Friday, August 26, 2011

Tips for Summer Tree Care: Proper Placement

As summer winds down, our final tree care tip can help you prepare for the upcoming fall season. This past July was D.C.’s hottest month ever—surely either you or your house’s cooling bill suffered the effects. You can avoid similar woes in summers to come by planting shade trees on your property this fall!

Conditions for planting are best during the fall and the spring, when temperatures are cool and rainfall is more frequent. Early fall is also a great time to plant because root systems have a chance to stabilize before harsh winter weather sets in. So you know when to plant, but where should you plant? Here are some important things to remember when deciding the location of your new tree:
  • Keep the tree’s mature size in mind. Plant at least 10 feet from buildings, three feet from sidewalks and 10-20 feet from other trees depending on their size.
  • If possible, plant on the southwestern and western sides of your home. Strategically-placed trees that shade your home from the sun can save you 10 to 30 percent on cooling costs!
  • Plant around utilities. Call Miss Utility at 1-800-257-7777 to have your underground utility lines marked for free. Plant at least 10 feet from overhead wires and three feet from underground utilities. 
New trees can be costly, but if you take advantage of our Tree Rebate program you could save up to $100 per tree! Improvements to the Tree Rebate program have removed quantity limits, so you can receive rebates for each tree you plant. Rebate amounts depend on the size and species of each tree. Read more information and check our list of qualifying trees here.

Too busy to do all the planning yourself or want some guidance on tree selection? With our RiverSmart Homes program, a Casey Trees representative will come to your home, determine the best location and return at a later date to actually plant the tree. Learn more about the program.

    Friday Photo Feature - August 26, 2011

    Tree planting at Catholic University this past spring. We'll be back at CUA planting trees on October 1.
    Sign up for our Tree Planting Workshop to become a Citizen Forester and plant trees with us!

    Upcoming Casey Trees Events for Fall 2011

    We're happy to announce the upcoming season of classes, presentations and tree walks from Casey Trees. We have a whole season of educational opportunities for you to dive into this fall. If you've ever wanted to become a Citizen Forester, learn about trees in the city or find out more about our programs, these events are for you.

    While you're planning on which events to attend, make sure to sign up online ahead of time. All classes are free and all require advance registration. This allows us to plan for the right number of participants and anticipate staffing requirements. Most sessions are held at our 3030 12th Street NE headquarters, although some events will allow you to explore other parts of the city.

    Here is the full list, with links to find out more and register online:

    You can also take a look at the full event calendar to see all events.

    If you have any questions about events organized by our Education department, contact Shawn Walker, Urban Forestry Instructor.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Meet Casey Trees at Columbia Heights Day on Saturday

    It's the prime time of the year for community festivals and gatherings and we'll be there for it. Look out for us at Columbia Heights Day on Saturday. You can ask a pressing tree question, learn about our programs and upcoming events, get Casey Trees gear or just say hello! We will be at a table all day. We look forward to seeing you there!

    Some schedule to help you plan your day:

    The event will be held on 11th Street NW near the intersection of Kenyon Street. Also check out the community tent at 13th and Kenyon. It looks like it will be a great event with lots of events, booths and music.

    While you're in the neighborhood, you can visit Casey Trees community tree planting sites from Spring 2011: Columbia Heights Village and Columbia Heights Education Campus.

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Friday Photo Feature - August 19, 2011

    An American elm.
    View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees

    Take a Stroll Through Tudor Place with Our Newest Downloadable Tree Walk

    Looking for a tree-packed nature walk right here in the city? Check out this month's downloadable tree walk featuring Tudor Place in Georgetown. Tudor Place boasts an impressive collection of trees, from White and Chestnut oaks to its historic tulip tree - designated as D.C.'s "Millennium Landmark Tree." Just print out the map to use as a reference while you traverse the site at your own pace and time.

    Our downloadable tree walk map for August. Click the image above to view the full map.

    Maps feature:
    • An introduction to the site
    • Its trees' common and Latin names
    • Pin-point locations for trees of interest with accompanying descriptions
    • A walking rating, defining level of difficulty, surface type, ADA accessibility, distance and estimated walking time 
    If you're looking to saunter through a new, unexplored area of the city, any one of our downloadable tree walks may be just your style. However, if you prefer a human tour guide, you still have the option of taking an in-person tree walk at one of various locations around the District. Check out our calender of events for upcoming tree walks, classes, community tree plantings and other events.

    Views of Tudor Place's lush grounds.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Summer Tree Spots: Congressional Cemetery

    Our final Summer Tree Spot is a little different from the first five in the series. True, a cemetery might not be your top pick for a place to picnic. But loaded with history and decorated with various tree species, Congressional Cemetery makes the cut for must-see sites in the District.

    Cherry trees bloom behind headstones in March

    Located at 1801 E Street Southeast in Ward 6, the Historic Congressional Cemetery spans over 35 acres of land. 14,000 headstones—some extravagant, some old and surprisingly simple—and a remarkable September 11 memorial grove are just a couple reasons to visit the cemetery. Within five years of its founding in 1807, Congressional Cemetery became the resting place for 13 congressmen and two vice presidents. Today it is on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to quite a few late Americans who played a major role in shaping our nation. Among them are:
    • Elbridge Gerry, Vice President to James Madison and signer of the Declaration of Independence
    • Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 until 1935
    • American composer John Philip Sousa, known for his famous marches including “Stars and Stripes Forever”
    • Leonard Matlovich, Vietnam War veteran and gay rights activist—the powerful quote on his headstone alone justifies a trip to the cemetery
    • Pushmataha, chief of the Choctaw nation in the early 1800s and negotiator of several land treaties with the United States
    • Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood, woman suffragist and the first female attorney permitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court

    A young sweetgum buds on Congressional Cemetery grounds during a Community Tree Planting event in March.

    A complete interment index can be found here on the Association for the Preservation of the Historic Congressional Cemetery’s website. You can also print themed walking tours or enjoy a docent-led tour offered every Saturday at 11 a.m. through October.

    Don’t forget to observe the September 11 memorial grove during your visit. The grove is located on the west side of the cemetery, near 17th Street SE. Lummi healing poles that travelled 4,500 miles from Washington State and were blessed by 13 Indian tribes across the country make the memorial grove particularly special. Casey Trees donated the grove’s 148 trees in 2004. Most of the commemorative trees are hornbeams and Chinese elms, though there are several American witchhazel trees, galaxy magnolia, American elms, and okame cherry trees as well.

    The Lummi Healing Poles stand among memorial grove's long line of trees. Photo credit: Mr. T in DC
    For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, a dog-walking program and more, visit the website for the Association for the Preservation of the Historic Congressional Cemetery. You can also learn about the individual trees by checking out our Casey Trees map. Simply search for 1801 E St SE under "Address or Place", zoom in and click on each tree for species and origin information.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Citizen Forester Spotlight: Kevin Kelso

    Ever since he was a child, Citizen Forester Kevin Kelso has had a passion for trees. A native to Des Moines, Iowa, Kelso says one of his earliest memories “is looking out the window of the car… and seeing the towering trees on either side of the road forming a green archway overhead.”

    After moving to D.C., Kelso was shocked by satellite images showing the District’s diminishing tree canopy that appeared in The Washington Post. They were the same images that moved philanthropist Betty Brown Casey to establish Casey Trees in 2002. Kelso was concerned for the District’s trees and began following the efforts of Casey Trees, “fascinated by its tree inventory project.”

    Kelso (left) works with a fellow volunteer at a Community Tree Planting event in March

    In 2007, Kelso acted on his love for trees and attended one of Casey Trees’ free classes, Introduction to Trees and Inventory (now called Trees 101). He has been a committed Citizen Forester ever since, qualifying as a Lead Citizen Forester in 2008 and attending more than 40 Community Tree Planting (CTP) events.

    For Kelso, planting with Casey Trees is always a “rewarding experience.” He loves tree planting events because they present an opportunity to meet new people and visit different neighborhoods. He also says that there is a meditative quality to tree planting: “mundane concerns are displaced by the focus on getting that tree in the ground.”

    Sure, planting events are self-gratifying for Kelso, but his motivations for volunteering with Casey Trees are also altruistic. Unlike all too many of us, Kelso grasps the long-term effects of our interactions with the earth. He takes pleasure in knowing that the reconstruction of D.C.’s canopy will create a “lasting improvement that will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

    This Citizen Forester spotlight was featured in the August issue of our online newsletter The Leaflet. Read more stories from The Leaflet or sign up here to receive updates from Casey Trees!

    Spots Still Open for Stand Up for Trees!

    Spots are still available for our next free Citizen Forester-qualifying class! Stand Up for Trees will be held on August 27 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at our headquarters, 3030 12th Street NE. Sign up today!

    We know that increasing the District's Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) from 35% to 40% by 2035 will be no small feat. Casey Trees is determined to make it happen, but it will take the support of informed citizen advocates to help us get there. At Stand Up for Trees, Maisie Hughes, Director of Planning and Design, Sue Erhardt, Director of Education and Shawn Walker, Urban Forestry Instructor, will teach you everything you need to know to advocate for trees in your community.

    Stand Up for Trees will:
    • Teach you about the tools that are provided by the District's municipal services
    • Provide advice from community members who have effectively increased their neighborhoods' tree canopy
    • Help you create action plans to stand up for your community's trees
    • Qualify you as a Citizen Forester
    • Feed you - a light breakfast and lunch will be provided
    Trees can't speak for themselves. Together we can make sure that old ones are protected and new ones are planted, to reach our goal of 40% UTC coverage by 2035. Visit our calendar to sign up for Stand Up for Trees and to view other upcoming events. We hope to see you on August 27th!

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Wrapping Up the Summer Crew Season

    Contributing Writer - Priscilla Bocskor, Education Coordinator

    The 2011 Summer Crew (and the Casey Trees Education and Urban Forestry support staff).

    Wow! This summer really flew by. I’m so proud of the work our High School Summer Crew students did this summer. Even during July, the hottest month ever in D.C., the Summer Crew not only reached the tree touch goal of 5,946 trees but exceeded it! A total of 6,202 trees were watered by the truck and Water By-Cycle Summer Crew 2011.

    All of this watering is critical for the survival of newly planted trees, which the Summer Crew was able to visit three or four times over the course of the summer. During the past 8 weeks the District never received the 1.5 inches of rain a week that these trees need.

    A dry willow oak in June near Casey Trees HQ that was watered regularly by Summer Crew (currently doing OK).
    Summer Crew students not only watered and cared for trees but learned valuable job skills and earned all four of their Career Development Days. During Career Development Days students spent the day learning about one of the following green careers related to trees: Arboriculture, Landscape Architecture, Nursery Management, and Geographic Resources.

    While the summer may be over, the benefits of Summer Crew 2011’s hard work will have long term impacts as these trees grow and contribute to D.C.’s 40% tree canopy goal. Thank you Summer Crew 2011!

    Learning about tree inventory and mapping at the National Zoo.
    Summer Crew members at a tree care event at Michigan Park in Ward 5.
    Caring for American elms at Daingerfield Island.

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Summer Crew Update #8: A Challenging Learning Experience

    Contributing writer - Ann Elise Trafford, Summer Crew Team Member

    Taking a break from cycling around the city.
    Before summer started, I expected my time on Casey Trees' Summer Crew to be routine. However, this summer has turned out to be much more for me.

    After reading our orientation packet I was expecting the work environment to be strict. Yet, I found the high expectations to be extremely helpful because it emphasized the importance of job responsibility - one of the three goals of the program - to us. For example, arriving to work on time was expected so we were very diligent about showing up before 8:05 a.m. I think we all ran down 12th Street in our bright yellow shirts at least once to make it on time!

    I also did not expect hard work to be so fun. Even during the hottest days, my spirits were always high because we talked, joked and encouraged each other throughout our shift. Surprises like ice pops and cold Gatorade helped too! This experience has taught me how to effectively balance work and leisure time so I can accomplish what needs to get done and be able to enjoy the task.

    Summer crew members exploring the city.
    One thing I am extremely grateful for is being introduced to my fellow crew members. Over the past eight weeks we have really bonded. Even during mundane activities there was never a dull moment in their company. I think this summer has meant different things to each of us but I am confident everyone would say that this has been a great experience for them.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Summer Crew: Tree Planting Crew Update

    Contributing writer - Jabbari Brew, Urban Forestry Crew Member

    Being a part of the Summer Crew truck team has been a fun and enjoyable learning experience for me. Riding with truck team is like getting a free tour of the city. I get to visit every ward and see what common trees are in different neighborhoods. I have discovered how beautiful and unique Washington D.C. is and how it is changing. I have seen beautification of areas that have been ignored until recently. For example, closer to my own neighborhood we are watering trees: a mix of cherry trees and river birch at Ballou High School as well as oaks and crabapples at Congress Heights Park (both places that our tree planting crew has planted trees this past April).

    I play a major role in Summer Crew operations as a co-pilot of one of the two Casey Trees trucks assisting Ed Bell on his famous "bucket brigades." I manage the flow of water from the truck’s bladder, which holds 500 gallons of water, to the buckets. I fill buckets and move them into a receiving line for the students while trying to reduce spillage. When one of our water tanks malfunctioned, I improvised a method to dip the buckets and scoop water out of the tank.

    Filling up buckets from the truck's water bladder.
    I also help the crew chiefs navigate the eight wards of the District to water all of the trees we planted. We have tree maps as a guide to our watering routes. The maps are pretty informal - they include the location of the trees and the maps’ color coding helps us prioritize what trees need water the most. It has been our goal to water red dots on the maps (trees planted in the last year) four times. The maps also indicate where fire hydrants are so that we can refill the truck's water bladder.

    Jabbari demonstrates best maintenance practices to prospective Summer Crew members.
    Overall, it has been a very intense, hot summer, which added a significant challenge to the already difficult work. One the hottest days had to be July 22 when the heat index was close to 115. We had to stop early because it was too hot, yet we watered enough trees to satisfy our goal for the day.

    I also help engage the Summer Crew students in their work and try to make it meaningful to them by teaching the students tree identification. I hope that the students leave Casey Trees feeling connected to trees, and I believe knowing a tree’s name helps build that connection. As we water the trees I know we all have come to appreciate them more, especially the shade they provide us for a cool lunch spot on a 90 degree summer day.

    Friday Photo Feature - August 12, 2011

    It's the last day of High School Summer Crew!
    View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Summer Tree Care: Care for Your Trees, Don't Carve

    We’ve all on occasion seen words, images or initials carved into a tree’s bark. Whether the perpetrator acted to profess an eternal love for someone special or was simply looking to make his or her mark, many unsuspecting trees fall prey to this senseless act of tree-violence. It simply isn’t necessary! And it isn’t healthy for the trees involved, either.

    Large or small, any cut made into a tree causes serious, lasting damage. Food and water are transported directly under the bark through the phloem and xylem. Carving into this vascular system prevents the flow of nutrients to different parts of the tree, ultimately causing it to die. Wounds are most visibly made by knives and other sharp objects but can be caused by nails or staples, too. So next time you're hanging up a yard sale or lost dog sign, skip the trees in favor of the closest telephone poll.

    Birch and aspens are often the targets of tree carving artists. Their smooth, white surface offers a tempting canvas, but again, think of the tree! Trees already have many potential dangers in an urban environment; don’t add your artistic expression to that list.

    This poor tree doesn't feel the love. Photo credit: Benimoto
    While today's tip is one preventive measure when considering a tree's health, there are many more proactive ways to care for your trees. Check out some previous Summer Tree Care tips on careful gardening, mulching and identifying pests, or take a look at our Calendar for upcoming tree care-related events and classes, including the Citizen Forester-qualifying class Stand Up for Trees on August 27.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Summer Crew Update #7: Learning Mapping at the National Zoo

    Contributing writer - Claire Carter, Summer Crew Team Member

    Summer Crew members Claire Carter and Sarah Turner learn mapping from Director of Geographic Resources Tom Buckley.

    Lions and tigers and bears were certainly all around us today as we made the trip to the National Zoo. However, for most of us it was the first time that we were studying the lindens, tulip trees, and birches throughout the zoo. It was amazing to realize that besides all of the exotic animals on display at the zoo, the diversity of the trees was beautiful. The trees were mature, well taken care of and helped to replicate a more natural habitat for many of the animals.

    Arguably the most difficult part of the day was realizing that I had little to no command on the use of a compass, however, with Tom Buckley’s help my partner and I were quickly able to grasp a better command on using the compass only for navigation. We did both agree that the electronic GPS still would win the award for ease of use and familiarity. But to learn about the triangulation by hand was informative and makes me think I will be fine if I go hiking without technological assistance!

    Navigating the zoo by paper and compass.

    To finish up the day we headed back to the office, to learn about Walking Papers, a grassroots initiative to improve mapping around the world by submitting mapping data to Open Street Map (kind of a Wikipedia for maps). So the Summer Crew tried our hand at it and mapped the trees along the block of the Casey Trees office. We got to use the handy tape measure that converts the circumference of the trees to the diameter which is helpful to identify how healthy the tree is based on how old it is. Afterwards we input this data into the website and the Summer Crew has now contributed our part to an inventory of the Brookland neighborhood's trees.

    Today was a great career development day which really showed how important the mapping of areas can be, especially in being able to keep track of the trees that we are watering and other trees throughout the city. And of course seeing the cute animals was a bonus!

    Tune in to Tree Talk Thursdays

    After a long hot summer, you're probably ready for a weather change. But are your trees? Tune into Tree Talk Thursday tomorrow from 12 noon to 1 p.m. to learn how to prepare your trees for the shift into storm season. Joining us will be Keith Pitchford from Pitchford Associates. Get great advice from Pitchford and our own expert Sara Turner on how you can minimize storm damage to your trees and property.

    Tree Talk Thursdays is our online chat series. Visit our webpage tomorrow at noon tomorrow to tune in or ask a question. If you would like a reminder before the event, enter your email address on the page and you'll be invited to join when the chat starts.

    You can also view our past Tree Talk Thursday chat sessions about choosing an arborist, summer tree care and other timely tree topics. Submit questions to our experts during the chat, or ahead of time by e-mailing us at or tweeting @CaseyTrees. We look forward to seeing you there!

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Photos: Inventory and Mapping at the National Zoo

    Last Friday, the High School Summer Crew completed their fourth and final professional development day of the summer. As a reward for meeting their tree touch goals, development days featured a number of activities, each focusing on a different 'green' industry to help foster professional development. Not only did the Summer Crew reach their tree touch goal, they surpassed it by 534 trees - caring for 5,579 trees. Great job!

    While most visit the National Zoo for its wonderful array of animals, the Crew spent their morning navigating its grounds using a combination of GPS, laser range finders and topographical maps. Their objective: try to identify trees (without looking at its often conveniently placed species tag), considering its location on the map and approximate height. This outing at the Zoo gave the students an opportunity to learn more about mapping and tree inventory.

    Geographic Resources Director Tom Buckley provides some initial instruction.
    GPS helps determine this tree's location.
    Crew members use leaves to help identify this tree.
    An example of the topographical maps Crew members used.

    Crew member Sarah Turner uses a laser range finder to measure a tree in the distance.

    Summer Crew students with Urban Forestry Crew Members Jabbari Brew and Edward Bell.

    You can check out the rest of the pictures from this event on Flickr.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Summer Crew: Tree Planting Crew Update

    Contributing writer - Edward Bell, Urban Forestry Crew Member

    I began working at Casey Trees in the fall of 2010 as a crew member, and this summer I took on new leadership: managing a group of students on our Summer Crew and driving the water truck.

    My experience over the summer can be summarized in four words, “my cup runneth over.” It might sound cliché, but I am thankful for the opportunity to have an impact on the environment and help care for an important part of our urban community: the trees. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with younger people and having a positive impact on their lives. I shared with them the basic knowledge about watering and tree care. I led by example and demonstrated good work practices like being prompt to work, working hard, and working well as a team. How do I motivate the students? I like to yell, “bucket brigade!” It’s my call to action to get work done.

    This summer has definitely been a memorable one. We have watered thousands of trees and my crew didn’t get any traffic tickets or have any accidents. With only have one more week of the Summer Crew season we're planning on staying safe and productive.

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Friday Photo Feature - August 5, 2011

    A close-up of our irrigation system at our headquarters' garden. Also see last week's photo.

    Summer Crew Update #6: Exploring the District

    Contributing writer - Grace Pooley, Summer Crew Team Member

    As the 2011 High School Summer Crew session comes to an end, I have been thinking a lot about the unique opportunity I have been given to experience so many different parts of the District. As a resident of Prince George’s County in Maryland, I was not familiar with many D.C neighborhoods before starting at Casey Trees. As my team biked across the District, I got to know new areas including Trinidad, Adams Morgan, H Street Corridor, Brookland and Columbia Heights.

    Taking care of trees planted at Phelps School.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Casey Trees, helping to care for D.C's urban forest and making friends I never would have met without joining the Summer Crew. After graduation next Friday, I will miss meeting up at the tree yard in the morning to do our stretches and all the exciting and fun times we have had around the city. Hopefully the 2011 Summer Crew will get to meet up in the future at a volunteer event and explore the city again!

    The Water By-Cycle team's equipment.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Summer Tree Spots: Cedar Hill

    The Frederick Douglass House at Cedar Hill, built in 1855

    Whether you’re looking for a historical adventure or just a pretty place to picnic, Cedar Hill is the perfect location for a stay-cation day in D.C. Located at 1411 W Street SE in Ward 8, Cedar Hill is a National Historic Site that was home to abolitionist and writer Frederick Douglass. The site's restored house, diverse tree canopy and spectacular view of downtown D.C. make it a Summer Spot well worth visiting.

    Frederick Douglass and his family occupied the 21-room mansion and 15 acres of land at Cedar Hill from 1877 until 1895. After Douglass’s death, the site belonged to several non-profit associations before becoming a unit of the National Park Service in 1962. It has since undergone two restorations and is now open to the public year-round.
    Shade trees at Cedar Hill. The small building is the Growler, where Douglass used to think and write.

    What to do:
    • See where Frederick Douglass worked and what inspired him. Tour times and reservations for the Frederick Douglass House are available here.
    • Check out the old white oak tree on the front lawn, the largest tree that was alive and well when Frederick Douglass lived at Cedar Hill.
    • View the D.C. skyline from across the river.
    • Explore native tree species such as tulip trees, white ashes, black locusts and several kinds of oak trees. 
    • Pack a picnic to enjoy on the shady lawn of Cedar Hill.
    A great view of the Washington Monument from the steps of Cedar Hill. Photo credit: Tedeytan

    Casey Trees hosted a Tree Walk at Cedar Hill in 2010. Tentatively, we will offer one again this fall. Check back often to our calendar for updates on Tree Walk schedules and other upcoming events. 

    Can’t wait for the next docent-led tour? Take advantage of our free downloadable tree walks. Sites maps are currently available for the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land and the NGA Sculpture Garden. Check back for new downloadable tree walks added monthly.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Tree Rebate Increased for Large Canopy Trees

    Casey Trees' popular Tree Rebate program just got better.

    Starting today, rebates of up $100 are now available for select large canopy trees. Seven genus and 27 species – mostly native hickories and oaks - qualify for the increased rebate. Rebates of up to $50 per tree will continue to be available for small and medium canopy trees.

    Funded by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), Casey Trees' Tree Rebate program provides rebates to individuals who purchase and plant a tree in D.C. Rebate requests must be accompanied by a completed coupon pledging to water and care for the tree for a minimum of two years and a purchase receipt for each tree.

    Additional program revisions allow for the rebate to be submitted for trees planted on nonresidential property in D.C. and the elimination of the three trees per property maximum. Trees must continue to be planted on private property and not on public property such as in street tree boxes, triangle parks or traffic circles.

    Rebate forms are accepted year-round but we encourage you to plant trees in the fall (October-December) and spring (March-May). Trees planted during the summer may not be able to survive the intense heat stress experienced in D.C.

    Invasives including the Bradford pear, Norway maple, Tree of Heaven, Mimosa, Sawtooth oak and Siberian elm and the Ash tree should not be planted and do not qualify for the rebate. Dwarf trees and shrubs are also ineligible.

    Downloadable rebate forms, instructions and a complete list of trees eligible for the increased rebate are available on our website. Also be sure to plant smart this fall. Consult our Right Tree, Right Space guide before purchasing and planting any tree.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Tree of the Month: American Linden

    The heat of mid-summer is well underway in D.C. If outdoor shade is what you seek, refuge under our Tree of the Month for August, the American linden (Tilia americana), just may provide some relief.

    The American linden, also commonly known as American basswood or lime, is a tree native to North America and traditionally found throughout New England, Quebec, New Brunswick, the Great Lakes region and downward into the South. When fully mature, the American linden can grow to a very impressive size, with fully developed specimens ranging from 75 to 130 feet in height and three to four feet in diameter.

    This American linden towers over surrounding structures.

    There are a few noteworthy characteristics to help identify the American linden. Its bark is vertically ridged and gray in color, with quite long, overhanging limbs. In late June or early July, small, yellow clusters of flowers bloom at the tip of its branches - a fragrant attraction for honeybees, eager to extract pollen for their production of sweet honey. It is also a deciduous tree, meaning that in just a few months its canopy will be ablaze with autumn color, eventually shedding its leaves for the winter months.

    Facts about the American linden:
    • It's leaves are heart-shaped and deep green in color on top with a paler shade underneath.
    • The Japanese beetle finds its leaves particularly tasty, as they are susceptible to the invasive insect.
    • Their extensive, sprawling root system can support a lifespan of 100 to 150 years. 
    • It qualifies for our tree rebate program (up to $100 per tree).

    American lindens originally lined Massachusetts Avenue during much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Recently, plantings by the Urban Forestry Administration and the work of the nonprofit group Restore Mass Ave have aimed to restore and protect the historic integrity of the American linden along the avenue. The U.S. Capitol Grounds is another location in the city for some great examples of the tree. You can take a look at the Casey Trees Map to locate American lindens across D.C.