Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the officials from the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) today officially kicked off the District’s tree-planting season by planting trees along the 2600 block of Birney Place SE in Ward 8. The tree-planting initiative is part of an ongoing effort to expand the District’s urban tree canopy; through this year’s campaign, the UFA will plant over 7,500 trees across all eight wards.
“We’re aiming to establish the District as one of the world’s preeminent green cities,” said Mayor Gray. “By expanding the District’s tree canopy, we’re making D.C. more sustainable and also improving the quality of life for residents and future generations.”
Mayor Gray continued: “In the Sustainable DC Plan we released earlier this year, we set an aggressive goal that entails a 40 percent increase in the urban tree canopy by 2032. In order to reach this goal, we need to plant 974 acres of new canopy on private properties, which is only one-quarter of the available planting space in the District. Working closely with agency partners like the District Department of the Environment, non-governmental organizations and citizens, the city can help promote tree planting on private parcels as a means of easily attaining a 40 percent overall tree canopy.”
Research has shown that trees provide critical benefits to cities far beyond aesthetics, air quality and stormwater control.
UFA has planted a total of 43,329 trees on public space across all 8 wards since Fiscal Year 2005, and UFA’s planting in public space accounts for nearly 75 percent of all trees planted in the District each year. The District tree canopy was at 36 percent in 2006 and was at 37 percent in 2011.
UFA plants during the period of tree dormancy, from late fall to spring. The locations are largely based on requests residents make to the Mayor’s 311 Citywide Call Center before June 15 of each year. Staff arborists inspect each proposed location to determine viability and the best species for planting.
“We continue to make strides with our tree-planting initiatives, and look to the community to partner with us to help maintain the investments we are making,” said DDOT Director Terry Bellamy.
The proposed locations and the specific species of trees to be planted can be viewed on DDOT’s Tree Planting Map. The planting schedule for specific neighborhoods will also be posted on the DDOT website this week at ddot.dc.gov/trees. Please note that the schedule is subject to change due to equipment, weather, emergencies, and other extenuating circumstances.
The Mayor also reminded community members that they can help expand the District’s tree canopy by partnering with UFA to tend to the new trees. Residents are already responsible for maintaining property to the curb. Those who go a step further and sign a Canopy Keeper partnership agreement to water, mulch, and monitor the health of specific trees in the first two years after planting will receive free watering bags and instructions from UFA. The Canopy Keeper adoption form can be found at http://ddot.dc.gov/trees or by calling 202-671-5133.
Residents may request a tree for an existing, empty tree box or continuous planting strip (grass strip) in front of their residence or trees for an entire block by calling 311. All planting requests must be submitted before June 15, 2014 to be processed for the 2014 fall/winter planting season.