The Corner Forum
Sunday, July 6, 2003
Issue #37

Survey Maps Health Of Our Street Trees

By Sharon Cochran (1300 block of Emerald Street NE) and Marc Borbely (536 13th St. NE)

You may have heard on the news that Betty Baker Casey has donated $50 million to save D.C. trees. Last year, a survey of all D.C. trees, and the condition of each tree, was conducted by volunteers for the Casey Trees Endowment Fund. A map has been created from the collected data.

According to the tree map found on the Casey Trees Web site, ( the trees in the Corner Forum are about equally healthy to unhealthy in number. Hopefully the recent rain has improved the health of most of the unhealthy trees.

The map also indicated that we don't have any really large mature trees. An example of a mature tree can be seen at the southwest corner of 13th Street and Maryland Avenue.

We looked at the trees in the Corner Forum area...

• Most of our trees are maple.

• We have lost trees on Emerald Street since the survey was done. We have five empty tree boxes now, while there apparently were only two when the survey was done.

• The 400 block of 13th Street appears to have the largest number of older trees, but they are not fully grown.

• The 1300 block of E Street has a dozen recently planted trees.

• The 500 of 13th Street seems to have an equal number of older and new trees.

• Duncan Place seems to have five empty spots, but it is difficult to tell for sure, because this street does not have formal tree boxes like the rest of the streets in the Corner Forum area.

At a community meeting at the Capital Children's Museum on June 18, Jim Lyons, the executive director of the Casey Trees Endowment Fund, said there are two main ways to plant new trees.

First, residents can request that the city's Urban Forestry Administration do the planting. To do this, call the mayor's call center at 727-1000. The city will fill orders on a first-come, first-served basis.

Second, residents can plant trees themselves. A permit from the city is required, though. Permits are available online, at or by calling 465-6140. Within six weeks (or faster if there is a dead or unsound tree that needs to be removed), a city inspector will visit the site and assess the proposal.

Casey Trees will also be planting about 200 disease-resistant American elms throughout the city, but the organization is trying to plant them on streets that already contain those species, so our streets are unlikely to be chosen.

Another way to help work on the trees, together with the city's Urban Forestry Administration and Casey Trees, is to become a "Citizen Forester."

The D.C. Citizen Forester Program is the first urban forestry certificate training program in Washington and is sponsored by Casey Trees, the city, the National Arboretum and the University of District of Columbia.

There are two remaining training options this summer: 1) classroom work this Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and field work either the same Friday afternoon or the morning of Saturday, July 19; or 2) classroom work the evenings of July 14 and 16 and field work the morning of July 19.

The classroom training is at Casey Trees 1425 K St. NW, 833-4010. §