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MAY 2013


Casey Trees begins issuing its weekly watering alerts During periods with little to no rainfall and/or high temperatures, trees need your help. Trees that have been in the ground less than three years require 25 gallons of water — equivalent to roughly 1.5 inches of rainfall — per week to survive. Casey Trees will issue weekly recommendations every Monday from May to September. The alerts — Dry, Normal and Wet — will be posted on our homepage, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Those who live within 25 miles of the District can take the 25 to Stay Alive pledge and receive a complimentary rain gauge. Slow-release watering bags are also available for $15 on Casey Trees’ online store, The ColleCTion. Water bags are an efficient way to ensure that trees receive the necessary amount of water throughout the season.

CASEY TREES NEWS HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER CREW APPLICATIONS DUE MAY 18 | Applications are still being accepted for the 2013 High School Summer Crew. Crew members will spend 35 hours a week Monday to Friday caring for trees across the District. General responsibilities include watering, weeding and mulching. All applicants must be at least 16 years of age, enrolled in or just graduated from a D.C.-area high school and willing to care for and learn about trees. Online applications much be completed in one sitting and are due May 18. Summer Crew will run from June 27 to August 9. Semi-finalists will be interviewed in-person. Finalists must participate in a two-day field tryout on June 24 and 25 to demonstrate their abilities. TREEWISE SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAM ACCEPTING GROUP APPLICATIONS | Youth ages 6 to 10 have the opportunity to participate in TreeWise. TreeWise is a nature-and placebased summer education program, developed to get youth outdoors, foster appreciation and understanding of trees through fun, hands-on


activities. Activities focus on tree biology and care and include scavenger hunts, leaf and bark rubbings, tree identification, measurement and watering exercises and more. All summer youth programs located within 25 miles of the Casey Trees headquarters are eligible to request a TreeWise session. Summer 2013 sessions will run from June 24 to July 19 at your youth program site and July 22 to August 9 at the U.S. National Arboretum. CASEY TREES CELEBRATES NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK | From April 22 to April 27, Casey Trees celebrated Arbor Day, National Volunteer Week and Earth Week with tree-care events across the city. With the help of 116 volunteers, we cared for more than 500 trees. Casey Trees staff was on site to help volunteers weed, mulch and water recently planted trees, remove invasive species and replace damaged watering bags. Without Casey Trees’ dedicated and energetic volunteer corps, our work would be much harder to accomplish. To everyone who has volunteered this spring and in previous seasons, Casey Trees extends a big thank you!

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REGISTRATION OPEN FOR JUNE TREECARE EVENT | On May 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Casey Trees staff and volunteers will help water, weed and mulch trees at Ward 5’s Langdon Park in the first Thirsty Thursday tree care event of the summer tree care season. Registration is open online.

URBAN FORESTRY NEWS GEORGETOWN LAUNCHES TREE-BOX PROGRAM | In March 2013, the Georgetown BID and the District Department of TransportationUrban Forestry Administration launched a pilot program to preserve street trees. As a result of compacting soil, narrow sidewalks and heavy pedestrian traffic, roots have restricted access to water and oxygen. Protection techniques such as fences and grates have proven to be ineffective and as a result, the area has decided to pilot

Flexi-Pave, a highly permeable product made from recycled tires. The non-cracking, non-toxic product is expected to help increase oxygen access and improve storm water infiltration. Four locations have been identified for the pilot program based on visibility, traffic and health. HOMETOWN OF APPLE RELEASES TREE APP | The City of Cupertino, Calif., has released a mobile application to help catalogue and care for more than 13,000 public trees in the area. Trees 95014 provides information to residents and businesses about city-planted trees in their neighborhoods. By July 2013, every tree will have a QR code that directs users to pictures and information such as height, species, canopy and location. The app was created to avoid unintentional cutting.

IN THIS ISSUE... SPECIAL ISSUE: HOW DID D.C. FARE IN FIFTH ANNUAL TREE REPORT CARD?............................. 4-5 PRIVATE LOTS REPRESENT BEST OPPORTUNITY TO INCREASE D.C.’S TREE CANOPY................. 6-7 LARGE-PARCEL PLANTING BRIGHTENS HOSPITAL ON ST. ELIZABETH’S EAST CAMPUS............. 8-9 TREE MORTALITY STUDY RESULTS RELEASED...................................................................................... 10 DMV’S TREES OFFER REFUGE FOR MIGRATING BIRDS....................................................................... 11 D.C.-AREA SCHOOLS RECEIVED 64 TREES THIS SPRING..................................................................... 12 HELP CASEY TREES CONTINUE TO GROW AND ENRICH ITS PROGRAMS......................................... 13 SPOTLIGHT: CITIZEN FORESTER VICTOR CASTILLO DOES HIS PART FOR CITY’S TREES............... 14 CASEY TREES’ SPRING 2013 EVENT SCHEDULE.................................................................................... 15 ARBOR KIDS: TREE REPORT CARD FOR KIDS........................................................................................ 16

theleaflet | May 2013



The Gr Ineffective tree protection gave the District an overall grade of B- in the Fifth Annual Tree Report Card. Since 2009, in conjunction with Arbor Day, Casey Trees has released an assessment of the District’s trees on public and private lands, using four performance metrics — Coverage, Health, Planting and Protection — to determine the overall grade. Of note in this year’s report was the emphasis on planting trees on private lots, where costs for the city and overall tree mortality rates decrease. “This year’s Tree Report Card poses challenging questions about our collective stewardship of D.C.’s trees,” said Mark Buscaino, Executive Director of Casey Trees. “Mayor Gray’s leadership with the Sustainable DC Plan affirmed D.C.’s tree canopy goal and while tree planting remains strong, tree canopy continues to decline. The District is now covered with more asphalt and concrete than trees. We have a lot of work to do, especially on tree protection and coordination of planting efforts, to get the most impact for the investment.” Buscaino and Dr. Jessica Sanders, Director of Technical Services and Research, talked in more detail about the overall grade and performance metrics during a special session of Tree Talk, Casey Trees’ monthly online chat. The full Tree Report Card is available to read online.


May 2013 | theleaflet

rades Are In... A private residence in Ward 5’s Brookland neighborhood features a large-canopy shade tree, which offers the homeowner and the city overall a variety of benefits.

PERFORMANCE METRIC GRADES TREE COVERAGE is the measure of the surface of tree canopy viewed from above compared to D.C.’s 40 percent canopy goal. Despite the city’s 2012 tree canopy decline from 38 to 36 percent between 2006 and 2011, the District earned an A(36/40). TREE HEALTH is the measure of overall health of the District’s trees. Using tree canopy analysis software, individual tree collected from 200 permanent field 2012 data plots located across D.C. was assessed. Data showed that 82.4 percent of the city’s canopy is in “Good” to “Excellent” condition, giving the District a B-.

theleaflet | May 2013

TREE PLANTING measures the number of trees planted annually to what must be planted — 8,600 trees per year 2035 — to achieve the city’s tree 2012 until canopy goal. In 2012, roughly 20 nongovernmental organizations and federal and local agencies planted 10,404 trees collectively in D.C., achieving the grade of A+ for the District. TREE PROTECTION measures the effectiveness of the Urban Forestry Preservation Act by assessing the process of Special Tree — trees greater 2012 than 55 inches in circumference — removal and replacement. Despite Tree Fund money being effectively used to plant replacement trees, mortality data doesn’t exist for replacements.


Planning & Design Treescaping for enhanced tree canopy on private lots By Emily Oaksford, Planning Associate, Casey Trees | The District’s tree canopy goal, emphasized in the mayor’s Sustainable DC Plan, is to have 40 percent canopy coverage across the city by the year 2032.

According to the recently published Fifth Annual Tree Report Card, private lots have the most potential for tree canopy expansion in D.C. So what does 40 percent tree canopy coverage look like on a private residential lot?

DETACHED HOME Forty percent tree canopy was achieved on this detached house with small understory trees in front and canopy trees along the lot lines. The tree layout (45 feet in width) was able to maintain space for a side driveway and a backyard with full sun.


May 2013 | theleaflet

Demonstrated here are two private residential lots in Ward 5’s Brookland neighborhood that have successfully achieved a 40 percent tree canopy. Although not every property in D.C. is the same, we can use this simple model to extrapolate what 40

percent tree canopy might look for your rowhouse, apartment or detached home. For more ideas on where to add trees on your property, consult Casey Trees’ Tree Space Design report.

DUPLEX-STYLE HOME A 40 percent tree canopy was achieved on this duplex-style house with one large canopy tree in the front yard and one medium-sized canopy tree in the backyard, with a bit of overhang from a mature street tree.

theleaflet | May 2013


Tree Planting Large-parcel plantings help reforest areas of D.C. affected by canopy loss By Jim Woodworth, Director of Tree Planting, Casey Trees | The dramatic construction of the new Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security headquarters has unfolded along the I-295 viewshed of St. Elizabeth’s west campus. Meanwhile, the ebb and flow of tree cover, open land, buildings and pavement in the quiet back corner of the St. Elizabeth’s eastern side have been more subtle and out of the way. Nonetheless, the impacts are significant. Between 1951 and 2012, the east campus lost more than five acres of forest and seven acres of open grassland, and gained 13 acres of new impervious cover. Many of the historic, Spanish-style, tile-roofed buildings remain, albeit boarded up and awaiting redevelopment, while the site now houses a state-of-the-art hospital building. Many of the contractor-planted trees installed around the new hospital have died just beyond their warranty period, leaving the new hospital grounds in quite a stark contrast to the old hospital’s. But the case for trees here can’t be stronger. Recent research shows valuable connections between increased trees and reduced stress and speedier healing and recovery. Casey Trees continues to explore new means of adding trees in all of D.C.’s eight wards. In implementing this new effort, our mapping


An aerial view of the St. Elizabeth’s east campus grounds in 1951.

and outreach efforts have helped direct large installations of new tree plantings near areas that have recently seen dramatic losses of forest and open land. Currently we are working with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to plant 500 trees on land parcels that can accommodate 50 or more trees each. The program is funded through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund via the Small Watershed Grants Program, which is administered by NFWF. FedEx has provided $20,000 in support of the program as part of its FedEx EarthSmart Outreach initiative, which helps to address the most pressing environmental challenges.

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St. Elizabeth’s east campus in 2006 (left) and 2012 (right). Notice the addition of canopy on the east side of the site from 1951 to 2006, but also the destruction of that canopy between 2006 and 2012.

In May 2012, we planted more than a hundred trees in a parcel of the Fort Lincoln area of Ward 5, just up the hill from the new Shops at Dakota Crossing development. In January, 2013, we planted more 250 trees in a portion of Fort Dupont Park just down slope from the new Washington Nationals community baseball academy, whose construction broke ground this spring. And last month, we brought the design and planting resources to bear on the relatively new campus of the DC Department of Mental Health at St. Elizabeth’s. Casey Trees staff collaborated with Merrit Drucker, who oversees building and grounds operations and

theleaflet | May 2013

maintenance, to develop a landscape plan for 75 new trees across the grounds of the new hospital. The design steered towards shade trees tolerant of poor soils, such as bald cypress, hackberry and catalpa, but also included some ornamental crab apples, as well as some broad-leaf magnolias and conifers for year-round and winter interest. Trees were thoughtfully placed in high-pedestrian areas 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. Casey Trees continues to monitor developments that could affect tree canopy and identifies areas that could benefit from large-sized tree plantings.


Technology & Research Latest Tree Mortality Study will help future tree establishment period research By Dr. Jessica Sanders, Technical Services and Research, Casey Trees | To determine tree success and survival rate, a survey is conducted of a sample of trees planted by Casey Trees. Last summer, the study’s focus was expanded to determine survival rates of all trees planted since 2002, not just trees planted in the previous three to four years. The study examines their health using measurements — condition, impervious coverage under the tree, tree species, land use, diameter breast height, tree height, as well as others — while also tracking the mortality rate and factors associated with it. A random sample — 45 percent or 2,653 trees— of all trees planted through various programs from 2003 to 2009 were measured. Of the sampled trees, 72 percent were in “Good” condition and 16 percent had died. Some general trends were observed, including: • Mortality rate decreasing when the tree was planted in colder weather, something that we continue to track and determine if it is a trend with trees planted in 2010 and years following. By including 2010 trees in the 2013 study, we will be able start to evaluate the watering maintenance provided by the High School Summer Crew. • Increasing survival with balled-and-burlapped trees as opposed to containerized stock. • The most frequently planted species actually having a lower mortality rate, which is promising


This tree would be classified in “Good” condition

for future plantings. With this mortality study, Casey Trees was able to reflect on tree survival and health, as well as species variety. When planting in an urban area, it is important to plant a range of species not only on a city block or neighborhood, but also across the city. Canopy diversity is important because it helps keep the urban forest safe from total destruction due to a pest or other significant event, mainly because threats generally target a specific species. Casey Trees staff and volunteers will be out in force again this summer collecting mortality data. Individuals interested in volunteering for a day or becoming part of the bike crew that will go around to survey, please contact the Technical Services and Research Department. Follow Casey Trees’ blog, Tree Speak, for additional mapping and GIS-related features by Technical Services & Research staff.

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Casey Tree Farm Trees play important role in bird migration By Michael Ferguson, Urban Forestry Crew Chief, Casey Trees | On a recent bird-watching trip to the Casey Tree Farm, I saw eastern meadowlarks hiding in the pastures, a yellowthroated warbler singing from a Sycamore and came face to face with a barred owl. May marks peak migration for neo-tropical songbirds and they stop to rest and refuel at farms, forests and city parks. Many migrating songbirds seek out forest habitat and spend their days eating insects in the canopy, something I have observed at Fort Bunker Hill Park in D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood. The recent Tree Report Card highlighted a few development sites that in total eliminated more than 80 acres of forested land in the District. These areas were important stopover sites for migrants and, in an urban environment, are virtually irreplaceable. While we cannot hope to recreate the full ecosystem benefit of 80 acres of woodland, we can plant trees and create habitats in our own yards. Urban yards can be small and may have limited potential for large trees, but when a yard allows we can plant trees in groups and account for different vertical layers to create a canopy and understory. Experts discussed birds and trees during a session of Tree Talk, Casey Trees’ monthly online chats, in February.

theleaflet | May 2013

A black-throated green warbler sits in a tree at the U.S. National Arboretum. This species migrates through the mid-Atlantic in late May and early June. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mr. T in DC.

District residents have an opportunity to fill their yards with trees, receiving the usual benefits of lower energy bills, reduced pollution and stormwater mitigation on their property. Additionally, the layers and patterns of a well-designed landscape create have a calming effect and create a small retreat not only for homeowners, but for resident and migratory birds as well. Casey Tree Farm grows a large amount of native species that thrive in urban environments and act as habitats for migrant and resident animal species.


Education Casey Trees adds 64 trees to campuses of 11 D.C.-area schools By Priscilla Plumb, Youth Programs Coordinator, Casey Trees | Casey Trees remains committed to enhancing canopy on school property and this planting season continued that trend. With the help of nearly 250 students, we planted 64 trees at 11 schools this spring.

Of 130 schools Casey Trees surveyed, more than 60 percent of the schools had 10 percent or less tree canopy. These denuded landscapes make it difficult for students to get hands-on experience in environmental education at their school. Adding trees to the school campus not only increases learning potential but also brings valuable environmental benefits to the neighborhood. The season started at seven D.C. schools: Anacostia High School Environmental Science, Jefferson Middle School, Capital City Public Charter School, Excel Academy Public Charter School and Mary McLeod Bethune Public Charter School all added a combination of shade, fruit and ornamental trees to their campuses. Two of the D.C. schools were repeats, as Stoddert Elementary School — second planting — and Kingsbury Day Center — third planting — both added more shade trees to their parking lots.

Planting trees at schools is important for creating better outdoor learning spaces for students and is critical to ensuring the District reaches its 40 percent tree canopy goal. Schools have lower canopy percentages than the city average, but offer a lot of available planting space. Despite this, available resources and school renovations can hinder the process of adding trees to school grounds.


We returned to two schools — Drew Freeman Middle School and Grace Episcopal Day School — in Maryland for their second plantings and ventured to the Montessori School of Northern Virginia, our first Virginia school. Thanks to all the school teachers, staff, students and volunteers that worked hard to make these plantings happen! The application period for School Plantings has passed, but applications for TreeWise are being accepted.

May 2013 | theleaflet

Giving City needs growth from Casey Trees and its programs By Mark DeSantis, Development Associate, Casey Trees | When an organization doubles in size over the course of a few years, this growth is almost unanimously viewed as a good thing; a promising sign for the future. Expansion of this variety indicates a level of success, both programmatic and financial, that has allowed for increased staff and higher production rates — all positives from a business perspective. Casey Trees is no exception to this rule. Since expanding our staff to 30 full-time employees from just 15 in 2005, we have seen unprecedented increases in the demand for our services and the productivity of our work. For instance, last year Casey Trees planted more than 2,000 trees throughout the region. In 2005 that number was just 931. But growth can be a double-edged sword. It can also be the result of harsh necessity. For Casey Trees, our team has grown because our city’s trees have done just the opposite — they have continued to decline. Released this week, the Fifth Annual Tree Report Card shows an incredible amount of progress from our city and its partners (including Casey Trees) working to address the needs of D.C.’s urban forest.

theleaflet | May 2013

But despite what has been accomplished, the report still documents a loss in tree canopy for the city as a whole. And it is exactly this decline that motivates Casey Trees to do more — to grow. As an organization, we are determined to reverse this disturbing trend and ensure that the City of Trees never becomes just a storied moniker of yesteryear. Each year we commit more and more time and resources to fight for our city’s trees and to fulfill the founding mission of Casey Trees. But with growth, comes the financial need required in order to sustain our work. As you read this year’s Tree Report Card, consider the work that Casey Trees has done in your neighborhood as we ensure that trees remain an important part of the fabric of this city. Make a donation today and help us prevent further decline tomorrow. We have accomplished a lot in the last few years, but our work is just now beginning to show the results we need and demand from our city. Help be a part of that effort today. Casey Trees offers a variety of ways to directly contribute financially to its tree planting and education programs.


Spotlight CF Victor Castillo helps enhance D.C.’s tree canopy in multiple ways By Danielle Lomax, Communications Intern, Casey Trees | As a volunteer Citizen Forester (CF) and recipient of the Tree Rebate and RiverSmart Homes Shade Tree programs, Victor Castillo does his part to help restore, enhance and protect the city’s tree canopy. When Castillo purchased his home in Ward 5, the property had two red cedar trees, 13 tree stumps and no shade trees. While shopping for trees at local nurseries, he saw tree tags advertising the Tree Rebate program. “While checking out the website, I read about the Citizen Forester program and I thought that in addition to getting trees for my yard, it would be good to learn how to plant them.” Since then, Castillo has added six trees to his property through both Tree Rebate and RiverSmart Homes programs. A CF for five seasons, he is also considered a veteran a Community Tree Planting (CTP) events. “Every CTP experience continues to be unique and original,” he replies. “No two CTPs are alike. Each one is a rewarding and enriching experience.” Castillo enjoys learning more about trees, changing neighborhoods and communities through trees and, most of all, meeting new people along the way.


“I hope that my service will inspire volunteers to become Citizen Foresters themselves.” Learn about the many ways you can get involved with Casey Trees as a Citizen Forester.

May 2013 | theleaflet

Events Spring’s educational programs highlight threats to urban forest This spring features a variety of continuing education courses and social events, most of which require advanced registration; space is limited and waitlists are available.

THURSDAY, MAY 9 FEATURED CLASS Class: Trees and Storms 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Woodend Sanctuary 8940 Jones Mill Road Chevy Chase, Md.

In the second installment in Casey Trees’ “Trees and Storms” series, learn the elements of a hazardous tree and how trees become hazards after storm events. Cost: Free

TUESDAY, MAY 14 Branch Out: Citizen Forester Happy Hour 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sidebar 8081 Georgia Avenue Silver Spring, Md.

Join us as we Branch Out to Silver Spring for the first time and head to Sidebar, a great spot with handcrafted cocktails.



Online Chat: Apple of My Eye — Urban & Rural Orchards

Family Program: Tree Detectives at Garfield Park

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Online

9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Garfield Park 3rd Street SE and South Carolina Avenue SE

Discover how and where urban orchards are sprouting up and connecting people in need with fresh, locally grown produce. Cost: Free

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

SUNDAY, MAY 19 Tree Tour: Lincoln’s Cottage 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW

City of Trees author Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a tree tour around the grounds of President Lincoln’s summer home. Cost: FULL Early registration for this event was offered to donors.

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: $20 per family

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

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

Learn about insect and disease detection from industry experts. Cost: Free

theleaflet | May 2013


Arbor Kids Tree Report Card — Kid Style Grade the trees at your school or neighborhood park.

TREE HEALTH Signs of good health: Full green leaves (some trees may have leaves that are just starting to emerge) Bark covering the whole trunk (no carvings in the back) No dead branches 1 to 3 inches of mulch around the tree not touching the trunk No visible injuries to trunk Possible signs of a stressed tree: Brown leaves Holes in the trunk Dead branches Scratches on the branches or trunk Mulch volcano (more than 3 inches of mulch around the tree piled up and touching the trunk)

TREE COVERAGE How many trees are on your school campus or park? ____________ How much of your schoolyard or park is covered by shade from a tree? ____________

TREE PLANTING Have any new trees been planted recently? If so, how many? ____________ Are there areas of the school or park that need more shade or have space for new trees? ____________ [not all areas, such as sport fields, are suitable for trees.]


May 2013 | theleaflet

The Leaflet — May 2013  

May 2013 issue of Casey Trees' The Leaflet — Progress Report: How Casey Trees' programs are making up for lost canopy.

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