in the ground for at least three years? Are there competing central leaders? Signs of included bark? Do some branches need to be subordinated to help other, more important branches grow stronger?
  • Appreciate your trees. Trees reveal their structure in winter. Use this time to see the differences in cones produced by conifers, including cedars, pines, spruces and junipers.
You can download the Winter Almanac from the Fact Sheets page on the Casey Trees website.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - December 17, 2010

Cherry trees after the snow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fall CTP Season Recap

Met Branch Trail CTP 12-11-10
WOW! This fall, with the help of almost 1,000 volunteers and Citizen Foresters, Casey Trees planted more than 450 trees across the District through our flagship Community Tree Planting (CTP) program. Combined with our spring CTP plantings, there are 851 new trees in DC.

Highlights from the fall season included Safe Shores on Oct. 23 and the Metropolitan Branch Trail on Dec. 11. Deals for Deeds sponsored the CTP at Safe Shores and helped add 37 trees to the advocacy center's campus. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, with funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation, sponsored the planting of 29 trees along the popular Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Consider joining the ranks of these generous organizations and sponsor a CTP event or make a year-end donation of any amount to support our work. Your charitable gift will make a real difference.

Check out all the locations for all the newly planted trees - and those from past seasons - on our interactive online Casey Trees Map. You can search by tree species, event name or planting location. 

We have received a record number of CTP applicants for spring 2011 so rest up and get ready to plant with us again starting in March. Sign up to receive our e-newsletter so you know when the planting schedule is published.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Community Tree Planting Recap - Met Branch Trail

Our planting this weekend at the Metropolitan Branch Trail was our final Community Tree Planting of the year. If you haven't been to the Met Branch Trail yet, it is an eight mile cycling and walking trail that stretches from Union Station to Silver Spring, Maryland, following the old route of a historic B&O Railroad line. It is a fantastic urban connector path that passes through some great neighborhoods in Northeast DC including our new Brookland home. We planted trees along the off-road section of the trail near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, where the trail follows the Red Line Metro and existing heavy rail tracks.

Volunteers planting trees alongside the trail.
The planting was attended by 31 Citizen Foresters, 13 Casey Trees staff members and 16 volunteers from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and Gospel Rescue Ministries. We planted 29 trees: Cherokee sweetgum, Kentucky yellowwood, Eastern Redbud, paperbark maple, crape myrtle, golden raintree and saucer magnolia. The CTP was sponsored by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, with grant funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation. We'd also like to thank our Citizen Foresters who came out to help us this weekend and supported our planting efforts throughout 2010.

Finished planting!
Keep an eye out for our Spring 2011 planting schedule in January. We'll have even more opportunities to volunteer than even this past Fall season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - December 10, 2010

Georgetown late fall streetscape.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Casey Trees Plants Trees for Georgetown

These past few days, the Casey Trees planting crew has been hard at work. As the tree planting season wanes, our staff replanted street trees in Georgetown.

Tree planting in action.
The planting locations, selected by the Urban Forestry Administration and Trees for Georgetown, include tree boxes that are empty or have dead trees or stumps, as well as stretches of sidewalk that can accommodate new tree boxes. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, we planted 33 trees (London plane, Chinese elm, river birch, sweetgum and purple robe black locust) in our first of two major plantings. A second planting of 21 oaks will take place in March.

Our partner Trees for Georgetown donated a portion of its fundraising efforts to offset our tree purchase and labor costs for this project, as well as providing custom-made, wrought iron protective fences for the newly planted tree boxes. Casey Trees will be taking care of watering with the High School Summer Crew this summer and pruning will take place following the second year. We are excited to be part of the effort to re-tree Georgetown, and we are looking forward to planting more in the spring!

This Tuesday, newly planted London plane trees joined the Georgetown streetscape west of Wisconsin Avenue.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Community Tree Planting Recap - Crestwood

At the penultimate Casey Trees Community Tree Planting event of the year, neighbors and volunteers came together to make a major residential tree planting effort this past weekend in Crestwood. It was a nice day for planting trees, although it certainly was cold! We planted 35 trees representing a wide variety of species: red maple, willow oak, river birch, sweetgum, black tupelo, northern red oak, American Holly, American Elm, American Beech, serviceberry, white fringe and redbud.

Removing a newly placed tree from its burlap wrapping.
We had a turnout of 61 volunteers (18 of them were Citizen Foresters), including groups from American University, George Washington University, Society for Green Business, For Love of Children and DC Cares. We would also like to specifically thank the Crestwood Citizens Association, project co-organizers Doug Barker and Frank Samuel, our staff liason Maisie Hughes and lead Citizen Forester Jeff Furr for making this event possible.

Volunteers enjoy a well-deserved lunch after a chilly tree planting.

Crestwood was also recently the site of two Casey Trees Trees Count neighborhood tree inventories, in 2009 and 2010, as a part of an ongoing partnership between Casey Trees and the Crestwood Citizens Association.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - December 3, 2010

Large Trunk near the National Zoo.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tree of the Month - American Holly

Now that winter is approaching and the leaves of many deciduous trees have fallen, some of the most vibrant trees in our city become more apparent. The American Holly (ilex opaca) is an understory tree that is most prominent from October through the winter, with the arrival of its red berries that contrast with its dark evergreen foliage.

Holly fruits and leaves up close.
You will recognize an American Holly by its gray bark and its small and stiff oval-shaped leaves, which have spiny thorns along the edges. The leaves usually grow densely and the tree's overall shape tends to be pyramidal. When ripe, its small round fruits are usually bright red. White-petaled flowers come out in the spring. It is a small tree, and while it can get over 50 feet tall, it often grows far shorter than that, thriving in the shade of taller trees.

For many, this green and red tree represents Christmas. The American Holly was recognized by early settlers as being similar in appearance to the English Holly (ilex aquifolium) which was traditionally associated with the holiday, and is used decoratively. The native range of the American Holly is limited primarily to the mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States regions, spreading as far west as east Texas and as far north as Massachusetts. That means that the often humid climate of Washington, DC suits the tree quite well, although it is tough enough to handle our cold and occasionally snowy winters.

Two American Hollies
Facts about the American Holly:
  • The American Holly is the state tree of Delaware.
  • Ilex opaca is dioecious, meaning that the plants have either male or female flowers. Only females produce berries. Many people prefer the female variety, which is why you will find more hollies with berries on streets and in gardens.
  • There are over 1,000 different cultivars and hybrids of the American Holly species.
Use our interactive map to see where we have planted American Hollies. Search for "Holly, American" under the category Casey Trees' Plantings. Casey Trees has planted over 170 American Hollies, with plantings in every ward of the city. Walk around town this winter and you'll realize that this little tree can be found nearly everywhere!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - November 26, 2010

Maple Leaves in Mount Pleasant

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving From Casey Trees!

Thanksgiving artwork by Sara Turner.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Community Tree Planting Recap - Michigan Park and Edgewood

Northeast DC just got a little bit greener this weekend. Casey Trees staff and volunteers had a pleasant autumn Saturday planting trees at two locations in Northeast.

In a Community Tree Planting organized with the Michigan Park Citizens Association, nineteen Casey Trees volunteers planted fifteen trees, including Allegheny serviceberry, river birch, Deodar cedar, Japanese cedar, honey locust, Foster’s holly, tulip poplar and American elm. This is the second planting we've done with the Citizens Association, and we have another one planned for Spring 2011. Our thanks go out to Lead Citizen Forester Mariuccia Marolo and Project Organizers W. Thomas Lavash and Lori Moller for making this event possible.

We worked with the Edgewood Civic Association to plant 25 trees (cherries, river birch, katsura, southern magnolia and sweetbay magnolia). One southern magnolia was planted in the name of Kenyatta Stanley, a teenager killed by a stray bullet in 2009. Attending the memorial shoveling of the soil were her mother, Sharon Stanley; her sister and brother. We had a turnout of 46 volunteers, including fifteen of our Citizen Foresters, Councilmember Harry Thomas, ANC Commissioner Silas Grant, and members from Greater DC Cares and the Edgewood Civic Association. Thanks to Lead Citizen Forester Scott Opis and Project Organizer Tim Clark!

After a short break for Thanksgiving, we look forward to meeting more volunteers who want to help out in Crestwood on December 4th. Sign up on our website.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - November 19, 2010

Brilliant fall colors at 31st Street NW.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Headquarters Profile: Green Features at 3030 12th Street NE

This is the third of three posts about our new headquarters at 3030 12th Street NE and our tree yard at 3015 12th Street NE in the Brookland neighborhood. We are excited about our new home, and we wanted to share with you some of the green features we have implemented.

As well as planting a rain garden for the 3015 12th Street NE property that houses our tree planting operation, we also have a plan to implement a comprehensive system for stormwater management at our main office. The nearly completed design implements a 1,700 square foot bio-retention planter rain garden that will capture up to two inches of rain in a storm, a planted strip of street trees, a specially designed sidewalk that supports the street trees and a cistern that collects rain water.

View the full-size draft plan for the rain garden site. Some details may change.

In a rain event, ground level stormwater flows from the green roof surfaces and parking lot into the rain garden. Additional rain water is captured by a cistern stored in the building's garage. When a rain event overfills the capacity of the cistern, water spills directly into the bio-retention rain garden. During most rainy conditions, virtually no rainwater will flow into the city's storm sewer system. The rain garden will feature a lot of great trees: black gum, Jefferson American Elm, river birch, sycamore, sweetbay magnolia and baldcypress. These trees soak up immense amounts of water and greet visitors to the building.

Silva Cells being planted underneath the sidewalk in August 2010.

Underneath the 12th Street sidewalk, we constructed a Silva Cell sidewalk, which allows for tree roots to expand underneath the solid ground, using an underground frame and deck support system. It looks like a normal sidewalk above ground and supports foot traffic, but tree roots are growing in the 90% void space filled with soil, expanding far further than a conventional boxed planting would permit. Sweetgum trees will be planted along the road.

Casey Trees staff were responsible for much of the planning and design process behind the green construction at our headquarters. As with our green roof design, we could not have accomplished our goals without generous help from our partners. A grant from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) paid for the cost of installing the the infiltration planters on the 12th Street NE and the Silva Cells supporting the adjacent sidewalk. The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) funded the bio-retention planter and the cistern (as well as the green roofs).

The site where the rain garden will be planted, with the newly constructed Silva Cell sidewalk on the other side of the fence.

Read the media release about the move to our new headquarters, and check out our website for more photos and information.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Headquarters Profile: Green Roof

This is the second of three posts about our new headquarters at 3030 12th Street NE and our tree yard at 3015 12th Street NE in the Brookland neighborhood. We are excited about our new home, and we wanted to share with you some of the green features we have implemented.

Close-up of a green roof at the new Casey Trees HQ.

The 10,000 square foot Casey Trees administrative building is a half new, half renovated office building on the 12th Street NE corridor in Brookland. The key feature of the building is a green roof system that covers just over 25% of the roof area. There are three green roof sections covering part of the first floor and garage, and the upper story roof is covered by a white "cool roof" which reflects sun off the building and keeps the interior cool. Part of the reason for constructing the green roofs on top of the first floor was to ensure the visibility of the roof for staff and visitors. We planted three different types of green roofs, each with more than half a dozen varieties of herbaceous flowering plants (primarily the sedum genus). The design of the green roof maximizes water absorption, while keeping the building much cooler than a conventional roof would in summer months.

If you haven't seen a green roof up close before, you may be surprised to find that they are not simply elevated grass lawns. In fact, they aren't made of grass and you actually shouldn't walk or sit on top of a green roof unless you are maintaining it. It is built only for the purpose of gathering as much rainwater as possible. If there is excess water, it filters through pebbles surrounding the platform and flows to storm gutters. The storm gutters at the Casey Trees site empty into our rain garden and bio-retention site. Even though these roofs are utilitarian and efficient in nature, they are beautiful to behold.

A section of green roof is unrolled like a carpet.

Non-profit green roof advocates DC Greenworks and Level Green Landscaping worked together to get our green roofs constructed and planted in a matter of days. This project would not have been possible without funding from the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). We hope to use our green roof design as a model for sustainable development in DC, as part of our participation in the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES) Pilot Program.

More pictures of the new green roofs.

Read the media release about the move to our new headquarters, and stay tuned for more blog posts about the eco-friendly features of the site.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Headquarters Profile: Tree Yard Rain Garden

This is the first of three posts about our new headquarters at 3030 12th Street NE and our tree yard at 3015 12th Street NE in the Brookland neighborhood. We are excited about our new home, and we wanted to share with you some of the green features we have implemented.

The Casey Trees rain garden on the day of planting.

On a rainy day like today, one realizes that the District gets a huge amount of rain water. Where does that water go? In areas that are completely forested, like Rock Creek Park, stormwater gets absorbed into the ground, as a part of a natural process that supports life and filters pollutants from the water. But in the rest of the city, where buildings, sidewalks and roads take the place of water-absorbing trees and plants, it's a different story. Those millions of gallons of water need to flow somewhere, and the water that isn't absorbed by street trees and gardens goes to our sewer system as runoff. On average, even a half of an inch of water in a storm can cause excess water (and all of the pollutants carried with it) to overflow from the sewer system, directly into our waterways.

That is why we have installed a rain garden at our tree yard at 3015 12th Street NE across the street from our new office headquarters, transforming an abandoned gas station into an attractive staging area for our tree planting activities. Stormwater drains from the impervious paved area of the property to the rain garden, where the water is filtered in a simulated natural process, infiltrating into the ground instead of being directed to the sewer system. 

The goal is to intercept the "first flush," the runoff water containing the greatest concentration of pollutants. The rain garden spans the length of the 12th Street side of the property and features a wide diversity of plants and trees, including red osier dogwood, bald cypress, river birch, New England aster, sweetbay magnolia and switchgrass. The site hosts our tree planting crew's tools and equipment, and we keep up to 225 trees ready for planting on location.

We are making this effort and other similar efforts to reduce our environmental impact, showing what is possible with a small property in an urban environment.

The Casey Trees tree planting crew in action, next to the newly planted rain garden.

Read the media release about the move to our new headquarters, and stay tuned for more blog posts about the eco-friendly features of the site.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Community Tree Planting Recap - St. Gabriel's Church

Kudos to the 50+ volunteers who came out to re-tree St. Gabriel's Church on Grant Circle in NW. We had a lot of student support from The American University, George Washington University and University of Maryland, College Park. 

We hope you caught the tree planting bug and come out again. Four Community Tree Planting events remain. Sign up.

In the Field - Tree Planting in Shaw-Howard

Contributing Writer - Sara Turner, Arborist Auditor  

The RiverSmart Homes program is a unique partnership between Casey Trees and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) that helps homeowners add shade trees to their residential property for just $50.00 per tree.

As the RiverSmart Homes Arborist Auditor, I visit the homes of all the individuals who have requested trees. To get there, I ride my bike. I have found that biking allows me to see a greater number of interesting things and see how neighborhoods compare in their tree planting efforts. 

I have been particularly impressed by what is going on in the Shaw-Howard neighborhood. Good trees such as sweetgum, serviceberry, southern magnolia, redbud and sweetbay magnolia are taking root in people’s front yards at an impressive rate. 

This fall, through the Riversmart Homes Program, Casey Trees planted at three houses along S Street NW and at one house on 6th Street NW. Three other residents within the quarter-mile radius, shown in the map, are signed up for a spring (March-May) planting. Other residents have planted trees through our Tree Rebate, Community Tree Planting and Treescape Design Workshops.

View a full-size version of the map of the trees planted in the Shaw-Howard area by Casey Trees through our RiverSmart Homes program and other efforts.

Typically I meet with homeowners who all have one thing in common - they want a tree. Their reasoning for wanting the tree makes them unique. Common reasons include wanting to reduce storm water runoff, cool their house, add privacy, hide an undesirable view and infuse seasonal color. I consult with them on where they should consider adding trees and help them select tree species that will help them best achieve their goals.

Sara Turner and Berin Skoza stand by a newly planted tree.
Back in September, I had an appointment with Berin Skoza, an active and engaged citizen of the neighborhood. He wanted to green his neighborhood with trees. Berin took me around and introduced me to several of his neighbors. I met Heidi and her toddler. I consulted with Joe, a carpenter and designer. I worked with Gretchen who has lived in the neighborhood for over 25 years. I consulted with David and Ann. I met May, a lovely senior on S Street, who wanted a tree because her neighbor has one. She also saw our crew planting trees one day, and asked crewman Jabbari Brew, how she could get her hands on one.
Our Executive Director, Mark Buscaino, always reminds staff how important trees are for greening streets and cooling the District but also for bringing people together. My BFA thesis show of oil paintings and prints explored the theme of the sociological coming together of people through food and eating at the table and playing card games. It is very thrilling that even through a different medium – soil and woody plants – my work still focuses on the notion of people coming together. This time through trees!

Shaw residents have spread the good word, from neighbor to neighbor, about trees and about the work Casey Trees and the DDOE is doing. Thanks, Shaw Neighborhood, for letting me be a part of your community building.

For more information on our RiverSmart Homes program, visit our website or contact Sara directly at

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - November 12, 2010

Maple tree on 19th Street NW.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Contribute to Casey Trees Through the CFC

Are you a Federal government employee? At the end of this year, you have a chance to give back directly through the Combined Federal Campaign, a great annual workplace charity campaign for federal employees. If you want to donate to Casey Trees, it's really easy - our CFC code is 24598, which you can enter on your CFC pledge form. Any amount you choose to give would be greatly appreciated. Your financial contribution will directly support our innovative tree planting and education programs.

The deadline for pledging is December 15. Get in touch with us or the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area (the CFC for the DC region) if you have any questions, and remember that the CFC code for Casey Trees is 24598.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Community Tree Planting Recap - Tilden Gardens and Ellington Field

It's the middle of prime planting time in the fall, so we're making the best of the great weather! This past Saturday, with the help of our volunteers and community groups, Casey Trees organized two Community Tree Planting events, one at Tilden Gardens, and one at Ellington Field.

The Tilden Gardens CTP had an incredible turnout with 55 volunteers (including 10 Citizen Foresters). Sixteen trees were planted, with eight varieties represented: serviceberry, river birch, redbud, holly, red cedar, sweetbay magnolia, Yoshino cherry and swamp white oak. This is a great five-acre property and local residents really showed up in force to help out.

The CTP sponsored by the Burleith Citizens Association at Ellington field had the largest volunteer turnout of this season with 130 volunteers (including 11 Citizen Foresters). Groups from B&D Consulting, Ellington High School, Maret School, Georgetown University Alternate Spring Break, Georgetown men's and women's track teams, Burleith Citizens Association and Youth Villages all showed up to lend a shovel. There was definitely a lot of Georgetown blue and gray at this planting! Volunteers helped to plant 20 trees: holly, hornbeam, southern magnolia, red maple, sweetgum, London planetree, redbud, Chinese fringetree and tulip poplar.

As you can see from the turnout from this past weekend, volunteers and local community support really make these plantings possible. Thanks to all who came out to plant trees with us.


Apply for a CTP. Volunteer at a CTP event. Download the fall CTP schedule. Sponsor a CTP event.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

CTP 411: Where Do the Trees Come From?

Contributing Writer - David DiPietro, Urban Forestry Manager

This fall we will plant over 850 trees consisting of 60 different species across the District at 20 Community Tree Plantings and 218 residential properties enrolled in the RiverSmart Homes program. It is up to the Urban Forestry Manager - me - to locate and coordinate the purchase, delivery and storage of the trees. It is very important to be familiar with and purchase trees from nurseries in the surrounding areas for a couple of reasons.

One, the trees will do best if replanted in similar soil. For example, a tree grown in Georgia will have a much different soil composition than one grown in the mid Atlantic, thus resulting in added stressors for the tree.

Secondly, nursery stock varies greatly, from poor to exceptional and everything in between, and so do their growing practices. High quality trees grown with care have much better chances for success.

No one nursery will have every tree species we require. It can be necessary to pull from as many as five or more nurseries to procure all the trees. Once the nurseries are identified we can coordinate our deliveries. A tractor trailer full of trees will pull up to our yard in Brookland for unloading. We utilize a small material loader and ball carts to unload and place the trees in our yard. Staging the trees is an issue because our yard can only hold about 225 trees.

On September 28th we had our first of four large deliveries, which average approximately 200 trees per delivery. At the yard we stage the trees in organized rows per species. Each tree is tagged with the species, delivery date and which nursery it came from. These trees will be loaded up and delivered to their new home - possibly yours!

Apply for a CTP. Volunteer at a CTP event. Download the fall CTP schedule. Sponsor a CTP event.

CTP 411: How Are the Tree Species Selected?

Contributing Writer - David DiPietro, Urban Forestry Manager

All of our Community Tree Plantings (CTP) start with an application. We don't tell people where trees should go, individuals and groups come to us and say we want trees here. When trees are planted where they are wanted, there is a collective interest in their long term survival. Groups that receive trees agree to water and mulch them throughout their two year establishment period. When there is not that pre-existing buy-in, trees don't get cared for or monitored and they are more likely to die.

After a CTP application has been accepted, we assign a Lead Citizen Forester to work with the Project Organizers (PO) to determine what tree species to plant and where to plant them. We work closely with the POs to make sure their treescape plan meets their goals since the goals of each are different. Some want to introduce seasonal color to their landscape, others want shade or additional privacy and so on.

So how do we decide what trees to plant and where to plant them? It's a complicated answer, my friends.

We perform site visits, utilize aerial photography and gather site history in order to establish a planting palette. CTP groups mark the planting locations on a map. That helps for planning logistics and knowing where the trees go on the day of planting. After planting, that information is added to the Casey Trees Map.

Considerations such as: overhead utility lines, underground utilities, vehicular and pedestrian traffic, environmental exposure, topography, soil composition and surrounding vegetation are taken into account when establishing suitable species. Unless the tree is considered invasive, we do not outright refuse any tree selections. Some rare or exotic species may not be available for purchase and some may not be a valid option due to the aforementioned considerations.

The urban environment is very harsh for trees. Some trees are more tolerant of urban settings than others. It is important to utilize hardy species at sites that are close to roadways, parking lots, buildings and other urban stressors. (Learn which tree species do well in the District).

One of our goals at CT is to bring people together, plant trees and enjoy the benefits. That being said, we want to accommodate our CTP applicants as much as possible without jeopardizing the newly planted trees or their future.

Apply for a CTP. Volunteer at a CTP event. Download the fall CTP scheduleSponsor a CTP event.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The CTP 411

Our fall Community Tree Planting (CTP) season kicks off this Saturday afternoon with the planting of 25 trees on the grounds of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Rock Creek Parish in NW. Those doing the planting are our new batch of Citizen Foresters enrolled in this week's Tree Planting class. This is the first of 20 tree planting events scheduled to take place this fall between October 2 and December 11. When winter hits, over 400 new trees will be calling the District home.

Thousands of volunteers have helped us plant trees across DC through the CTP program since it launched in 2005 but not everyone knows how planting sites are selected, where the trees come from, the role of Lead Citizen Foresters in stewarding the projects, how all the trees and tools magically appear the morning of the planting, who the saint is that delivers coffee and bagels and so on.

The next two weeks of blog posts will demystify the process and bring much deserved attention to those who make the re-treeing of DC possible. Our very own Urban Forestry Manager, David DiPietro, will author the posts and get us excited for fall - the ideal time to plant trees.

For those of you interested in volunteering to help plant trees, view the complete fall CTP schedule, then sign up to attend. If you would like to become a Citizen Forester, make a day of it and register for the Tree Planting class this Saturday, October 2. All our classes are free unless noted.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Contributing Writer - Lacey Brown, Education Coordinator

My eight weeks with the 11 hard-charging, dedicated and lively high school students of this year’s Casey Trees' Summer Crew came to a triumphant end Friday. I feel a great sense of accomplishment for myself, the students and Casey Trees as an organization.

Summer Crew is all about achieving goals focused on
tree care, job responsibility and career development.

We want to lead students in caring for trees (watering, weeding and mulching) that we have planted within the past three years, train them to show up to work on time and work a full schedule and expose them to different careers in urban forestry.

We also set a goal to water 2,500 trees over the eight-week session. When the students reached that goal at the beginning of week five, I could not have been more proud. They went on to surpass that goal, watering over 4,500 trees by program end.
Another goal, which seemed very pie-in-the-sky at the time, was to water each tree on our list three times. Due to their dedication, each tree was watered four or five times.

On the first day of the program we asked each crew member to share their goals for the summer. The students mentioned wanting to do something worthwhile with their time, help out their City, meet new people and learn more about trees and environmentalism. One goal shared by all the students, and one I hope they achieved, was to find a career path or hobby.

After a summer caring for trees, they’ll never be able to look at our urban forest the same. They won’t be able to look down an urban street without thinking, “This street needs more trees,” or “Those tree boxes should be bigger. They won’t be able to visit a park without thinking, “Those young trees really need some water,” or “That picnic area needs some shade.” They won’t be able to visit a home without thinking, “A tree could be planted there… and there… and there.” I hope this experience leads them to careers in forestry and a life-long love for trees.

Casey Trees welcomes sponsors for this life-changing program. Summer Crew is an opportunity for individuals, groups and businesses to inspire and support the next generation of tree stewards. For more information, click here.