Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Crew: Tree Planting Crew Update

Contributing writer - Mike Nelson, Urban Forestry Crew Chief

Wow! Time flies when you’re blasting through thousands of trees, providing excellent annual care and much needed hydration amidst another blistering summer. We are entering week four of the Casey Trees Summer Crew program 2011. As a co-leader of six exuberant young men and women, I have the privilege of performing a necessary component of Tree Care while engaging in the maturation and career development of D.C.'s next generation of environmental ambassadors.

Filling up a five-gallon bucket from the water bladder attached to our trailer.
On a typical summer day, we begin at 8 a.m. where we split into two crews, prep the trucks/trailers for safety, stretch and head out with a 500 gallon water bladder and 300 gallon tank in tow. Our goal is to touch anywhere from fifty to one hundred trees planted within the last three years. Occasionally we use a hose inserted into a 25 gallon ooze tube with water sourced from a hydrant; but for often we haul several forty-pound, five gallon buckets of water from the bladder directly to the trees by hand. In addition, we occasionally mulch, weed, prune and clean up the area. You may see us weaving through traffic to position ourselves near a street tree; though you’ll also spot us in our bright yellow shirts at schools, parks, and the occasional cemetery.

We face ample challenges throughout the week, from fighting extreme heat to the obvious safety concerns of working along busy D.C. roadways. We always make sure that safety is our main priority when we're out in the field. Occasionally, we will find ourselves tight roping a narrow median such as East Capitol or New Hampshire Avenue.  However, at the end of the day we always have a sense of great satisfaction. We work hard encourage the growth of these young trees so that one day they will become giants.

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