Shade trees are large trees with widespread, dense canopies. A shade tree is taller than 25 feet at maturity. Commonly planted shade trees in the District include maples, hickories, birches, and oaks. These types of trees are an important method for controlling stormwater runoff. The leaves of trees are like cups and can hold up to one-tenth of an inch of rainwater. This captured rainwater is critical as a rainfall of only a half an inch can cause sewer overflows.
In addition to stormwater control, trees provide many additional benefits:
Decrease heating bills up to 15 percent and cooling bills up to 50 percent
Increase property value to up to 10-20 percent
Improve health by reducing stress, asthma, and cancers caused by sun exposure
Improve neighborhood livability; a 2001 study showed apartment buildings with trees and vegetation had more than 50 percent fewer total crimes than non-landscaped buildings
Provide privacy by muffling the sound from traffic, lawn mowers, and loud neighbors.
Maintaining Your Shade Trees
Watch the video series above to learn more about how to maintain your shade tree!
Any trees planted need to be cared for, especially during the first two years after planting. Luckily, young tree maintenance is easy.
Water trees regularly if it hasn't rained recently
Use the watering bag provided with your tree
Protect trees from deer, mowers, and weedwackers with wire fencing and truck guards
Cover any bare spots around the tree with mulch
Avoid mulch volcanoes
Weed around planted trees as needed (~4 times a year)
Prune dead branches from trees