Last week, the annual Trees for Georgetown tree planting took place. You may have noticed seeing a brand new tree on your block (there are about five within a block of GM). Now it’s up to you to make sure it survives.
This year the group planted 70 trees, which is a bit more than last year. Of the trees GM noticed, he saw London planes, a swamp oak, a white birch, a cypress tree, a linden tree and a rubber tree. On his own block there is a London plane, which replaced a maple that was cut down last year.
Neither Trees for Georgetown nor the city is going to provide the care necessary to make sure these new trees survive. That is entirely up to the residents who live near the tree. So if there is a new tree on your block, make sure somebody adopts it (or just adopt it yourself). The crucial goal is this: 25 to stay alive. In other words, the new tree needs 25 gallons of water every week to survive. If you don’t have a hose bib on the front of your house and can’t water the tree yourself, try to find a neighbor who can, or who will let you use their spigot.
But don’t start watering it yet. Wait until the leaves come out, then start. It’s easiest to purchase a gator bag and fill it once a week. Keep doing this until the leaves fall in the autumn. Then do it again next year. And the next. And the next. And probably the next, although at that point the roots ought to be deep enough. Nonetheless, even then if a hot and dry spell hits, you ought to water the tree again.
It will pay you back! GM started caring for a London plane on his block in 2013. It only had a diameter of about three inches at the time and was only about 12 feet tall. Five years later and the trunk is almost a foot in diameter and the tree is at least thirty feet tall. Trees take patience but not really that much.