Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Question of the Day: Whose Responsibility?

Dead tree, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

This newly planted tree is just about as dead as dead gets. As I've written before one of the great things about our neighborhood are the many trees. But whose responsibility is it to water them? Is it the homeowner? What about the trees in parks? I've seen folks on Petworth News ask people to help out with the watering. Is there no system set up by the city or the parks department to water these newly planted trees? I can't believe the onus is on the residents?


sfw said...

Trees in park belong to the Parks Service.

Trees in the "public parking" (technical name for the tree box) are city trees, but they do not water them. Those trees are the responsibility of the closest homeowner.

theneighbor said...

If home owners didn't take responsibility for that area in front of their homes could you imagine what an over-grown mess it would all be?

LaLa said...

while those tree boxes are public property, and the responsibility, technically, of the city, i think the city has a lot of stuff to do that doesn't involve watering trees. so, the burden is on the homeowners or renters who reside closest the trees.

DCDireWolf said...

the city can fine a homeowner if they don't maintain the area in front of their home.

Jamie said...

The "parking" area in front of every house is always the homeowner's responsibility, including trees, shoveling snow, maintenance, trash, etc. It's just part of being a responsible neighbor and also the law (as far as snow goes).

Christina said...

This frustrates me because on my block, it's an apartment building on one side and some condo rowhouses on the other. Apartment dwellers are not going to take care of street trees because they probably don't have access to water. In my condo, people generally don't pay attention to this, but I managed to get one of those watering bags and do the best I can. But there's still more than could be done.

It'd be great if, when the city does some planting in the swales, works could put a hang tag on the doors nearby houses suggesting that folks take care of the tree. It would be even better, of course, if the city would water them. Because some trees are not going to get watered regardless, especially if they're near businesses or apartment buildings.

bogfrog said...

I water the trees across the street.... two little babies.

Invisible Sun said...

how hard would it have been for this resident to water it? it's in his/her best interest, anyway, to have a lovely shade tree (versus dead/dying one).

Anonymous said...

The city does not have the resources to water every tree in public space. It's that simple. They rely on residents.

Joseph Bui said...

Try contacting to get information about trees in DC. They can provide assistance, such as ooze tubes that make watering easier.

If you see a dead street tree or an area that needs a street tree, contact the Mayor's office: 727-1000.

Selenduri said...

Conditions in Washington DC have been very dry. This drought is a serious threat to young trees in the District.

Trees planted within the past three years need water and care to grow strong and live long. Follow these simple steps to ensure your neighborhood trees stay healthy.


- Apply water slowly so it penetrates and soaks the soil.

- During dry conditions, water new trees weekly with 10รข€“20 gallons of water; if the soil feels wet and soft to the touch use less, if dry and hard use more.

- Using a Gator Bag, Ooze Tube, 5-gallon bucket with small holes in the bottom, or a hose turned on low for 1/2 hour are all ways to effectively water trees.


- Mulch keeps the soil moist and controls weeds.

- Shredded bark or leaf compost works best.

- Use the 3-3 rule: place three inches of mulch in a three foot wide ring extending from the tree trunk.

- Replenish mulch yearly.

- Never mound mulch up around the base of the tree - volcano mulching.

Weed Wacker & Lawnmower Warning!

Weed trimmers and lawn mowers kill hundreds of trees every year by tearing off their bark. Avoid hitting the bottom of the tree with these tools and maintain the mulch around your trees to protect them from injury.