Tree Week: The Good Work of Trees For Georgetown

Welcome back to day two of Tree Week here at the Georgetown Metropolitan. Today GM would like to spend a little time letting you know of all the good work that Trees For Georgetown does to improve and sustain Georgetown’s vital tree canopy.

As discussed yesterday, Trees For Georgetown was founded in 1989 by a group of four three neighbors concerned about the state of street trees in Georgetown. They were Flo Stone, Outerbridge Horsey and Anne Witherspoon. Eventually Trees For Georgetown merged with the Citizens Association of Georgetown and is now a subcommittee of CAG. But, it should be pointed out that Trees For Georgetown is totally self-financed and no CAG membership dues go towards supporting Trees for Georgetown’s projects.

And what are those projects you ask? Well every year, Trees for Georgetown plants nearly fifty street trees around Georgetown. In the past the organization has tried different methods to accomplish this. For instance, they used to simply pay a commercial nursery to plant the trees. Unfortunately these commercial nurseries were expensive and didn’t really do a good job anyway.More recently the organization worked with the Earth Conversation Corps, which tries to work with District teens to teach them a valuable skill while also teaching them about the importance of keeping the environment healthy. Unfortunately, supervision and training problems led Trees for Georgetown to cease working with ECC after two years.

Finally, last year Trees for Georgetown were approached by Casey Trees, the District-wide tree advocacy group. Casey Trees had a great deal for Trees for Georgetown. Here’s how it works, Trees for Georgetown goes to the Bremo Trees nursery in Bremo Bluffs, VA to pick out the trees for each fall planting. The District Urban Forestry Administration comes and takes out the dead trees from the respective tree boxes, grinds the stump, brings the box down to street level, and installs a compliant tree box fence (it must be 18″ high, allow water to flow underneath, be three sided and be at least one foot from the curb). Then Casey Trees receives the trees from Bremo Trees, plants the trees, amends the soil with leaf grow and topsoil, waters the trees twice a summer, and gives the trees a juvenile pruning. Plus Casey Trees guarantees their work. Trees for Georgetown gets all this from Casey Trees for just a $250 donation per tree.

As described yesterday, Trees for Georgetown plants a variety of species chosen to diversify Georgetown’s tree stock. They include London plane, sweetgum, zelkova, and some Chinese elms. They do their yearly planting in December and attempt to plant 50 trees a year.

There are 3000 tree boxes in Georgetown. About a quarter are empty. What that means is the Trees for Georgetown has plenty of boxes to choose from when planting the trees.  When choosing a location, they take a lot into consideration. Primarily, though, they want to be sure that the tree will be cared for. But if there’s a tree box in front of your house in which you would like a tree planted, you can make that happen by donating $800 to Trees for Georgetown. Considering all the services that Casey Trees in offering in connection with the planting, $800 is actually a pretty good deal compared with all the costs you’d face if you wanted to do it yourself (e.g., permit costs, tree cost, installation cost, etc.). The only drawback is that you’ll have to wait till December to get your new tree.

All in all, we’re pretty lucky to have an organization like Trees for Georgetown looking out for Georgetown’s tree canopy. If you’d like to help Trees for Georgetown, then buy a ticket to their annual fundraiser held on May 26th by calling the CAG office at 202-337-7313.

Again, GM would like to thank Betsy Emes of Trees for Georgetown for helping him out with the Tree Week series of articles.

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2 responses to “Tree Week: The Good Work of Trees For Georgetown

  1. The community owes Betsy Eames and Outerbridge Horsey a big THANK YOU for their continued efforts in planting trees for Georgetown. When people ask who are the true Georgetowners……..we should start our explanation by telling them about civic-minded people like Outerbridge and Betsy.

  2. Colm MacKernan

    On the other hand – the very healthy 10-year old tree in the tree-box outside our house at 2728 P Street was ripped out in June, with no notice, no explanation and at a time of year that precludes planting another tree, which presumably will be a weedy specimen, offering no shade. We understand that trees for Georgetown designated unhealthy trees to be removed – but in this instance it seems that their designation lead the district worker to rip out a healthy young tree and not the dying tree in the adjoining tree-box. Had anyone in that organization deigned to contact us the loss of this healthy tree could have been prevented – and the appropriate tree removed.

    We are seething!

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