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JUNE 2012

District of Trees:

Coverag e on D.C .’s Tree Canopy


Construction has begun at Casey Trees’ Tree Planting Annex Less than two years after opening its office headquarters at 3030 12th Street NE, Casey Trees will invest further in the Brookland community, this time at the property it owns next door at 3015 12th Street. The former filling station at this site is being renovated to meet the growing demand for Casey Trees’ tree planting work city wide. With planting numbers exceeding 2,000 trees at 100 events in all Wards across the District, Casey Trees needed to expand. While the footprint of the existing filling station will remain unchanged, renovations will transform it into Casey Trees’ Tree Planting Annex, housing an upstairs office space with tool and equipment storage on the ground floor. For green elements, the roof will be fitted with solar panels to offset up to 60 percent of the building’s energy needs, and the existing raingarden along the frontage of 12th Street will be preserved and continue to provide greenery to the block. “We are excited about our continuing investments in a community that welcomed us with open arms in 2010 and continues to be some of the strongest supporters of our canopy restoration work across the city,” Executive Director Mark Buscaino said. “We are proud to call Brookland home.” Renovations began last month and will run through mid-September.

CASEY TREES NEWS JUNE TREE TALK THURSDAYS TO FOCUS ON SUMMER TREE CARE | On June 14, Casey Trees will lead a discussion on summer tree care as part of its Tree Talk Thursdays online chat series. Hosted on Casey Trees’ website, Tree Talk Thursdays airs on the second Thursday of every month from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET. Questions are accepted prior to and during the chat session. Send an email to submit a question in advance or suggest a future topic. PRACTICE 25 TO STAY ALIVE THIS SUMMER | Young trees require 25 gallons of water a week — approximately 1.5 inches of rain — to survive the hot summer conditions and Casey Trees makes it easy for residents to know when and how much to water. Follow Casey Trees on Facebook and Twitter or visit the website for weekly watering recommendations REGISTER FOR TREEWISE BY JUNE 15 | Casey Trees is accepting applications from groups 2

interested in participating in TreeWise, a natureand place-based summer education program, developed to get youth ages 6-13 outdoors and foster appreciation and understanding of trees through fun, hands-on activities. Requests for counselors will be accepted until June 15. FALL 2012 COMMUNITY TREE PLANTING APPLICATIONS DUE JUNE 15 | If you are a member of a community group, educational campus, religious congregation or neighborhood association in the District and you would like to add 10 or more trees to your community, submit an application for the fall 2012 Community Tree Planting (CTP) schedule. Applications are due June 15. CASEY TREES ACCEPTING GROUPS FOR SUMMER TREE CARE EVENTS | Help Casey Trees water, mulch and weed trees, install slow-release watering bags and beautify the surrounding area at previous CTP sites. Email Volunteer Coordinator Liz Ball with a date, time, June 2012 | theleaflet

location (optional) and number of people. Groups have a maximum of 20 people. Summer tree care events run through the month of June.

URBAN FORESTRY NEWS STUDY SHOWS LINK BETWEEN INCREASED TREE CANOPY, REDUCED CRIME | Research from the U.S. Forest Service indicates a link between increased tree canopy and decreased levels of crime. Researchers used geocoded crime point data and high-resolution tree canopy data to analyze the relationship between trees and crime in Baltimore City and County. The more conservative spatially adjusted model indicated that a 10 percent increase in tree canopy was associated with a roughly 12 percent decrease in crime. When tree cover by public and private ownership was separated for the model, the study found that the inverse relationship continued in both contexts, but the magnitude was 40 percent greater for public than for private lands.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL INTRODUCES BILL CLARIFYING UTILITY TREE PRUNING AND REMOVAL | The Montgomery County Council has proposed legislation granting additional authority to homeowners in cases where they refuse to allow utility companies such as Pepco to remove a tree on their property. The legislation calls for a “Citizens Rights” provision, making it mandatory for utilities to explain in writing to landowners their rights when the company seeks permission to trim trees on private property. The legislation also requires that the County receives and approves vegetation management plans from utilities prior to work being conducted, and that the Montgomery County Arborist provide an opinion on the health and viability of a tree when the utility claims it should be removed in certain cases. Visit Montgomery County’s website for more information about the legislation and call 240.777.7803 to sign-up to testify about the bill.

IN THIS ISSUE... SPOTLIGHT: CASEY TREES BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEMBER WALKER A. WILLIAMS...................... 4 GIVING: SUMMER TREE CARE PROGRAMS.............................................................................................. 5 A SOUTHWEST D.C. TRAFFIC CIRCLE GETS A FACELIFT.................................................................... 6-7 SPRING 2012 COMMUNITY TREE PLANTING SEASON RECAP.............................................................. 8 CASEY TREE FARM STAFF INSTALL IRRIGATION SYSTEM..................................................................... 9 1951 AERIAL IMAGERY SHOWS DRAMATIC CHANGE IN D.C.’S CITYSCAPE............................... 10-11 DEVELOPMENT TRACKER: THE SHOPS AT DAKOTA CROSSING.................................................... 12-13 IMPORTANT TREE CARE TIPS IN THIS YEAR’S SUMMER ALMANAC................................................. 14 ARBOR KIDS: SUMMER TREE WALK....................................................................................................... 15

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Spotlight Walker A. Williams looks to strengthen communities through trees Walker A. Williams, Casey Trees Board of Directors member, garnered an appreciation for trees while in elementary school in East Orange, N.J., where his class participated in a commemorative tree planting ceremony. Now, eight years into his tenure as a board member, Williams brings his early understanding of the importance of the urban forest to Casey Trees’ mission. “You really appreciate trees and their role in our environment,” he said, “specifically climate change and what trees do to offset it.” When Casey Trees was founded in 2001, board members Nan King and Barbara Shea were looking to diversify the group. Then-Executive Director Jim Lyons got in touch with Williams, who tapped into his professional network to recommend candidates for board positions. Eventually Williams was asked to join the board himself. “I bought into the mission wholeheartedly,” he said. “There was no doubt I wanted to be a part of it.”


Williams has been around for many Casey Trees accomplishments — the creation of the Community Tree Planting and High School Summer Crew programs, the first nursery planting at Casey Tree Farm in Berryville, Va., and the building of Casey Trees’ Brookland office and tree yard facilities — but he most often talks about the work Casey Trees does with young people. Through his work with Leadership Africa USA, a nonprofit he founded that offers leadership and vocational training — primarily to secondary school students — in various African countries, Williams has realized the importance of youth education and outreach. He is particularly proud of Casey Trees’ curriculum and planting partnerships with D.C. schools, whose grounds are a great resource for teaching the importance of trees through hands-on activities with students and teachers. “I see Casey Trees becoming a more visible model for the country,” he said, “and, at some point over the next 10 years, internationally. Notably because of the great educational outreach work we are doing with the schools.” Williams is an example that learning about trees at an early age has lasting effects. Every time Williams returns to his hometown in New Jersey, he drives by the tree he helped plant as a child. It still stands in the schoolyard, a reminder of how trees are gifts that last for generations.

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Giving Casey Trees’ summer watering programs After an incredibly busy spring season that saw more than 800 trees planted in the District in just 10 weeks time, it would be fair to say that some much needed R&R would be welcomed. But at Casey Trees, the work is never done and newly planted trees need some serious care to ensure their survival through D.C.’s hot summer months. Luckily, the District’s trees will receive a helping hand this summer thanks to Casey Trees’ High School Summer Crew program. Since 2002, Summer Crew members have served as caretakers for the District’s trees, watering, mulching, weeding and tracking their condition over the course of eight weeks. Be sure to look out for one of the four Summer Crew teams traveling either by truck, or by bike as part of the innovative Water By-Cycle fleet. The nation’s first and only bicycle-powered tree care program, Water By-Cycle is now in its fourth year and allows Casey Trees to water and care for trees in neighborhoods with limited street parking without expanding our carbon footprint. And this year, Capitol Hill residents will see a familiar logo on the back of our Water By-Cycle trailer. The Capitol Hill Community Foundation, an organization that supports activities and projects that enrich their local community, awarded Casey Trees a generous grant to continue its summer tree care programs in Capitol Hill’s streets, parks, schools and homes.

healthy and vibrant this summer, consider joining our friends in Capitol Hill and make a gift to our Summer Crew this season. Your gift goes directly to helping your neighborhood and protecting the city’s most vulnerable trees. As summer rolls around and the temperatures rise, remember it is D.C.’s trees that provide us with the cooling shade that makes even the hottest days enjoyable. Let’s do our part this summer and give back so that future generations can enjoy the dog days in our nation’s capital. Donations are accepted securely online or via mail. Make your donation today.

OOZE TUBES NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE! Good news tree lovers! Casey Trees is now offering our custom-made ooze tube watering bags for the affordable price of just $10. Slow-release watering bags are a great way to ensure your newly planted tree gets the recommended 25 gallons of water per week. Made of durable plastic, the bags are quick and easy to install and use. Note that bags are available only for pickup from our office during normal business hours. We cannot ship bags. Please bring a copy of your receipt when you come to retrieve your bags. If you have any questions, send an email or call 202.833.4010.

To ensure your neighborhood’s trees remain

theleaflet | June 2012


Tree Planting Spotlight on Design: Southwest D.C.’s Delaware Circle By Jim Woodworth, Director of Tree Planting, Casey Trees | During this spring’s planting season, a small patch of turf grass at a quiet intersection in Southwest became quite a big focus of Casey Trees’ attention. At the intersection of Delaware Avenue and H Street SW, just blocks away from several, more frequented destinations such as the DMV, the Safeway at Waterfront Station or Nationals Stadium, sits an infrequently used traffic circle. The circle was once a lonely spot of grass, with divots where several old trees once stood, their stumps and roots having long since rotted away, leaving behind a lumpy and pot-holed open slate of lawn. In other words, a tree planter’s empty canvas. Each year, Casey Trees collaborates closely with Urban Forestry Administration arborist Jack Chapman on the American Elm Restoration program plantings in Capitol Hill and across Ward 6. Chapman’s initial vision was a ring of eight river birches surrounding a signature shade tree in the middle. But during a visit to Angelica’s nursery in


December, a clock face came to mind, with one birch per hour encircling the perimeter. So four trees were added to the total. With its white- and cinnamon-colored flaky bark, the river birches will serve year round to calm street and pedestrian traffic and also create a unique outdoor space.

SIGNATURE TREES Signature trees in the circle’s center came a short while later. Yellowwood, on Chapman’s wish list from the start, was a specimen tree planted to greet drivers approaching on Delaware Avenue. With its graceful, smooth gray elephant-like bark, compound leaf, and dainty, delicate white blossom, the yellowwood was a wonderful tree for the central foreground of this space. But both Chapman and Casey Trees envisioned an interesting and contrasting composition of several species. We wanted diversity in structure and height, trunk form and other features. A dawn redwood was chosen as a back drop, being the largest of the trees on site. This species has a conical shape and a strongly buttressed, irregularly fluted trunk form. With soft, feathery needle leaves and a reddish fibrous bark, the dawn redwood is rich with texture. This tree is also a rare deciduous

June 2012 | theleaflet

conifer, with excellent reddish brown fall color. Typically a towering tree, the tuliptree selection chosen was actually an opportunity to test one of only a handful of diminutive cultivars, called “Little Volunteer.” The tuliptree has uniquely lobed leaves and amazing, magnolia-like yellow and orange flowers that bloom in May, and is also a great honey tree for beekeepers. The Tree Planting Department is curious to see if the “Little Volunteer” gains in popularity as a medium-sized yard tree in some of the smaller landscapes in the District.

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Lastly, an extra redbud, which has vibrant rosy pink flowers, was tucked in for a bright splash of earlyspring blossom color. The cordate, heart-shaped leaf provides additional leaf texture and variety in this arboricultural bouquet. These trees will be on the High School Summer Crew’s watering route, so you may see a Casey Trees water truck or Water By-Cycle team stopping by. Do you have a similar barren patch of grass in your neighborhood? Consider applying for tree planting technical assistance through the Community Tree Planting program.


Tree Planting Casey Trees adds record 817 trees to D.C.’s canopy Records continue to pile up for Casey Trees’ flagship Community Tree Planting (CTP) program. This spring, nearly 1,300 adult and youth volunteers planted 817 trees — the most ever — at 47 sites across the District. A record number of fruit trees — 253 total — were also planted, mainly at community gardens and school grounds. More than 400 students from grades K-12 added 150 trees to 21 school campuses. Casey Trees’ record tree planting numbers this spring reflect a city-wide, multi-organizational effort over the last year and a half to increase the District’s tree canopy. The city received an A+ grade for Tree Planting in the Fourth Annual Tree Report Card, recognizing the 13,608 trees planted — well above the 8,600 needed annually to attain the city’s tree canopy goal of 40 percent by 2035 — by local and federal government agencies and private entities. “Last year, the District excelled at putting trees in the ground across the District,” Executive Director Mark Buscaino said. “We hope to continue that trend this year and our spring Community Tree Planting season laid a good foundation for 2012.” The National Cherry Blossom Festival sponsored 83 cherry trees this spring, commemorating the centennial of the original planting of cherry trees gifted from Japan. Casey Trees also partnered


with Potbelly Sandwich Shops in a cherry shake promotion, proceeds from which went to fund tree plantings at D.C. schools. Additional CTP sponsors this spring included The Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association and Young Lawyers Committee (Mayfair Mansions), Macy’s (Mt. Vernon Triangle), The Tower Companies (Groundwork Anacostia), ANC1A (Harriet Tubman Elementary School), Alliance for Community Trees and the People’s Garden (Beet Street Gardens), and The Nebraska Society (Calvin Coolidge High School). There is still time to submit an application on behalf of your community group or neighborhood for the fall 2012 Community Tree Planting season! Applications are due June 15.

June 2012 | theleaflet

Casey Tree Farm Farm staff begin installation of 12,000-foot nursery irrigation system Growing a tree might seem as simple as digging a hole in the ground, but there are actually a number of different practices to consider if you have the time and space to do so.

yard. Mulch can cover the tubes to add aesthetic value without impeding the drip.

On the Casey Tree Farm, staff are working now with drip irrigation as a means of keeping the acres of trees watered. There are several advantages to drip irrigation; mostly that it conserves water by both eliminating run-off and having a lower rate of evaporation. The water also gets deeper into the soil with the longer run-times of drip irrigation.


The number of trees planted on the farm more than doubled this spring, as did the amount of tubing to keep them irrigated. In one hour, 0.42 gallons of water gets pumped through 24,000 feet of tubing to drip onto 3,600 total trees. The system at Casey Tree Farm uses local well water. Water from the well is cleaner than it would be coming from ponds or canals, but it still has to be filtered to remove sediment that could clog the irrigation tubes. After flowing through the filter, the water goes through a pressure regulator to keep pressure constant. Homeowners in an urban environment can incorporate drip irrigation into their landscaping plans at very little cost. Equipment can be found at any hardware or garden store, and a garden spigot provides more than enough pressure to water a

theleaflet | June 2012

The Missouri Gravel Bed on the farm are not getting drip irrigation; instead, those young trees are watered twice daily for 15 minutes with a Casey Tree Farm’s 24,000 feet of irrigation tubing has water sprinkler system. When emitters every 36 inches that drip at .24 gallons per hour. the intense summer heat sets in, the trees will be watered four times a day for shorter period of time. Because these trees are set in porous gravel and not soil, the water is not retained and needs to be replenished. However, there are still plenty of minerals and nutrients in the gravel, and the farm staff is eager to see how the trees do once transplanted. Keep checking The Leaflet and Casey Trees blog Tree Speak for information on activities at Casey Tree Farm.


Technology & Research 1951 aerial imagery shows how much cities change By Michael Potts, GIS Specialist, Casey Trees | When the Technical Services & Research department acquired more than 120 highresolution aerial images of D.C. from the U.S. Geological Survey, staff were excited to begin putting the pieces of the puzzle together. The images were taken on July 1, 1951. Cars are visible on the street, planes are taxiing on the ground and flying underneath the camera, boats are on the water — all a recognizable view of the District.

Change, as they say, is the only constant, so it’s not really a surprise D.C. has evolved. To find out, all of the photos were compiled into a mosaic image to see D.C. in a continuous way. This is because each of the more than 120 aerial photos contained merely a snapshot of part of the city. To conduct any meaningful analysis of the images, these snapshots within the separate photos were pulled out and spliced together, resulting in an unbroken view of the District.

The aerial photos first had Many buildings are exactly to be orthorectified, or the same as they were in assigned map coordinates 1951, though development to known locations in a over the past 60 years photo. These known points, has had a dramatic effect called control points, were on the cityscape. In taken from modern orthopresent day, there are new imagery datasets. Casey buildings, trees missing, Trees has datasets for new trees planted, roads re2010, 2008, and 2005. oriented, just to name a few The control points may differences. be bends in sidewalks, road intersections, corners Images from the 1951 set before they were mosaiced. A striking change is the of buildings, or other loss of thick tree canopy along many thoroughfares, landmarks. The 1951 aerial photos were then such as Rhode Island Avenue NW. In some places, pinned to the modern imagery using control points it was not possible to see the ground back then, clearly visible in both datasets. but unbroken tree canopy along roads is quite rare today.


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[Clockwise from above] Tree canopy along Rhode Island and Florida Avenues NW has drastically changed for the worse; an example of control points used between data sets to complete the mosaic project; I-395 didn’t exist in 1951.

Once the 1951 aerial photos were orthorectified — a very slow and difficult process — they had to be cut out along streets or other natural borders to be fitted together, like jigsaw puzzle pieces. Once those pieces were cut and pieced together, the 1951 imagery was immediately and easily comparable to modern imagery. As the images demonstrate, D.C. has lost large

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amounts of tree canopy over the years. The passage of the Urban Forestry Administration Reorganization Act is a key piece of legislation to help the District regain what it has lost. View more tree maps and online tools from Technical Services & Research online.


Planning & Design Development Tracker: Opportunity lost at Dakota Crossing By Lisa Morris, Planning Associate, Casey Trees | In a city as developed as D.C., not many forested areas outside of established parks remain. The few that do are often seen as opportunities for new development, which we must expect as D.C.’s population increases. The needs of a growing population, however, can and must live handin-hand with the natural environment, and if we ignore this fact, everyone suffers in the long term. Damaging stormwater, heat island impacts, increased smog and ozone are the result of an imbalance between gray and green infrastructure. Moreover, we now know how to build sustainably both for the structures themselves and the land they occupy. To do less is irresponsible and runs contrary to D.C.’s sustainability vision plan. The land slated to become the Shops at Dakota Crossing on New York Avenue NE was forested until last November, when the site was completely cleared to accommodate almost 500,000 square


A site plan of the Shops at Dakota Crossing, which will feature 500,00 square feet of new retail space. Graphic courtesy of Washington City Paper

feet of retail space. Casey Trees and many other groups submitted feedback, comments and recommendations, including: • construction of a parking garage to reduce site disturbance, • incorporation of low-impact development techniques to encourage longevity of planted trees and enhance stormwater capture, and

June 2012 | theleaflet

Left: Aerial image of the forested area that is now the Shops at Dakota Crossing construction site. Right: Construction has begun on the future retail site, which used to have 94 percent tree canopy; photo courtesy of The Washington Post.

• preservation of existing wetlands to further slow stormwater and preserve wildlife habitat. Despite those efforts, the outcome mirrored the plan that was initially proposed — a wholesale clearing and a site showing significant amounts of impervious surfaces from roofs, parking lots and similar structures. The plan shows post-construction landscaping with some tree cover, although to what extent remains unclear.

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The Shops at Dakota Crossing represented a golden opportunity to showcase how large-scale retail development in the District could be done in an environmentally friendly way using tested techniques on a site that could easily accommodate them. Unfortunately, the site has become a stark reminder that to be sustainable, D.C. needs not only vision, but actions and sensible land-development practices. Want to learn more about ways to design public spaces for trees? Register for a First Fridays presentation this summer.


Tree Care Casey Trees releases its summer tree-care guide D.C.’s notorious heat and humidity are on the city’s doorstep and as residents take part in their seasonal happenings, Casey Trees has some important information to share from its Summer Almanac:

from around the trunk. Check trunk guards. Weed whackers and lawn mowers can cause severe damage to a tree’s circulation system. Add trunk guards to the base of the tree if landscaping equipment is used around the tree. Check installed trunk guards to make sure they are installed properly. The bottom should be able to flare out.

Practice 25 to Stay Alive. Watering is the most important summer tree care task. Young trees need 25 gallons of water — approximately 1.5 inches of rainfall — per week to survive and thrive. Use a slow-release watering Check tree ties. bag that holds the Your tree is undergoing recommended 25 gallons a growth spurt in height of water or improvise with and girth. If your tree is Ooze Tubes help make watering trees easier and less time-consuming. buckets with holes in the Casey Trees offers them for $10 on its online shop. still anchored by stakes bottom. Ooze Tubes are and arbor tie, check the available online through the Casey Trees shop for tie. Remove the tie if it is too tight or girdling the $10 each. tree trunk. Mulch. Mulching helps keep the soil moist and controls weeds. If you did not mulch in spring, now would be a good time. To do so, apply using the “3-3-3 Rule” — three inches of mulch in a three-foot ring, keeping the mulch three inches from the tree trunk to prevent decay. Weed. Remove summer grasses and weeds


Visit us online for step-by-step instruction on how to properly plant and care for trees and information on programs available to D.C. residents to help offset the cost of purchasing trees. Learn more about proper tree care by taking a class, participating in a Tree Talk Thursdays session or subscribing to the Casey Trees blog Tree Speak.

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Arbor Kids Summer neighborhood or park tree walk June 20 is the first day of summer. Get out for a walk and see all that has changed since the winter.

BIRDS Birds make their homes in trees. Do you see any nests with eggs or baby birds? Also, look out for robins, cardinals, oriels, sparrows, and more!

LEAVES Trees all have their leaves out now. See what different kinds of shapes you can find! Some are big, some are round, some have sharp angles, some are feathery.

LADYBUGS Ladybugs love fruit trees! They help keep the fruit trees healthy and pest free, by eating their favorite snack — aphids.

Caterpillars often make their homes in trees, making large tents or webby structures.


BERRIES Several trees have berries on them this time of year. Some of these tree berries are edible fruits but always ask an adult before you eat or take anything from a tree.

FLOWERS A few trees may still be flowering, like the beautiful catalpa trees (picture at right), whose flowers look very tropical.

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The Leaflet — June 2012  

May issue of Casey Trees' The Leaflet — Coverage of D.C.'s Tree Canopy