03 May 2010

UPDATED: Oates Street's transitory trees

(This post has been updated. See below the jump.)

The 1200 block of Oates Street NE, unlike many other blocks in Trinidad, lacks a large tree canopy. There are some small- and medium-sized trees, but nothing like the full-grown oaks that line the 1200 blocks of Owen Place, Neal Street, and Morse Street nearby.

It takes decades for trees to grow to that size, but everything has to start sometime. That sometime appeared to be last month, as the city's Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) planted at least a half-dozen young london plane/sycamore trees on the western end of the block.

Here are a few of those young trees.

The trees were kind of spindly, with some branches that weren't leafing out, but they seemed healthy enough, and I thought that, with enough time and TLC, they would provide shade and enjoyment for our block for years to come.

Incidentally, I've been a citizen forester for Casey Trees for a few years, and one of the things that we do when planting trees that are "balled and burlapped" is to remove the twine, metal, and burlap that surrounds the tree's root ball so that the roots have a chance to grow and get established in the surrounding soil. After these trees were planted, I noticed that there was still twine and burlap wrapped around the base of these trees where they meet the ground.

 Example of the twine and burlap still visible at the young tree's base.

I was assured by the Ward 5 arborist not to worry:
UFA changed its planting specs last year. Leaving the burlap and rope on allows for the staking to be omitted, which can be problematic in many instances. The nursery uses a new highly degradable burlap and twine, so the traditional negative impacts are mitigated.
All of this discussion is temporarily for naught, though, as UFA removed most of the trees shortly after planting them. The Ward 5 arborist said that the trees were being removed to be replaced with higher quality trees. He said it would take a few weeks, so we sit waiting—a dream deferred. Below is the only one of the trees that was left on our end of the block. Hopefully it won't be the only one much longer!

New trees were planted this morning. They are the same species as the ones that were removed, but are much more robust and are clearly older than the trees that were removed. The trees are well mulched, and we have ooze tubes to water them throughout the hot and dry DC summer. Thanks, UFA!


  1. Hope you get some trees soon! Just be hopeful that you don't have neighbors who think that topping a tree, literally cutting off all the new late winter/early spring growth because "the branches were bending", is just a dandy idea. Our lovely red maple is now DOA. Ah, the joys of urban living. . .

  2. I hope we can get some trees just south of Florida Ave too! The few streets just below Gallaudet are a bit sparse in terms of vegetation.

  3. Yeah I noticed the twine and burlap on the tree rootmass as well. Good to hear it quickly degrades. Although it's probably usually better to remove stuff like that when you plant it.


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