Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spanish Steps neighbors kick off RMA tree care season

May 20
Our volunteer Treekeepers led a Tree Care Demo for residents of one of the loveliest nooks of Embassy Row at Decatur Place and 22 Street by the famous Spanish Steps.

Sarah Randolph, RMA Treekeeping co-chair, explained to the crowd that young city sidewalk trees need "foster care" for a few years to get established. She urged neighbors there to "adopt" specific trees near their homes.

The event was a party so these long-term neighbors could plan what each will do for trees.
Host Ross Newman provided refreshments: goat cheeses from Firefly Farms Creamery and local wines from sommelier Veronica Kunkel.

Especially in our current drought, sidewalk trees will suffer if they are not watered regularly: 25 gallons per week is recommended, Anna Viggh of Casey Trees told the guests. For trees to get established, the sidewalk boxes should be free of weeds, rocks and plants that block air and water exchange with the soil.  Liriope and ivy are no-nos.

In the kickoff demo, we planted some small boxwoods and dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonica) in a tree box; these lightly rooted plants allow a tree to thrive.

"The event was a delight to host. It brought together several neighbors who really care about our area, including the wonderful trees," Newman said.

 "I look forward to doing much more with Restore Mass Ave, including adopting 22nd Street below the Steps." Newman said.

Though the trees below the Spanish Steps are so-so, the area is rich with history. Decatur Place, which crosses the foot of the grand stairs, is named for Stephen Decatur, the US naval hero killed prematurely in a duel in 1820. A huge parade -- including the President and every member of Congress --  accompanied Decatur's casket to this place, which was then on a private estate, for interment.  Fast-forward to 1911, when the city decided the wooded hill was too steep for 22 Street to continue up to S Street; so a grand staircase was installed named for the Spanish Steps of Rome.

Of late a wonderful neighborhood partnership with DC government has been renovating these steps.

With this party and tree care demo, a new partnership of neighbors and Restore Mass Ave will renew the landscape of this marvelous place.

TAGS: street trees, drought, Decatur Place, Spanish Steps, Kalorama, dwarf mondo grass,  Ross Newman, Anna Viggh, Sarah Randolph, Firefly Farms Creamery, Casey Trees, Stephen Decatur, Decatur funeral parade

1 comment:

  1. Trees prevent soil erosion, act as windbreaks to defend properties, and provide shelter and food to flora and fauna, and also they give shadow to bind the sun's thermal effect on homes. Tree Care.