Category Archives: Tree Week

Tree Week: Notable Georgetown Trees

To wrap up Tree Week here at the Georgetown Metropolitan, GM thought he’d highlight some special trees we have around the village.

The P St. Redwoods:

As detailed in a recent CAG newsletter, there are a group of four Chinese dawn redwoods in the backyard of P St. resident Sofia Owen, who planted the trees in the 1960s. Right now the trees are 110 feet tall and are 30 1/2 inches in diameter. In a few thousand years they could be up to 400 feet tall. Would that violate the height act? You’ll just have to live a few dozen centuries to find out… Continue reading

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Tree Week: The Don’ts

Yesterday GM went over all the things you ought to be doing to help out our street trees. Today he’ll take up the slightly less pleasant task of going over all the things people do that they really ought not to.

#1 – Don’t Plant Anything in Tree Boxes Except Trees

Only one living thing should be planted in a tree box, and that’s a tree. This is a controversial point, since people love to plant everything from ivy to annuals to full blown bushes in their tree boxes. But these other plants take water and nutrients away from the tree, particularly young trees who are the most vulnerable.

And the problem can’t necessarily be obviated by simply watering more. In fact, that’s another problem with planting plants like annuals in a tree box. Annuals require a lot of water to survive, a lot more than a tree needs. When you water the annuals enough to keep them alive, you’re probably over-watering the tree.

Once you have a fully mature tree, it is probably less harmful to plant a few plants in the tree box. But really, a tree box is the most healthy when all that you see is thick healthy roots.

#2 – Don’t Use an Illegal Fence

District law has very specific requirements for tree box fences. They must be 18″ tall to prevent tripping. They must allow water to pass under them in order to increase the amount of rainwater being absorbed by the ground not the storm drain. Finally, they must be three sided and set back at least a foot from the edge of the curb.

While boxes like the one at the top of this post are pretty, they’re not permissible. The stones are too low and rainwater will just run around the box. Here are a couple other bad fences or borders on the exact same block: Continue reading


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Tree Week: The Do’s

Watering boy by Jon Hayes Photography.

As promised Monday, today for Tree Week GM will address the “do’s” of caring for our precious street trees.  You’ll see pretty quickly that the do’s make up a short list, so you don’t have much of an excuse for not pitching in where you can to ensure the health of our tree canopy.

Do #1 – Water, Water, Water

There is one thing that trees, particularly young ones, need above all else: water. Yes, we’ve had a pretty rainy spring, but our summers can be brutal on trees. We can go weeks without a significant rainfall. And even when we get those typical summer flash storms, most of the water runs straight to the storm drains and fails to reach the trees.

That’s why it’s incumbent on us to keep our trees fully watered. The basic goal you should have is to water young trees two to three times a week Correction: Depending on how wet or dry the weather it, you can get away with just one watering a week, but if you do just water it once, please make sure you really are getting a full 20-25 gallons in. You should start when the trees start leafing in the spring and continue all the way until they lose their leaves in the fall. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading


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Welcome to Tree Week

Tree-lined streets are one of the most often mentioned features that people associate with Georgetown. And it’s for good reason. Georgetown wouldn’t be what it is were it denuded of its beautiful tree canopy. Yet, beyond merely associating Georgetown with tree-lines streets, most people don’t think about our trees much more than that. So to address that, GM is introducing Tree Week here at the Georgetown Metropolitan. Each day a different topic relating to our trees will be discussed.


Throughout its history, the District of Columbia was known for its trees. In fact, it was often referred to as a city of trees. But that reputation was slowly lost during the second half of the 20th century. By the middle of the Barry era, DC’s street trees were in terrible shape. Georgetown was no better.

About 20 years ago, three georgetowners got together to do something about the state of Georgetown’s street trees. They formed Trees for Georgetown, which continues today as a part of the Citizens Association of Georgetown. Trees for Georgetown is a fantastic organization that is making huge strides in improving Georgetown’s canopy. (They will be the subject of tomorrow’s post). Continue reading

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