Friday, February 26, 2010


According to storm rating scales, trees can be expected to shed twigs when winds reach around 40 mph. When winds reach around 55 mph, trees can be expected to break or uproot. Large, healthy trees should be expected to experience major breakage or uprooting until winds reach over 100 mph.

The National Weather Service is reporting that today’s winds will be from the northwest at 25 to 35 mph with gusts of 55 to 60 mph and locally higher gusts. This means that trees damage can be expected as follows:
  • Small twigs and limbs on structurally sound trees of all sizes;
  • Uprooting of shallow rooted trees and trees in restricted rooting areas in areas where gusts reach maximum levels; and,
  • Breakage of defective limbs and trunks on trees of all sizes in areas where gusts reach maximum levels.
To report damage to street trees, call the Mayor's Comment Line at 311 and request the Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) come out to prune or remove the tree. If a tree on private property is damaged, contact a certified arborist. You can find a certified arborist on the International Society of Arboriculture website.

Friday, February 19, 2010


We desperately want to channel Sally Field in her 1985 Academy Awards speech. To do so, you need to vote us Best Place to Volunteer in the City Paper's Reader's Poll.

All votes must be cast by Monday, March 15, 2010. You do NOT need to be a District resident to vote. It's okay, you can acknowledge us from afar. Your Alaskan cousin and Peruvian uncle can also vote for us so be sure to tell them how great it is to volunteer for Casey Trees.

Winners will be announced in the Best of DC issue on March 25, 2010.

Click here or the widget to the right to cast your vote.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Next month on Thursday, March 25, 2010 Casey Trees will host the nation's first Tree Summit right here in Washington, DC. With no travel costs for you locals how can you not attend?

The Tree Summit will focus on the condition of the District's existing Urban Tree Canopy and potential strategies to increase the canopy from
35 to 40 percent by 2035.

A multi-disciplinary group of researchers and professionals from federal, regional and local government and other communities involved in setting and implementing tree canopy goals as well as stakeholders from grassroots and community groups are confirmed to speak.

To view the schedule and topics, click

For arborists the Tree Summit qualifies for up to 6.25 Continuing Education Units for Arborists, Municipal Specialists and BCMAs (Management) and 6.0 Continuing Forestry Education credits in Category 1-CF.

Event details:
Tree Summit
Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

777 North Capitol Street NE

Washington, DC 20002

$40.00 per person

Lunch and break service included

Advance registration is required; space is limited

To learn more or register, click here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Be sure to listen to The Kojo Nnamdi Show tomorrow - Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 12 noon on 88.5 FM to hear Jim Woodworth, Director of Tree Planting, discuss how residents can address their tree concerns following Snowmageddon 2010. Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the US Botanic Garden, will join him.

Not free at noon? Download the podcast following the show. Who doesn't like to learn about trees while on the go?


So the ice has melted and you have surveyed your property and neighborhood and to your shock and horror discovered that the blizzard has fallen or irreparably damaged some trees. The general rule is - remove a tree, add a tree.

How do you do it?
A short review for those of you who didn't read Friday's post.

If the tree is a street tree, call the Mayor's Call Center at 311, and request tree removal by the City's Urban Forestry Administration (UFA). The tree, if still standing, and especially if near power lines, will most likely be removed in three stages. One crew will remove the branches, a second will take it down to the stump and a third will grind the stump. Why multiple stages? Think assembly line efficiency.

If tree is on private property, call a certified arborist. Click here to find a certified arborist. Trees on private property can most times be removed all in the same day and unless the tree was diseased a replacement tree can be planted immediately. This is where Casey Trees comes in.

Casey Trees offers multiple programs to help homeowners and groups add trees to their property for free or nominal amount. Here are a few options to consider.

Community Tree Planting (CTP) - The CTP program, established in 2005, is a grassroots approach to planting trees in neighborhoods throughout the District. Individuals and groups interested in adding trees – ten or more – to their apartment complex, school, church, park, synagogue, or even private yard may apply.

Applicants propose a planting site – in DC only – and locations for the trees. Successful applicants are assigned a Casey Trees-trained Lead Citizen Forester as a technical advisor to help applicants determine which tree species to plant and where, and develop a planting plan and maintenance schedule. Casey Trees provides onsite planting help all the required tools and trees.

Requests for a fall (Oct - Dec) planting are due June 15, 2010.

Treescape Design Workshops (TDW) - TDWs teach basic environmental concepts to allow individuals to incorporate trees in their yard or garden landscape. Casey Trees' experienced landscape design experts work with homeowners to create a treescape plan for their residential property.

Participants are encouraged to bring photos of their yard, a sketch of the property, location of existing power lines and trees, yard measurements, and an idea of what you would like your treescape to do for your home i.e. provide shade, seasonal color, lower utility bills, etc.

Each participant receives a FREE shade tree (approx. $250.00 value) delivered to their home. Advance registration is required; space is limited.

RiverSmart Homes - Through a partnership with the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) homeowners may request shade trees be planted on their residential property for $50.00 per tree this spring.

DDOE processes the requests and a Casey Trees representative visits individual homeowners determine the most appropriate trees and locations for planting in each yard. Once the tree species and locations have been chosen, Casey Trees will then schedule the planting. The cost of planting is included in the $50 co-payment. Space is the only limit to the number of trees we can plant on each property.

Tree Rebate - Homeowners who purchase and plant trees on residential property in the District may request a rebate for up to $50.00 per tree (3 trees max per property). Most trees with the exception of invasives and Ash trees qualify. The Tree Rebate helps make adding trees to residential property affordable for the average homeowner and allows individuals to select trees not covered by the RiverSmart Homes program.

Design Resources - Casey Trees provides Design Resources for both residents and developers. Resources include Green Issue Briefs, How To’s, Lunch and Learns and more. These resources provide DIY instruction and simplify the tree selection and planting process.

Remember - remove a tree, add a tree. We can help!

Friday, February 12, 2010


A record amount of snow fell in the District this past week. I felt each inch through my non-waterproof boots. Each inch.

Now that the snow has stopped falling and the City digs out we can turn our attention to the trees that have taken a beating and remind ourselves of best practices to ensure surviving trees can withstand future snow and rain storms.

If you noticed a street tree with any damaged limbs or was completely fallen call the Citywide Comment Line at 311. Be ready to provide them with a street address or intersection of where the damaged tree is located. You will be given a reference number that will allow you to track the request.

If the damaged tree is on private property, the property owner is responsible for the care or removal of the tree. It is important that damaged trees be promptly examined by a certified arborist to determine its structural stability, prevent or treat infection and/or provide restoration pruning.

While lawn care professionals are great and potentially more affordable than arborists, they are not tree experts. Think about it. You wouldn’t have a dentist remove your kids tonsils just because they have a knowledge of how tonsils work and offer you a better deal.

To find a certified arborist in the DMV area, visit the International Society of Arboriculture website. You can search for an arborist by last name, postal code, location or certification id.

What do you risk if you do not hire a professional? Time, money and the life of your tree.

If a large tree has lost or damaged branches, its food source may irreparably damaged. The amount of food a tree can generate for itself is based on its leaf surface. Less leaf surface, less food. Simply removing the branches may be futile if the tree will not be able to sustain itself. A certified arborist can tell you the likelihood of it surviving.

A tree can also generate several sprouts to compensate for the loss of branches. These shoots compete with one another for nutrients and threaten a tree's structure and stability. A certified arborist will be able to select which shoot to make the lead and over time prune the rest.

Lastly if a branch break is left exposed you are putting out a welcome mat out for infections. Remember, trees are just like any other living organism and can develop infections. They are not immune. A certified arborist can determine where to cut the branch back to so the most foliage – its food maker - can be kept.

As the snow melts flush the area around the trunk of street trees with running water to help wash away some of the salt-based deicing agents used on streets and sidewalks. If left, the salt can equalize out the moisture in the soil robbing the tree of water.

The primary take away today is to evaluate trees on and around your property for damage. Report damage to street trees to 311 and contact a certified arborist to examine trees on private property.

On Wednesday I'll tell you how Casey Trees can help you replace damaged or fallen trees and even add new ones through the
RiverSmart Homes, Tree Rebate and Community Tree Planting programs. Feel free to click on the name of each program to learn more now.

Until then, happy shoveling.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Under the Urban Forest Preservation Act of 2002 trees with a circumference of 55" or more are designated as Special Trees and given unique protection. The law makes it illegal to cut, remove, girdle, top or destroy a Special Tree without a permit.

To get a permit, individuals must:
  • Prove it is a hazardous tree;
  • Show the tree is a species identified for removal;
  • Pay into the Tree Fund; or,
  • Agree to plant saplings whose aggregate circumference meets or exceeds the Special Tree in question
Removing a large tree can be an expensive endeavour. So what do you do if you have a hazardous Special Tree on your private property? Effective January 1, 2010 new UFPA regulations went into effect to help homeowners mitigate the cost of removing hazardous Special Trees.

To receive financial assistance, a resident must:
  • Own a single-family dwelling in the District
  • Receive a homestead deduction on their property tax bill
  • Have a hazardous tree on the private property that the house is on or on the public parking area abutting the private property
  • Meet the income eligibility requirements of an income-contingent District government assistance program and show proof of enrollment
  • Complete an application for assistance
Within 30 days of the Urban Forest Administration receiving an application an arborist will inspect the Special Tree and make a determination. If the tree is determined to be hazardous it will be removed within 120 days of the date of inspection.

To learn more about the income-contingent program for hazardous Special tree removal, click here.