Friday, November 15, 2013

New! Our Street Tree Inventory Project

Does follow-up care of new-planted trees improve their chances of surviving? Do street trees that are well cared for grow bigger, sooner than those that don't get TLC?

Some forest scientists suspect the answer must be yes. We at Restore Mass Ave -- who are passionate about caring for trees -- believe that the care we arrange for DC street trees should raise the odds they will stick around for 10 or 20 years or longer.

But will they? To start tracking the growth of "our" street trees, RMA began an inventory. Our volunteers measured all the city trees along Mass Ave and related streets from Dupont Circle out to Rock Creek Park - about 1.5 street-miles and some 300 tree sites. We announced the Inventory Project Nov 4 as part of National NeighborWoods, sponsored by Alliance for Community Trees.

Our news video shows how to care for a little street tree to help it grow. It shows that the benefits of bigger trees are way bigger than those of little trees.

Why size matters: new RMA Street Tree Inventory Project
Video by Jazmin Garcia

The Embassy of Greece Military Office participated, because its staff takes model care of the DC street trees by the office. Lt. Col Ioannis Argyriadis said why his office is helping to "green" Washington.

Carlson Klapthor of the Urban Forestry Administration (UFA/DDOT), which plants these trees, spoke about the threats to them and urged neighbors including embassies to water and mulch them regularly.

Marty Scherr represented RMA's volunteer Treekeepers who measured 292 trees and additional empty tree spaces; our Nov 4 event announced that the data collection phase is done.
Restore Mass Ave launches Inventory with Alliance for Community Trees. L to R:  Lt. Col. Ioannis Argyriadis, Embassy of Greece Military Office; Deborah Shapley, President RMA; Marty Scherr, RMA Board member and Volunteer.
But we at Restore Mass Ave are amateurs, so each of our projects is advised by experts. Guiding the Inventory Project are Dr. Jessica Sanders, Director of Technical Services and Research at Casey Trees and Dr. Lara Roman of the US Forest Service.  
Visit our website for our press release and Tree Benefits poster. Visit our Volunteer page if you are interested in joining the Inventory's next phase, to help expand DC's urban forest.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Our 2013 Treekeeper Season - Looking Back

By Jon Gossens
A mild summer and great fall weather helped RMA have another great season of outdoor tree care. As organizer of volunteers, I enjoyed  arranging more than 20 Treekeeper meet-ups - work sessions - with new and returning volunteers.  At the British Embassy Open House in May we signed up a plethora of new people who want to learn about expanding Washington’s tree canopy. Many  joined our work helping at-risk trees on Embassy Row. 

During the summer, our volunteers cleared tree boxes, laid mulch, and arranged for water bags to be filled - by us and by nearby property owners. This is very important work during hot months when sidewalk city trees need help to stay hydrated.

A new city tree surrounded with grass which was robbing the tree of soil nutrients before RMA Treekeepers got their hands dirty clearing the whole box.
As the weather cooled and our group grew, we decided on another way we could help Embassy Row and other communities in Washington. Urged by our fearless leader Deborah Shapley, the Treekeepers embarked on a Tree Inventory project. With special help from Robert Thomason, tree aficionado, we measured trees in session after session; we have now inventoried almost 300 street trees along Embassy Row.   

Our detailed measurements will enable us and forest professionals to gauge the health and successful growth of these trees. Click here for our video on tree measurement! The inventory will help RMA set priorities for future tree work, future volunteering, and generally help us grow better trees.

As RMA’s Treekeeper Organizer, I thoroughly enjoyed working with such great volunteers through a very productive season. The weather is cooling and bringing the outdoor work to an end, but the Inventory and other projects will carry us through the winter as we prepare for 2014.

Thank you to everyone who came out this year! See you again soon!

-Jon Gossens, RMA Associate
2238 Decatur Pl NW