DC Department of Transportation Needs Help Watering Trees

As everyone on the East Coast is already aware, there is a terrible heat wave happening. Parkview DC is reporting that the Washington, D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) has released a request to the public for their help watering the district’s street trees while temperatures stay so high. These are dangerous conditions for the health of Washington’s urban canopy (at a time, of course, when the citizens most need their shade).

Here is the full request from the DDOT:

Call to Water Street Trees in Summer Heat
Residents Urged to Adopt Street Trees and Receive Free Watering Devices

(Washington, D.C.)  In response to the recent heat waves and dry conditions, the District Department of Transportation’s Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) is launching an effort to engage as many residents as possible in watering street trees so they survive this hot summer.

It takes less than 10 minutes a week to fill the free slow-drip watering device provided by the city to any individual who adopts street trees through UFA’s Canopy Keepers program.

“Summer heat and normal urban pressures create intense stress for street trees,” said John Thomas, Chief Forester for the District of Columbia.  “While UFA crews are watering all 3,500 new trees we planted this year, we are calling on District residents and businesses to help water street trees close to their homes and offices. Together, we can ensure that these taxpayer-funded assets provide their full environmental, economic, and social benefits for years to come.”

Please contact the Urban Forestry Administration at (202) 671-5133 or visit http://ddot. dc.gov and click on the “Trees” link to become a Canopy Keeper, receive a free watering device and help street trees survive the summer.

Are you able to help, or know someone who can? Spread the word!

Drought aside, this gets me thinking about involving citizens more in the care of street trees in general. Many cities have “citizen forester” programs, for the elite tree volunteers. Why not have a more basic program for the non-elite? For example, offer homeowners and business rebates, credits or some other kind of incentive for providing care and upkeep for the trees in their neighborhood. Not only would more neighborhood trees receive attention and care, it would get folks involved with the urban forest and thinking about the role trees play in their community. It would raise awareness, investment, and hopefully advocacy and buy-in for initiatives promoting tree health. YES.

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