Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Contributing Writer - Mike Alonzo, GIS Specialist
Ongoing Series - Trees of Note

As a tree grows, its character is shaped by several factors including the nursery that grew it, soil and weather conditions and of course who planted it.

While how a tree is planted and the skill level of the individual who planted the tree play important roles, so does the long term relationship between the tree and planter and the reason why the tree was planted. At Casey Trees, individuals, groups or companies can sponsor tree plantings to commemorate events or loved ones, and volunteers who help plant at our Community Tree Planting events can also help name their trees.

Sponsoring the planting of one or several trees not only helps restore the District's tree canopy but also serves as a thoughtful and lasting legacy to a person or event that has occurred in the lives of families, friends or individuals. No reason is too small or silly. These commemorative trees are all Trees of Note because they represent are special to someone.

For example.

“Max the Dog” passed in early 2009. “Rudy the Dachshund” passed in the spring of 2008. “Casey the Dachshund” passed in the fall of 2009. These fine gentlemen and beloved pets now live on as a Chinese Pistache, a Sweetgum and a Swamp White Oak respectively. You can find them in Northwest’s Reno Park and Newark Community Garden.

Tree plantings are also used to commemorate life. Some cultures and individuals (most famously, Matthew McConaughey) have a tradition where they include the placenta of a newborn baby when planting a fruit tree. The placenta nourishes the tree and is considered a gift back to the earth. This spring we planted our first placenta at the Developing Families Center in Northeast DC. It wasn’t with a fruit tree but the “Placental tree” Redbud next to the center’s garden is equipped to thrive. Don't worry - you can plant a tree to commemorate a birth sans placenta!

Some individuals give names to trees at our Community Tree Planting events just because it is fun. Volunteers named a Chinese Elm "Brad Pitt" in Mount Vernon and local university students named their Japanese Lilac “Angelina Jolie”. Interestingly, the students responsible for planting "Angelina Jolie" also planted an American Hornbeam they believed bore a close resemblance to hockey legend Mario Lemieux. I bet each of these individuals check in on Brad and Angela regularly.

And then there are the inexplicable but just as important to those that named them. Two Sweetgums and a Red Oak in the North of Mass Ave Business Improvement District are dedicated to (or named after?) “Squirrel”. Who is squirrel? We don’t know. One Serviceberry at the Developing Families Center memorializes “Divine Science”.

As you can see, the gravity of the occasion need not matter – a tree can be deemed special by anyone who plants it, cares for it, or simply enjoys its shade. We at Casey Trees encourage you to add your own Tree of Note along with their significant dedications or whimsical names to the Casey Trees Map.

Visit the Tree of Note pictured above!
St. Paul's Rock Creek Episcopal Church
Rock Creek Church Road and Webster Street NW

Deodar cedar Planted by the Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Washington

Sponsor a
Commemorative Tree planting!
Choose a public or private dedication to commemorate a person, loved one, or event important to you.


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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