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!