Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Contributing Writer - Lacey Brown, Education Coordinator
Ongoing Series - Trees of Note

This is the Red maple (acer rubrum) that lives in front of my new house. It’s a young, spindly thing - in all ways nondescript, not really at all impressive. However, it’s my favorite tree in DC simply because of the potential it represents.

When my husband and I were house hunting we fell in love with the neighborhoods adorned by graceful old trees soaring over the houses, casting their shade on the streets, yards and sidewalks below. The trees created neighborhoods where I found the people a little more friendly and more likely to exchange smiles and hellos with passerbys. How could you not be pleasant when in such an inviting streetscape?

While we don't live on one of these picturesque tree-lined streets, the trees we do have are full of promise and diversity. There are very old, tall trees with large canopies and gnarled root structures toppling out of their too small tree boxes. We have medium size trees that provide an ample amount of greenery and shade. And there are empty tree boxes anxiously awaiting their new occupants.

Then there is My Tree, the red maple in front of my house, just a couple of years old, brand new to the street just like we are. My Tree will grow as we grow in our new home.

By the time we add a new porch, our tree will be big enough to help shade it, creating a cool, outdoor space from where can greet our neighbors. When we are ready to add interior shutters to the windows, its branches will have grown even more and shade the rooms from the sun, lowering our utility costs. As plumbing issues pop up, we can rest assured that is root structure will have developed enough to help mitigate heavy rains. And if we decide to sell our home, I know my tree will increase its curb appeal and resell value.

Without question, we must appreciate and protect the mature trees that line our streets and dot our parks but we must be sure to appreciate and care for our young trees, like my red maple, to ensure that we will always be able to live, work and play beneath towering, green archways.

Visit this Tree of Note!
13th and F NE
Washington, DC

See all the Trees of Note on the Casey Trees Map.

Red Maple 101:
  • Location - native to eastern North America; one of the most common deciduous trees.
  • Crown - oval shape.
  • Height - 40'-60' tall.
  • Foliage - 2"-4" long, opposite, simple
  • Color - green above, whitened beneath; turns bright red and yellow in fall.
  • Flower - small, hang in clusters, usually bright red; appear in spring before leaves.
  • Fruit - clusters of 1/4"-3/4" long samaras with slightly divergent wings; light brown; ripen in late spring, early summer.
  • Bark - on young trees, smooth and light gray, with age becomes darker and breaks up into long, fine, scaly plates,
  • Landscape use - excellent shade and street tree, good choice for urban areas with ample room for its root structure.

Nominate a Tree of Note! All individuals that nominate a Tree of Note by Arbor Day on Friday, April 30, 2010 will be entered to win a signed copy of City of Trees by Melanie Choukas-Bradley. All Trees of Note can be found on the Casey Trees Map.

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