Plant and Tend A District Tree, Get a Rebate

By Elissa Silverman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

District residents who plant a tree on their property and vow to water and nurture it for two years will receive up to $50 through a program launched by the city and Casey Trees, officials announced yesterday.

"We are very enthused about the improvements to the quality of life in the city that come from tree cover," said D.C. environment department Director George Hawkins. "Any of us know the difference between walking a street on a hot summer day with trees or without."

Hawkins said that officials expect as many as 1,000 trees to be planted through the program, which is funded by the city and administered by Casey Trees, a nonprofit that aims to improve the District's tree canopy. Tree planters will receive the rebate check, limited to one tree per household, by sending Casey a receipt for the tree along with a coupon available at http://www.caseytrees.org.

Certain trees considered invasive or susceptible to pests are ineligible, including Norway maple, Bradford pear, Siberian elm and ash.

Architect Pierre L'Enfant envisioned the capital as a city of grand, tree-lined avenues. In the post-Civil War era, an ambitious tree-planting program enhanced the city's verdancy. But in recent years, the celebrated tree canopy has been shrinking. A federal Clean Water Act permit requires the city to plant 4,500 trees a year, Hawkins said.

He advised prospective planters to choose trees compatible with city conditions and said he encourages those who "will not just plant a tree but look after it."

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