Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Community Tree Planting Recap - Ward 6

This past week has been a big one for tree planting in Ward 6. We planted trees at five sites: St. Colleta of Greater Washington, J.O. Wilson Elementary School, Two Rivers Public Charter School, Congressional Cemetery and Sherwood Recreation Center.

Students celebrating the J.O. Wilson tree planting.
At J.O Wilson Elementary School we had another successful school planting with 42 students planting trees (as well as 12 adults and seven Casey Trees staff). We planted 12 trees total including four cherries sponsored by the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The event was attended by At-Large Councilmember Sekou Biddle as well as representatives from the school, the Friends of J.O. Wilson Ground Committee, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, ING and NoMa BID.

This past Saturday was a big day with our two big volunteer plantings occurring simultaneously at Sherwood Recreation Center and Congressional Cemetery. We planted 16 trees at Sherwood and 28 trees at Congressional Cemetery (two allees of shagback hickories and black gums). The plans were complicated by the National Marathon operating in close proximity to the events. Our own Volunteer Coordinator Carol Herwig briefly had to join the marathon runners to pick up Starbucks coffee for the Congressional Cemetery event! Citizen Foresters finished planting at Sherwood quickly and made their way over to the event at the cemetery to enjoy barbeque and beer provided by the event organizers.

Volunteers at Sherwood Rec Center.

We had a lot of fantastic volunteer groups at both plantings. At Congressional Cemetery: 50 total volunteers, 12 Citizen Foresters, five Casey Trees staff, the local dog park members, Society of Collegiate Black Men (Howard University), Epsilon Sigma Alpha (George Washington University), Friends of Historic Congressional Cemetery. At Sherwood: 68 total volunteers, eight Citizen Foresters (including our board member Barbara Shea) and five staff. Thanks to everyone who braved the marathon traffic to plant with us. We were especially excited to return to Congressional Cemetery as we had planted there in spring 2006. The trees planted then had grown from small two inch caliper trees to shade-producing eight inch caliper trees that are healthy and starting to bud this week.

Moving a tree into place at Congressional Cemetery.
You can view photos from these plantings on our Flickr page. There are photo sets from Congressional Cemetery, Sherwood Rec Center and this seasons planting events at schools. If you want to see all of the events from this season, browse the Spring 2011 collection or take a look at the map of photos from recent plantings. There are plenty of opportunities this season to join us at planting events so take a look at our calendar and register to volunteer online.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Celebrate Arbor Day with Casey Trees

Casey Trees is hosting an Open House to celebrate the official opening of our new home in Brookland and Arbor Day and you are invited!

Join us on Saturday, April 30 from 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. for an afternoon filled with family-friendly activities, demonstrations, building tours and neighborhood tree walks. Don't worry, we will have refreshments available to keep your energy level up so you can enjoy it all.

If you are interested in attending, please register by April 24. We can't plan a party without knowing who is coming!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Community Tree Planting Recap - Tait Triangle and Hamilton Rec Center

Volunteers at Tait Park hard at work.
This weekend we organized two community tree planting events at Tait Green Triangle Park and at Hamilton Recreation Center. Both plantings featured cherry trees sponsored by the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Our first Saturday planting took place at Tait Triangle Park, a small park on the edge of the D.C./Maryland border just north of American University. We had 46 volunteers in attendance, including five Citizen Foresters, six DC Cares volunteers, 20 American University student volunteers and five Casey Trees staff. We would especially like to thank Project Organizer Michelle Pangallo and Lead Citizen Forester Stephen Bronskill for helping make this event possible.

On this triangular open canvas of grass, we planted 14 trees, including three cherry trees. Of course, there are always surprises at a Casey Trees planting: in a flash of excitement and peril, the Casey Trees tent went flying in a gust of wind, directly toward a group of volunteers. Staff quickly brought the flying tent under control, but one of the supports was damaged and the tent could not be closed. Crew Chief Michael Nelson was able to repair the tent to the point of closure and saved the day.

Closing remarks after planting trees at Tait Park.
After planting trees, we gathered to hear remarks from neighbors, Friends of Tait Green Park group, AU's Ecosense student group, Councilmember Mary Cheh, National Cherry Blossom Festival President Diana Mayhew and appreciated a poem from a neighborhood girl who composed a poem for the occasion. You can see more photos from the Tait Triangle tree planting on Flickr.

We also planted trees at the Hamilton Recreation Center in the 16th Street Heights neighborhood. 10 trees were planted, including three cherries, a dawn redwood, a red maple and a ginkgo. There were 39 volunteers in attendance, including seven Citizen Foresters and six staff members. Special thanks go out to Project Organizer Brenda Oliver and Lead Citizen Forester Katherine Lin!

Check out our online calendar of events and register as a volunteer so you can lend a shovel to more tree planting events this spring.

Announcing the Spring Almanac

We're marking the beginning of spring with our Spring Almanac, a guide for taking care of your trees in the months ahead:
  • Install Ooze Tubes for the spring-summer-fall watering campaign. Remember 25 to Stay Alive for trees that have been in the ground fewer than three years. Young trees need 25 gallons of water a week (or 1.5 inches of rain) to thrive in the Washington DC area.
  • Protect your trees by removing winter weeds and emerging grasses from around the trunk base. Add trunk guards if lawn mowers or weed whackers come near your trees. Consider deer guards for tender trunks.
  • Mulch your trees to keep them moist and discourage summer weeds. Use a thin layer (2-3 inches) and keep the mulch at least 3 inches from the trunk to prevent insects from damaging the trunk base.
  • Inspect for dead or crossing branches. Take a careful assessment of trees that were damaged in the winter storms. Damaged branches should be pruned carefully. Dead branches should be removed. Damaged or stressed trees might need special attention this year. For guidance visit
  • Appreciate your trees. Red maples and elms are blooming now. Serviceberry flower buds are emerging, and cherry and plum blossoms are due. Spring gives us a chance to take a closer look at the evolving leaf, flower and branch structure. Observe how many of the leaves will make subtle color changes in the coming months. The elm leaf will open lime green then darken. 
You can download the Spring Almanac from the Fact Sheets page on the Casey Trees website.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - March 18, 2011

A cherry tree on Irving Street NE. Click image to see larger on Flickr.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Community Tree Planting Recap - Fort Mahan

This past Saturday we had a fantastic tree planting at Fort Mahan. Including volunteers and staff, there were 84 people helping to plant 26 trees. We planted oak, persimmon, tulip poplar, redbud, amelanchier and sycamore. Joining us at the planting were 26 Peace Corps returned volunteers and staff, 16 Citizen Foresters, 14 volunteers from Anacostia Groundworks and other volunteers from National Park Service, Deloitte Touche and School Without Walls.

Peace Corps volunteers celebrated the organization's 50th anniversary by planting with Casey Trees this weekend. We were really excited to have such a great turnout and we'd like to thank everyone who helped out. You can see more photos from the Fort Mahan event as well as others from this season on our new Flickr page.

We have a full planting schedule ahead this season - check out our online calendar of events to register as a volunteer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Casey Trees on Flickr

Newly planted tree on Massachusetts Avenue.
As we begin the spring 2011 planting season, we are introducing a new resource to feature our best photos and to tell the story of how Casey Trees and our volunteers plant trees. We're using Flickr because it's a great place to view photos in high resolution and because the community features will allow us to share more about our efforts to promote trees while enabling volunteers and others to contribute their photos of trees in the District. Visit our page often, as we will be updating it with new photos from our events regularly.

We have an archive of all of our recent tree planting photos, and we will feature photos from events after they occur. On our Flickr page, collections include seasons or larger periods of time, while photo sets feature a single day of pictures. All of our photos are geotagged so you can see where we are active on the map. Flickr also has a great feature that presents photos in a full-sized slideshow. Here is a slideshow from our tree yard set showcasing our new tree arrivals for the spring 2011 season. As always, we will share some of our favorite photos on this blog.

You can contribute to Casey Trees on Flickr as well. If you have a Flickr account you can submit photos to our Group Pool by simply joining our group and adding a photo from your photostream. When you add a photo to the group, your photo is shared with us and anyone else who visits the Casey Trees Flickr group page. If we like your photo, we might feature it on this blog or on our website, attributed to you. Our only rule for submitting photos is that the picture should be about Casey Trees or about trees in Washington, D.C. So get a roll of film (or memory card) loaded up and share your photos of trees with us!

Sunset at Casey Trees Headquarters.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Community Tree Planting Recap - Catholic University of America

We are off to a great start to our spring Community Tree Planting season this past weekend with our largest Tree Planting class to date. We welcomed 46 new Citizen Foresters and planted 25 trees at the Catholic University of America. This is our third tree planting at the university to date. We planted white oaks, willow oaks and dawn redwoods along the drive to the Raymond DuFour Center.

CUA's President John Garvey came out to plant trees with us as well as maintenance staff, 14 veteran Citizen Foresters and 18 Casey Trees staff members. You can check out more pictures from the event on Flickr and on Facebook. We would like to thank everyone who came out to learn how to plant trees. Our Citizen Foresters will be donning their red safety vests this spring season at over 40 planting events! You can register online to attend an upcoming Community Tree Planting or to find classes and other opportunities offered by Casey Trees.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - March 4, 2011

Street tree on New Hampshire Avenue NW. Click image to see larger on Flickr.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tree of the Month: Serviceberry

A precocious tree, the serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring. Its creamy white or pale pink star-shaped flowers bloom in loose clusters toward the tips of the branches soon after the ground has thawed in March and April.

A serviceberry in bloom.
Photo credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State University,

Songbirds and mammals, including black bears, eat the serviceberry’s fruit, which are small and round and red, purple and black in color. The tree fruits in early summer until August.

The ovate leaves have small, sharply pointed teeth and fine, soft hairs on the surface when young. Serviceberries are native to woodlands in the United States from the Great Plains eastward to the coast and north into Canada.

Seviceberry leaves and fruits.
Photo credit: John Ruter, University of Georgia,

Facts about the serviceberry:
  • The fruit of the serviceberry tastes like a blueberry and is eaten fresh or used in pastries and desserts.
  • In some regions, the flowers are gathered for religious services, thus giving this tree its common name.
  • George Washington enjoyed the serviceberry and planted several specimens at his Mount Vernon estate.
Use our interactive map to see where we have planted serviceberries. Search for "Serviceberry" under the category Casey Trees' Plantings. Casey Trees has planted 402 varieties of serviceberries, with plantings in every ward of the city. Keep your eyes out for the serviceberries’ beautiful blooms this spring and when the berries begin to show, harvest them and make a pie!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Tree Arrivals at Casey Trees HQ

With a schedule of nearly 50 community tree planting events this spring, we will be planting a lot of trees. We're starting our season with a full yard of trees. Here are the recent arrivals:

65 trees arrived last week.
93 trees arrived yesterday.
183 trees arrived early this morning.
70 trees arrived this afternoon.

That adds up to a total of 411 trees! Our tree yard won't be bursting at the seams for long though, because we have a full calendar of planting events. Sign up to volunteer today! You can also see more photos of our new tree arrivals at the yard on our new Flickr page.