Mayor Anthony Williams's plan to plant more trees around town only goes halfway to restoring Washington's reputation as one of the greenest world capitals ["Mayor Working to Keep It Green," Metro, Nov. 17].

In both 1998 and 1999, new trees were planted along Connecticut Avenue, near Key Bridge and under the new Whitehurst Bridge underpass (near the intersection of Rock Creek Parkway and Virginia Avenue NW). But after a dry summer in 1998 and a drought in 1999, many of the infant trees died because they did not get enough water.

Mayor Williams should take the lead in making arrangements with the U.S. Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service to ensure that the trees get watered using federally owned water trucks. These trucks already are used to water new trees along Embassy Row.

D.C. residents also need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for watering infant trees in their neighborhoods.



About D.C. trees: Not only are there fewer now, but the new ones are dying. No wonder. Architects and planners should have consulted arborists before paving so much of downtown and leaving only the tiniest boxes for trees. Even the tree boxes are paved (or covered with steel grids). How do they expect the trees to get any water?

Pennsylvania Avenue used to have beautiful big trees, but the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp. had them cut down and planted new ones without giving them room for their roots to get enough water.

Unlike the pieces of green sponge on an architect's model, real trees need an area of exposed soil at least as big as their branches are wide. The planners could fix this by tearing up enough pavement to let the trees live and breathe. If grass won't grow on the exposed areas, they should use mulch.