Trees for Georgetown: Over 3,000 Planted, More to Come

By Betsy Emes, Chair, Trees for Georgetown

Some good news from your Trees for Georgetown (TFG) team.

Since 1989, with strong support from the Georgetown community, TFG has planted and cared for over 3,000 trees on the streets of Georgetown, partnering with the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG), the D.C. government’s Urban Forestry Division (UFD) and Casey Trees.  Now is a time of transition for TFG.

When TFG started, no one else was planting trees on Georgetown’s residential streets. The city did not have the money or the personnel to replace dead or dying street trees or, for that matter, to maintain the existing trees. Casey Trees did not yet exist.

That has now all changed. This year, the city stepped in and said they had the resources to fill every tree box in Georgetown this year. Our tax dollars are at work! We took them up on their offer. The timing was particularly fortuitous because Casey Trees has been so short of people that they had to step back from being TFG’s planting contractor.

UFD’s promise is a big step forward, but it is not the end of the story. UFD still does not have the resources to do all the maintenance needed. If we ignore our old trees, we will be like hamsters on a wheel, planting (and panting) furiously merely to keep pace with our mounting losses. We get so much more out of our trees if we just put a little more into them. There is no point in planting trees if we don’t take care of them! So TFG has turned its focus to protection and maintenance.

After lack of water, the next biggest reason we lose trees by far is soil compaction. We need to protect tree boxes from people, dogs, and vehicles. To that end, TFG is continuing to install regulation, custom, wrought iron tree box fences around newly planted trees. We are also repairing previously installed fences.

In cooperation with UFD, and to the extent our resources permit, we will also be supplementing mulch around newly planted trees, watering in times of drought, inoculating elm trees against Dutch Elm Disease, and — having at long last gotten UFD’s tentative okay — hopefully starting a young tree pruning program. We will also be working with UFD to do on-site, in-person tree talks to foster tree care and help with tree identification.

It is easy to get excited about planting trees, but fewer people get enthusiastic about preventive maintenance. We have faith that Georgetowners understand the importance of our beautiful trees, which play such a central role in mitigating climate change. We look forward to the generous support of the Georgetown community to keeping vibrant our tree cover — and that means not only donations but also everyone doing their part to water trees in front of their homes and to protect them from damage.

Thank you in advance for your continuing help to TFG and to Georgetown’s trees.



One comment on “Trees for Georgetown: Over 3,000 Planted, More to Come”

  • Richard Maddox says:

    Just purchased home on Dumbarton. Where can I get an iron tree box fence for the planter in front of my house.

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