Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Casey Trees staff frequently gets asked what tree reference books we recommend. While we are not in the business of recommending books - Oprah Book Club we are not - I can share with you some titles that staff regularly consults. Their worn covers and dogeared pages are a testament to their usefulness.

In no particular order, here are some tree reference books you can peruse at your leisure or add to your wish list.

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses
Author - Michael Dirr
  • Color photographs showing a selection of trees at maturity make this a great book to consult when studying twigs and buds or when selecting a tree for your yard. However, the book size makes it too big to take on a hike.
Here are some suggestions that are easy to stuff into a bag:

Smithsonian Handbooks: Trees

Author - Allen J. Coombes.
  • Trees is divided into broadleaf and conifer, then subdivided into families. For example, oaks and beaches will be found together under Fagaceae. The photos include leaves, fruit, flowers and buds.
National Audubon Society: Field Guide to Trees, Eastern Region.
  • Trees are presented by type of leaf (simple, compound), with flowers and fruit color-keyed.
Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Trees
Authors - George Petrides and Janet Wehr
  • Color plates in the front illustrate buds, fruit, twigs, flowers and leaves. Text is in the rear.
City of Trees: The Complete Field Guide to the Trees of Washington DC
Author - Melanie Choukas-Bradley
  • Descriptions and photos of trees familiar to this area, plus historic and other places to see significant trees. Ms. Choukas-Bradley frequently leads tree tours for Casey Trees.
USDA: Field Guide to Native Oak Species of Eastern North America.
  • This handy guide is out of print but needs to be brought back. Detailed information about four dozen oaks, with drawings, leaf comparisons and detailed descriptions. Grab it if you can find it.
National Arbor Day Foundation: What Tree Is That.
  • This will allow you to key out a tree based on leaf or needle and buds. Good for young trees, hard to use in a more mature setting where buds are not at eye level.

Want a more substantive book?

The Urban Tree Book: An Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town

Author - Arthur Plotnik
  • Mr. Plotnik follows the alphabet, describing more than 200 urban trees. This is more of a narrative, with a little history or cultural information about trees ranging from tree of heaven to sweet gum to many oaks. A terrific book for browsing.
The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live and Why They Matter
Author - Colin Tudge.
  • A little geology, a lot of botany and an enjoyable read by a research scientist. It will change your perception of what is a native tree.
Teaching the Trees: Lessons from the Forest
Author - Joan Maloof
  • Ms. Maloof lives on the Eastern Shore and writes about native trees we have taken for granted and are losing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


While we are already two weeks into the new year it is not too late to make resolutions for 2010. Actually the Chinese New Year is just approaching...

I always start my resolutions in February because the holidays are too busy to think about them and I never like to start my "get fit" routine among all the others who share that same goal. I find that a month in people have forgotten that pledge and I no longer have to do hand to hand combat for a machine. Not cruel, just strategic.

One resolution that is easy to make and keep is making DC a better place to live, work and play by helping the City become more green. Think trees. There are many ways you and your family can do it and Casey Trees can help you actually fulfill that resolution.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Plant a tree at home.

    Three great cost saving options for you:

    • RiverSmart Homes - Offered through DDOE, Casey Trees will plant a shade tree of your choosing from a pre-approved list on your property for $50.00 per tree. The number of trees is only limited to the available space.
    • Tree Rebate - Purchase and plant a tree at home and submit your receipt with the rebate form and receive up to $50 back per tree (up to 3 trees per property). This is a great option if you want to plant a tree on your own and/or the tree species is not available through RiverSmart Homes. No invasives or Ash trees allowed.
    • Treescape Design Workshop - Want to design a custom treescape plan for your home? Work with our landscape design professionals to create a plan that meets your goals such as introducing shade and/or seasonal color to your yard. Participants receive a free shade tree.
  • Volunteer.

    Planted out your own space and want to help others? Casey Trees offers year-round tree planting, tree care and tree inventory volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn more about trees, visit different neighborhoods and advance our Urban Tree Canopy Goal of 40 percent by 2035.
  • Organize a Community Tree Planting (CTP).

    Identify ten or more locations for trees to be added and request a CTP. Casey Trees provides the trees, tools and technical assistance for free. We will even help you recruit volunteers. Requests for a fall 2010 planting must be in by June 15.

  • Help a neighborhood inventory their trees.

    Community Tree Inventories (CTI) help groups identify the condition, species, and location of their existing trees and plantable spaces. Following the inventory we provide the groups with an analysis of our findings and develop a strategy to meet their goals.

  • Nominate a Tree of Note.

    A new feature of the Casey Trees Map created to connect people to trees in the District deemed special because of their size, history and/or personal significance. Individuals can nominate a Big Tree, Witness Tree or My Tree and even add a tree they have recently planted to be counted towards the City's UTC Goal.

  • Become an advocate.

    Taking a Casey Trees class is the perfect way to become better informed about the District's urban forest and learn how you can encourage developers, elected officials, civic associations, etc. to protect and care for existing trees and add new ones. All our classes and programs are now free with the exception of the Tree Summit on March 25, 2010.

  • Tell a friend.

    Word of mouth is powerful. Telling a friend about Casey Trees and its programs is great. Forward this blog post, drop them an email or call them up. Even better is inviting one or two friends to an upcoming program, planting or class.
As you can see there are a number of ways Casey Trees can help you fulfill your resolution to make DC more green. So go ahead, be bold and get green with Casey Trees.