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June 2013

Tree Survival Kit

The many ways you can help ensure a vibrant tree canopy in the nation’s capital.

Casey Trees News in Brief

Casey Trees and constituents lobby for the District’s trees This spring, Casey Trees launched its new grassroots advocacy program called Tree Advocates to connect Citizen Foresters with key decision makers District-wide. Tree Advocates are D.C. residents who can help Casey Trees achieve our mission by promoting the benefits of increased tree canopy to policymakers, designers and developers at a variety of meetings throughout the city. In mid-May, Tree Advocates and Casey Trees staff met with representatives from the D.C. Council to promote findings from the Fifth Annual Tree Report Card. Later in the month, Casey Trees hosted an advocates meeting that featured great discourse among our advocates and a presentation by Maisie Hughes, Director of Planning and Design at Casey Trees. Staff also distributed copies of the new Citizen Advocate Handbook: A Guide to Successful Tree Advocacy in the Nation’s Capital. Individuals interested in learning more about how to become a Tree Advocate should contact our Planning and Design department.

Casey Trees News Casey Trees wins Federation of Citizens associations award | Casey Trees was among six individuals and organizations that received 2013 Service Awards from the Federation of Citizens Associations of D.C. Casey Trees won the award for Outstanding Public Service, with staff members on hand to accept the award during the annual awards dinner on May 21. Counselor hired for treeWise program | Casey Trees welcomes Rachel Bowers, a recent graduate with an Environmental Science & Technology degree from the University of Maryland-College Park, as 2013’s TreeWise counselor. Bowers most recently worked with MicroGreens, a D.C.-based organization that teaches children culinary and nutrition lessons under the SNAP food budget. She enjoys spending time outdoors — a plus for any TreeWise


counselor — and she is excited to spend the summer with Casey Trees and the TreeWise summer youth program participants. Casey Trees Seeking Applicants for new bookkeeper | Casey Trees is looking to hire a part-time (15 to 20 hours per week) bookkeeper to provide support for the day-to-day financial work of the office. This is a great opportunity for someone looking to gain experience in the field of accounting/ finance. Students are encouraged to apply.

Urban Forestry News New Study shows energy reduction data from urban tree plantings | A recent study from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, studied 577 trees planted in Toronto backyards between 1997 and 2000 and found that the trees significantly impacted energy use.

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The study found that the average tree collectively conserved 435 to 483 kilowatt hours (kWh) 25 years post planting, translating into savings of up to $40 annually. Washington Post Covers potential Emerald Ash Borer Outbreak | The Washington Post’s Patterson Clark recently reported on the infestation of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle in North America, devastating more than 100 million ash trees in at least 15 states, including Maryland and Virginia. The article highlighted how EAB is spread and the warning signs of an EAB problem, as well as what the impact would be for mid-Atlantic cities such as Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.

In this issue... From the Desk: Increasing Canopy Through Private property plantings................. 4-5 Spotlight: Thomas Boisvert’s Monthly Gift helps Casey Trees year round................. 6 Summer — and casey trees — provides families ways to get outside............................ 7 Tree Protection during construction .................................................................................... 8-10 Science of trees and water illustrates importance of summer tree care.............. 11 Range of Tree Stock highlights spring 2013 planting season........................................... 12 An Afternoon At the Farm Gives Donors a Look at Tree Nursery Operations............ 13 Casey Trees’ Summer Event schedule..................................................................................... 14-15 Arbor Kids: Summer Tree Leaf Art................................................................................................. 16

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From the Desk Balancing planting options to meet D.C.’s 40 percent tree canopy goal

Mark Buscaino

Executive Director

Casey Trees’ Fifth Annual Tree Report Card and testimony provided for hearings on next year’s District Department of the Environment and District Department of Transportation fiscal year budgets encouraged the Transportation and Environment Subcommittee of the D.C. Council to ensure that Tree Fund dollars not be used exclusively for street tree plantings, but to fund private-lot planting incentive programs as well. Below is a review of the benefits and drawbacks of each in terms of two key measures: costs and benefits to the city and its residents and potential for longterm tree growth and survival.

pays a fraction of what it would if it planted a street tree.

Costs & Benefits

Research has shown that because of the confined spaces street trees occupy, they typically have shorter life spans than trees located in areas with more available soil. These confined spaces lead to problems such as stunted growth, damaged sidewalks, utility conflicts and among others.

The city spends about $8 million annually on its 130,000 street trees, coming to $60 per tree. If that tree lives for 30 years, that is a $1,800 investment that iTree Design, a tree-benefits calculator, shows returns much more than the costs. We have long known that street trees are a sound public investment that saves money for the city and its residents by lowering energy costs, controlling stormwater, improving air quality and much more. So if street trees are so great, why should we need to encourage tree planting on private lots? Simply put, while street trees are a good investment, planting trees on private lots is even better because the community reaps all the benefits and the city


Costs to plant a street or private-lot tree are comparable — around $250 each — but trees planted on private lots do not require constant city investment. Ignoring inflation and present value to simplify, a 30-year-old tree planted on a private lot cost the city $250. However, a 30-year-old street tree cost the city $250, plus $60 per year for every year of that tree’s life. In short, encouraging tree planting on private lots generates significant public benefit at very little cost to the city.

long-term growth and survival

Casey Trees’ Tree Space Design report illustrates how soil volumes influence tree growth, a concept that is well understood and accepted by the arboricultural industry. To avoid these shortfalls, encouraging tree planting on private lots where soil volumes are typically greater is a rational practice following sound science. We should use, not ignore, that knowledge. Between 1950 and 2006, D.C.’s tree canopy fell from 50 percent to 38 percent; between 2006

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A considerable amount of D.C.’s available plantable space resides on private, residential property. Planting trees here lessens the city’s financial involvement in the tree canopy overall.

and 2011 it decreased another two percent. With development activity increasing to meet the demands of a growing population, reclaiming that lost canopy will be a significant challenge. For all reasons described above, Casey Trees stands by its assertion that tree planting on private lots makes sense for the city, its trees, its budget and its residents. We should use what we know to make the most out

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of our limited resources to make D.C. as green as it used it be — one tree at a time. Regards,

Mark Buscaino Executive Director


Spotlight Thomas Boisvert champions for trees through monthly giving program By Lauren Mansur, Communications and Development Intern, Casey Trees | Thomas Boisvert’s earliest tree memories come from a childhood spent exploring dense forests in New Hampshire. Many miles away in D.C., he is often reminded of those trees, thanks to the work Casey Trees is doing to restore, enhance and protect the tree canopy. “Having lived in D.C. for a number of years, it’s hard to not see the work Casey Trees does around me every time I step outside,” he said. Now serving his second term as chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A, Boisvert is increasingly involved with his urban surroundings. He is dedicated to his city and neighborhood, but his belief in trees’ benefits to all communities remains rooted within him. “Trees are an essential aspect of a strong neighborhood and contribute to a higher quality of life,” he said, “particularly for residents in an urban environment.” This philosophy inspired him to become a donor through Casey Trees’ Tree Champion Monthly Sustainer Program. He believes consistent contribution will also help Casey Trees address a


question often overlooked — how do we care for the District’s trees? Boisvert’s generosity — along with support from others like him — connects him to Casey Trees’ work and helps the organization operate. “It is easier to spread out a donation over the course of a year,” Boisvert said, “and it’s also a great way to stay connected with the causes that are most valuable to me.” As part of the sustainer program, donors can choose to contribute as little as $10 each month to help fund Casey Trees’ tree planting and educational efforts across the city. Gifts are made automatically every month, making it the easiest and most hassle-free way to support D.C.’s trees. And with more and more sustainers joining each month, our city’s trees continue to multiply. “I feel like every Saturday morning I see the volunteers in their yellow vests helping to make the neighborhood a better place to live.” With Thomas’ help — and yours — the number yellow vests will continue to grow for years to come. To become a Tree Champion, visit the Casey Trees website today and make your first monthly gift.

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Education Kids and families can learn about trees together with new summer programs By Priscilla Plumb, Youth Programs Coordinator, Casey Trees | Summer is upon us. The heat is rising, many children are out of school and families are taking their annual summer vacations. Summer offers a variety of opportunities for you and your children to get outside and learn about the natural elements of D.C.’s urban environment, notably the trees that fill it. Casey Trees has a few programs to help you do just that.

For Families Families can come out to explore trees in their neighborhood with a scavenger hunt tree tour led by a certified arborist. Tree Detectives, a new series of family-friendly educational outings, is best for families with kids between first and sixth grade. Families will hunt for clues based on leaves, flowers, fruit, bark and other tree characteristics and use these clues to identify different trees. The first two Tree Detectives tours will be at Garfield Park on June 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and Stoddert Elementary School on July 16 from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult(s) at all times. Registration is open online.

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Summer Youth Programs D.C.-area summer camps and recreational groups for kids age 6 to 10 can apply to have Casey Trees visit their camp for outdoor environmental education lessons. New this year, we are also doing three weeks of outdoor lessons with youth programs at the U.S. National Arboretum. Casey Trees’ place-based youth education program, TreeWise, is able to work with already established summer youth programs, including schools, recreation centers, camps, churches or other youth programs, with children ages 6 to 10. TreeWise is great for any summer program located within 25 miles of our headquarters. These programs can request a free, hour-long TreeWise session. Each outdoor lesson is able to accommodate 25 youth participants and three adult chaperones. Applications are accepted online.

Students participate in a tree walk through the TreeWise program.

Want to engage your children in outdoor educational activities? Check out page 16 for a summer tree art project, past issues of The Leaflet and the Arbor Kids page for downloadable activities.


Planning & Design Tree protection during construction: A chat with Keith Pitchford Keith Pitchford is the president of Pitchford Associates, a company he founded in 1997 to provide scientific advice on tree care. He is certified as both an arborist and tree risk assessor by the International Society of Arboriculture and is a Maryland Licensed Tree Expert and Forester. Pitchford received a Master of Forest Science degree from Yale University in 1984.

By Maisie Hughes, Director of Planning and Design, and Emily Oaksford, Planning Associate, Casey Trees | Certified arborist and tree risk assessor Keith Pitchford recently spoke with Planning and Design staff about tree protection during construction.

Why preserve existing trees? There are many reasons to preserve existing trees, including the environmental and aesthetic benefits that mature trees provide. Unfortunately, some developers and designers consider existing trees an obstacle during the construction process. Clearing a site of all trees and then replanting a few new ones once construction is complete is not a sustainable practice. If a proposed development site has existing trees that are in good condition and outside of the proposed building footprint, then proper measures should be taken to ensure that they are well protected during the construction process.

How can trees get damaged during construction? Common tree damage during construction can include broken branches, torn bark or trunk wounds, however the two biggest threats to trees on development sites are soil compaction and root disturbance.


Root disturbance occurs most often when construction crews install utilities, hardscaping or other infrastructure near trees. Trees with injured roots may show signs of canopy dieback within months after the injury. When larger, more woody roots are injured, diseases such as root rot can enter the tree, which may ultimately prove fatal. The best way to protect roots and general soil compaction during construction is to fence the protected trees in a way that prevents both compaction and root injury.

Healthy Roots and Soil COmpaction Healthy roots are critical to tree survival. Tree roots radiate from the tree trunk in the top 18 to 24 inches of soil. Roots help to stabilize the tree as it grows a larger canopy over time. Because the roots hold up the rest of the tree, protecting tree roots during construction is critical to both tree health and to public safety. Soil compaction happens on construction sites when crews drive vehicles over or place materials on top of tree roots. Compaction injures tree roots and pushes air and water out of the soil. When this happens, tree roots have difficulty penetrating compacted soil and cannot extract the water and nutrients the tree needs to grow and survive.

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Keith Pitchford’s CRZ Calculation Critical Root Zone (CRZ) = DBH x 1.5 feet **Diameter at breast height (DBH) is the measurement of the tree’s trunk diameter at 4.5 feet off the ground. Often, a developer’s site plan may require that some construction or excavation occur within the CRZ. When the CRZ must be impacted, Keith will map out a tree’s Minimum Clearance Zone (MCZ). The MCZ includes the tree’s root plate which is made of woody scaffold roots. If these roots are harmed, significant sections of a tree could die off (via root rot or lack of access to water and nutrients), which will inevitably lead to its death. Keith does not advise the preservation of trees where the MCZ is breached.

Minimal Clearance Zone = DBH x 6 inches Story continues on page 10.

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Planning & Design

Continued from page 9.

Tree Protection Plans — in practice

Tree Protection Fencing — in action

Pitchford works on tree protection plans for architects and developers located predominantly in Maryland and the District. His first step in developing a plan is to map out the Critical Root Zone (CRZ) for each tree proposed to be preserved. A tree’s CRZ is defined by an imaginary circle — measured from the tree trunk — that helps arborists determine the parts of the root system that should be protected during construction.

Once the tree protection zone is determined, an arborist will require that the contractor install fencing around the tree areas that should not be breached during the construction project. Oftentimes, the contractor will install temporary construction fencing. Unfortunately, Pitchford finds that this type of fencing is often and easily moved, providing no protection at all. (Temporary construction fencing is placed into cinder blocks and not anchored in the ground, so just about anyone can move the cinder blocks and enter a tree protection zone).

An example of negligent tree protection that could prove harmful to this tree in a District park undergoing renovations. Photo courtesy of Keith Pitchford.


The CRZ can vary based on tree type. Different species have variable root characteristics, which allow certain trees to tolerate more construction damage than others. When creating a tree protection zone, Pitchford works to save 70 percent of the tree roots within the CRZ. If a tree loses more than 30 percent of its root system, it will likely die.

Pitchford prefers to anchor the protection fence in the ground to ensure that it stays intact. He finds that using super silt fencing (SSF) is the best way to create a visual and physical barrier that signals to the construction crew “do not enter, or penalties will ensue.” The SSF is a black silt mesh fence that prevents soil from eroding off of a construction site. It is anchored into the soil by stainless steel posts and includes chain link fencing. Often this system is installed into the root pruning trench that defines the limits of disturbance. It is a very difficult fence to move, which is ultimately why it is so effective. Keith Pitchford will lead a class on tree protection during construction on Wednesday, June 5. Spots remain and advanced registration is required.

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Technology & Research How anatomy relates to water retention and transpiration in trees By Dr. Jessica Sanders, Technical Services and Research, Casey Trees | As summer rears its hot head, Casey Trees’ weekly watering alerts may become more prominent than ever. Why does watering matter? Why does a tree need 25 gallons? These questions often come up during summer. Like people, trees also “sweat”, releasing water into the air through a process called transpiration. Transpiration occurs through leaf openings known as stomata. There are several factors that affect a plant’s rate of transpiration: air temperature, relative humidity, movement of wind and air and available moisture. Many of these factors are amplified in urban environments. • As temperatures increase, transpiration increases. Stomata remain open through high temperature periods, allowing for more water to evaporate. • Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. As air becomes more saturated with water — think D.C.’s swampy August days — less water is available to evaporate into the air. Therefore as relative humidity increases, transpiration decreases. • The movement of wind and air is relatively simple, with more wind increasing transpiration levels.

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• Moisture available in the soil around the plant, meaning if the soil is dry the plant will transpire less, which sounds like a good think in theory; however, it will sacrifice other processes in the meantime, such as growth and vigor. Trees that have been in the ground three years or less have been through a lot of shock, so providing water is critical for growth, development and establishment.

Slow-release watering bags are an easy, time-saving way to help offset your tree’s transpiration levels.

Watering your young tree is easy. Whether you use a five-gallon bucket with holes or a watering device such as a slow-release watering bag, there are quite a few time-saving methods that are also not very labor intensive. By ensuring trees receive the recommended 25 gallons of water per week, you will be doing your tree, yourself and our city a service by helping the new tree establish itself so it can be appreciated for generations. Casey Trees offers efficient, slow-release watering bags for $15 through its online store, The ColleCTion. Also check out alternative ways to water your young trees.


Tree Planting Spring planting season featured diverse tree stock, species selection By Christopher Horn, Communications Associate, Casey Trees | This spring, more than 1,000 adult and youth volunteers planted 347 trees at 23 sites across the D.C. metro through its Community Tree Planting (CTP) program. The spring 2013 season featured a range of tree stock, including balledand-burlapped trees (81 percent or 281) that Casey Trees plants regularly, but also bare-root (27 or 8 percent), containerized trees (24 or 7 percent, all fruit trees) and rootbag (14 or 4 percent) varieties. Nearly half (47 percent) of all trees planted were large canopy species and a fraction of the total was sourced from Casey Tree Farm in Berryville, Va., home to a 16-acre tree nursery where dozens of species, many non-native and not commercially available, are grown using a variety of innovative nursery techniques.

on maples, poplars, willows, elms and related species, an ALB infestation could eliminate up to 35 percent of D.C.’s trees. Of the 347 trees planted this season, only nine percent are species that are hosts to ALB.

Casey Trees and the District continue to plant thousands of trees annually — 10,404 trees were planted this year, well above the 8,600 needed to attain the city’s tree canopy goal of 40 percent by 2035 — earning the city another A+ grade for Tree Planting in the Fifth Annual Tree Report Card.

Macy’s sponsored trees at Langdon Park in Ward 5 on April 13, while CoStar Group sponsored the planting at Ward 4’s Lafayette Park on April 27. of the entrance walkways and parking lot islands, as well as in some more out-of-the-way open areas to establish clusters and small groves.

Also mentioned in this year’s Tree Report Card is the potential loss of trees in the District due to an Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) outbreak. Feeding


The next two CTP seasons are planned, so stay tuned for the opening of volunteer registration in the coming months. For early registration opportunities, consider making a donation today.

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Giving Casey Trees donors and supporters spend An Afternoon at the Farm By Mark DeSantis, Development Associate, Casey Trees | What started out as a gloomy and overcast morning turned into a beautiful day for guests of “An Afternoon at the Farm,” the first event held at Casey Tree Farm in Berryville, Va. On May 11, Casey Trees hosted 90 donors and supporters at the sprawling 730-acre Casey Tree Farm in the Shenandoah Valley. Gifted to Casey Trees in 2008 as a way to enhance our work in the District, the Farm is now home to our 16-acre tree nursery. Just two years old, the nursery boasts more than 150 species, including native trees and difficult to source varieties such as sassafras and D.C.’s state tree, the scarlet oak. The nursery contains more than 11,000 trees, most of which will be harvested and incorporated into future tree plantings in the District.

In addition to all of this, donors and their guests also took part in an exclusive wine tasting provided by local vineyard, Boxwood Winery. Located nearby in Loudon County, Boxwood sampled three of their most popular blends for attendees to taste throughout the afternoon. Even better, Mother Nature proved to be kind, as the beautiful blue skies turned grey just as the last guest left the Farm grounds late in the afternoon, making for a truly wonderful event for all.

Guests were treated to guided tours of the nursery grounds and received a behind the scenes look at our cultivation and harvesting techniques, while enjoying some of the best of what Berryville and the surrounding area has to offer.

“An Afternoon at the Farm” was an invite-only event, held exclusively for donors and contributors to Casey Trees and our tree planting and educational initiatives. If you would like to be a part of events like these, consider making a donation today.

From Virginia ham biscuits to locally-sourced cheeses and honeys, attendees feasted on a spread that included truffled popcorn, handground sliders and the overwhelmingly popular, candied bacon – all provided by local favorite, Rochelle Myers. Down to the beautiful flowers and live bluegrass tunes, the event served as a true reflection of the surrounding Shenandoah region.

In addition to invitations to special events, you will also receive perks such as advanced registration for our volunteer events and classes, complimentary tickets and much more. We hope to see you there next time!

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Casey Trees offers a variety of ways to directly contribute financially to its tree planting and education programs.


Events Summer event calendar features informative classes and family-friendly tours Summer means fun, right? Casey Trees’ summer events feature a variety of educational offerings for all ages and social events across the city. Most events require advanced registration; space is limited and waitlists are available.

Wednesday, June 5 Featured Class Class: Protecting Our Urban Forest: Tree Preservation During Construction 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Casey Trees Headquarters 3030 12th Street NE

Join us to learn about tree preservation and all of the issues that must be considered when doing construction around trees. Cost: Free

Saturday, June 8 Volunteer: Saturday Soak 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Franciscan Monastery 1400 Quincy Street NE

Tuesday, June 11 Social: Branch Out Happy Hour 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Nellie’s Sports Bar 900 U Street NW

Join us at Nellie’s Sports Bar for our monthly social happy hour for friends and volunteers! Free and open to all. Cost: Free

Saturday, June 15 Family Program: Tree Detectives at Garfield Park 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Garfield Park 3rd Street SE and South Carolina Avenue SE

Help weed, water and mulch trees planted through our Community Tree Planting program at the beautiful Franciscan Monastery.

Tree Detectives is a series of family-focused tree tours styled as scavenger hunts. Join us for the inaugural tree tour, best for families with children in grades 1 to 6.

Cost: Free, 3 Spots left

Cost: Free, 5 Spots left

Thursday, June 20 Featured Class Class: Protecting Our Urban Forest: A Conversation on Tree Risk 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Casey Trees Headquarters 3030 12th Street NE

A panel of urban forestry experts will discuss tree risk, while participants can learn how to prepare for and deal with tree damage and help contribute to a healthier and safer urban forest. Cost: Free

Thursday, June 27 Online Chat: Threats to Your Tree — Insects & Disease 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Online

Trees have natural threats that can be hard to detect. Pick up some basic and advanced detection tips during this online chat to better understand the warning signs. Cost: Free


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Tuesday, July 9 Social: Branch Out Happy Hour 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Marvin 2007 14th Street NW

Casey Trees staff, friends and volunteers will mingle on the rooftop of Marvin, a great space in the U Street area. Open to all! Cost: Free

Tuesday, July 16 Family Program: Tree Detectives at Stoddert Elementary School 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Stoddert Elementary School 4001 Calvert Street NW

Tree Detectives is a series of family-focused tree tours styled as scavenger hunts, best for families with children in grades 1 to 6. Join us for an evening tour at Ward 3’s Stoddert Elementary. Cost: Free

Thursday, July 18 Volunteer: Thirsty Thursday 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Glenncrest 4900 F Street SE

Help weed, water and mulch trees planted through our Community Tree Planting program in Ward 7’s Glenncrest community. Cost: Free

Thursday, July 25 Tree Tour: Riparian Forests Paddling Outing 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Kenilworth Park Deane Avenue NE

Join Casey Trees and Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) for a paddle night on the Anacostia River while learning about the ecology of the surrounding wetlands and forests. From a canoe or kayak provided by AWS, participants will have the chance to see the rich flora of the riparian corridor including trees such as river birch, green ash, and Eastern cottonwood. Cost: Free **The tree tour is currently open to Casey Trees donors. General registration opens June 13.

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Arbor Kids Summer art with tree leaves Using tree leaves from your yard or favorite park, make great colored leaf designs on paper or fabric.

Painting Patterns Summer leaves are full of chlorophyll, a pigment that gives tree leaves their color, from the spectrum of fall colors to what we see now during summer — green! • Collect leaves and place one on a piece of watercolor paper or muslin. • Making sure you are on a hard surface, use a mallet to pound the leaf into your fabric or paper. (Make sure you pound it hard!) • Remove the leaf and see the print that the chlorophyll leaves behind.

Leaf Imprints • Collect some tree leaves and purchase water-based or watercolor paint. (For great shapes and textures, look for ginkgo, sycamore and eastern redbud leaves.) • Paint your leaves and print on fabric or paper.


June 2013 | theleaflet

The Leaflet — June 2013  

A city tree's life is hard. Summer makes it even harder.

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