Another Tree Located on the 1300 block of Perry Place Cut Down for no Apparent Reason

PerryPl_tree2, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“Dear PoP,

I came home from work to find our own little tree cut down. I found it laying on its side next to the little stump, the sharp angle of the cuts clearly visible on both trunk and stump. So far I haven’t had any neighbor tell me s/he saw who did it, but then everyone’s in out of the heat right now.

I am thoroughly irritated that this has happened. The tree was clearly not a weed. It was beautifully flowering up until the moment it was cut down, and the tree lawn around it was cared for (not beautiful, but cared for). I can only be grateful that I did not plant it in honor of anyone, or I’d be thoroughly ready to wring some necks. As it is, I’m just feeling deflated and disheartened. What the hell is wrong with people?!”

This is the strangest epidemic. I know there are worse things in the world but for folks to just cut down trees. Ridiculous.

60 Comment

  • Any planting in the are between the curb and the sidewalk requires city permission and subject to removal if it is not approved.

  • You blew it. You should have said that a neighbor whose name and address you do not know (despite the fact that he or she is a neighbor) told you that he or she saw a kid in a blue or green shirt cut down the tree. The presumption would be that one of the kids from the summer jobs program did it – after all, they are young and black so what else would one expect. Then you write a letter to the Mayor’s Office complaining about the vandalism committed by kids in the summer jobs program (citing your unidentified and anonymous neighbor as a witness), copy the letter on this blog, wait for all the posts about how terrible the program is and how none of the kids do any work, and then finally end up with a new tree from the city to compensate you for your loss.

  • call the city and they will plant another one. they have a division that does this. i guess a treehugger squeezed that one a little to tight.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    @Marcus Did it ever occur to you that the neighbor didn’t want to get involved? While I’ve enjoyed your conspiracy theory I think you’re being a bit myopic.

  • “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

    Except change “man” to “summer jobber”, “hammer” to “pruning shears”, etc.

  • Thug beavers.

  • Anon 10:27: Whatever. Are you suggesting the city removed the tree? Seems implied by your argument.

    And even if they had, does removing an attractive, flowering tree make any sense? Especially if the next step, as proposed by your brother, Anon 10:40, is to call the city, the same city, to have them plant another one?

    Seems to me that whatever beautification comes, however it comes, should be left where it stands if there’s not an otherwise compelling reason to remove it. The compelling reason here? Got me.

    I’m actually going to give “the city” the benefit of the doubt here. As for it’s free-loading youth, well, probably not.

  • No, “any planting” in a tree box space does not require city permission.

    Planting a tree in a public space does require permission – because some trees are invasive and some tree plantings might interfere with utilities and public safety.

    But you’re allowed to plant flowers, grasses etc and…

    “DDOT will give notice to the abutting property owner if removal of beautification materials within the tree space is required; this will allow the Owner to remove plants and materials prior to construction work.”

  • Given the City’s reaction to yesterday’s incident, clearly it is at least feasible that youth from the summer job program did this. That is to say, if youth had not been given clippers and order to cut something (I’d like to know what?) and dispatched to a neighborhood remotely near the incident, there is no way the city would have ponied up a new tree. As it was, the City’s response was pretty close to Marcus Aurelius’ post a ways up, so if there was a way out, I am sure in good Fenty fashion it would have been taken.

    Also, to those who have commented on the City perhaps removing them because they are placed illegally, although I think MPinDC offers a perfect rebuttal, let me add that if the city is indeed removing these trees, either by way of the youth summer job program or other, then the trees should be cut down properly in such a way as to not leave a 3-6″ spike coming up out of the ground and AND they should indeed actually remove the tree.

    I would have a hard time entertaining any alternate theory. I don’t believe these are official cutting. It can’t be random neighborhood kids because the cuts show that someone is using decent equipment. And clearly the youth summer job program has kids with clippers in these neighborhoods.

    I think the program should summarily dismiss any of the youth assigned to the clippers in that general area yesterday unless one of them is willing take responsibility or rat on the responsible party. Without consequences this is only going to get worse.

  • Perhaps we should single out one of the kids in the mayor’s program and execute him by hanging in front of the rest of the kids, with a stern warning that they could be next if they cut down a tree.

  • Perhaps we should single out one of the kids in the mayor’s program and execute him by hanging in front of the rest of the kids, with a stern warning that they could be next if they cut down a tree. I’m being sarcastic obviously, the only appropriate reaction to the overly exercised on this one.

  • Main Entry: my·o·pia
    Pronunciation: \mī-ˈō-pē-ə\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: New Latin, from Greek myōpia, from myōp-, myōps
    Date: circa 1752
    1 : a condition in which the visual images come to a focus in front of the retina of the eye resulting especially in defective vision of distant objects
    2 : a lack of foresight or discernment : a narrow view of something
    — my·o·pic \-ˈō-pik, -ˈä-\ adjective
    — my·o·pi·cal·ly \-pi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

    ‘Myopic’, good word PoP. Today’s vocabulary lesson has been brought to you by the letter ‘T’.

  • I pay taxes, but I sure would want nothing to do with the DC government deciding what looks best on my lawn.

    Even if they had the right to cut something like this down (which I would find hard to believe but in knowing the invasive DC government it is very possible) they should at least give the resident some sort of notice and have the decency to take the old tree with them rather than just leaving it in the yard.

    Which leads me to believe this is either summer “jobs” kids or just some morons with pruners. Although I refuse to call what those kids do a “job” since it is really nothing but a government entitlement that results in the completion of little useful labor.

  • saf

    Christina – Oh Lord, I’m laughing so hard at “Thug Beavers.”

  • Makes me want to run right home to check on the tree in front of my building. Hang on little buddy, I’m coming for you…

  • If anyone sees these kids running around with sharp tools seeking out their next “victim” please send them to my house! I actually (sadly) have a tree I need cut down – (it has drastically overgrown its predicted height and spread.)

  • Part of me feels that vandalism by cutting down trees is worse than burning down a building, simply because of how long it takes to truly replace it. Buildings can be rebuilt in a matter of months. Really big trees take decades to get that way, and you just can’t hurry it.

  • First, it is crazy that these trees are being cut down, but I think that if people want to start planting trees in these kinds of partially-public areas, they need to stake their claims a little better- The tree should be ringed by rocks, a plaque, a small garden plot, or some other divider. The average layperson would probably look at a tree like this one and let it stand, but if you want to keep the trees you plant, I would try to leave nothing to people’s imagination- make sure everyone knows that this tree was planted for a reason, and someone out there wants it to stay there.

  • I’m pretty sure that if the DC government cut this down because it was a violation, then they would have gone through the process of bringing along a pickup truck or a woodchipper to haul it away. You guys really think the DPW comes along cutting down by sending over a guy on foot with a pair of hedge trimmers?

  • I blame Glenn Beck for this and the rash of bus stop glass destruction. He’s branched out from health care town halls. I believe there is even a Twitter hash tag, #wearethedouches

  • People here seem to be assuming that it was the homeowner who planted this tree. Couldn’t it have been planted by the District (they do plant thousands of trees a year on city streets.)? If that is the case, the cutting of it would be doubly astounding and wasteful…

  • SEE…Jim Graham was right all along…this is just another example of the nuisance Jumbo Slice has become and its impact on the surrounding community. At first the nuisance was limited to street fights, stabbings, and muggings… it escalated to treeslaughter! Two in one week I might add! Graham wanted the crackdown but the people said no…and this is result.

    I am suggesting taking the next step…it is completely necessary at this point…let’s get one of Cathy Lanier’s military style checkpoints out there to stop people on the street. Let’s make sure that people have a “legitimate purpose” to be in the area or if they have recently visited Jumbo Slice!

  • Actually PoP, I don’t think I am being myopic. If the neighbor did not want to get involved, the poster should have said “my neighbor does not want to get involved.” End of story. That’s not what the poster said. What the poster said was a neighbor, whose name and address he did not know, told him that this is what happened. I found that explanation to be a bit implausible. Those who believe that this summer jobs program is a waste of money and are inclined to think the worst of all the kids who participate in it found the explanation plausible. They also think that two trees being cut down is an “epidemic.” I guess we can agree to disagree.
    By the way, a tree planted by the city on my block was lost a couple of years ago – long before the Mayor’s summer program. It was cut down by someone. I don’t know who did it but I suspect it was someone who was tired of having to negotiate the tree every time they opened their car doors. The tree had been knocked out of its base several times. But maybe it was a summer vandal in training.

  • I heard on the radio that this upcoming issue of the City Paper has a big article about the summer jobs program. I’ll be very interested to read it. (no I don’t work for the City Paper)

  • I noticed that the city (or someone) planted several nice looking, already quite large trees around the triangle open space between Quincy, 13th, and Kansas. Honestly, for those of you who despair about the loss of the trees pictures above, I suspect the city can plant new, larger ones, like the new ones on 13th, if you ask politely. Just saying, there might be a silver lining.

    Can anyone tell us what type of tree those were? If it was an elm, I’d be really sad since they are all dying off. However, it looks like one of those fast growing species not indigenous to the area.

  • lordscarlet

    I do not know the names nor addresses of most of my neighbors.

    This is the best I could find on DC’s tree policy:,a,1417,q,642876,ufaNav_GID,1631,ufaNav,%7C32697%7C,.asp

    Also, as someone mentioned above, the District plants 4,000-5,000 trees per year.,a,1293,q,575620.asp

  • If you haven’t sent this photo to your councilmember or the Mayor then you don’t care about your community.

    Twice in the last week three girls wearing green shirts loudly cussed and called people the N-Word while walking through Mt Pleasant. You know, walked past a homeless person and shouted “Excuse YOU N****R!” Walking past Mt Pleasant stores and shouting, “What kind of N****R GHETTO is this?!” Then laughing.

    Then I saw a large group of green shirts getting very very loud on the metro in Southwest to the point where a metro employee went over to talk to them.

    At first I blew it off as teen weirdness, but in talking to neighbors everyone seems to have seen the green-shirted thugs doing something weird, illegal or rude and all in the last 2 weeks. Kids smoking on an elementary school playground. Kids rough housing in uniform in the middle of the day at Target. Kids scoping out car windows as they walked down the street like they might want to break in.

    Something is coming down fast on the Mayor’s Green Shirts but I can’t figure out what.

  • Each of the trees cut down was a crape [not crepe] myrtle. They are indigenous, and flower in July and August when few other trees do. They’re good for treeboxes because they grow very upright, but can grow to tangle in overhead wires. They do resemble various “junk” trees (such as ailanthus or “tree of heaven”) and so it’s not surprising that they would be mistaken as such.

    The treebox in front of a house is public space that property owners are required to maintain.

    My main concern is that pruning is being done in the middle of summer. Pruning is a delicate job. If a branch is removed but a couple of inches of wood remain, that stub will die and can permit insects and fungi to penetrate the tree. Pruning of large (bigger around than a broom handle) limbs should be done in two steps–a cut a couple of inches away from the trunk, and a second–preferably with a sharp pruning saw–flush with the trunk. The tree will heal itself. If you try to cut right at the trunk without removing all the weight of the branch, when you are 90 percent of the way through the branch it may drop and twist, taking with it a big strip of bark. Insects and fungi again.

  • Why do these kids need to be pruning at all? There is plenty of trash on every f’ing street, sidewalk, tree box, gutter, and yard in the whole f’ing city. They don’t need any supervision to pick up trash and put it in a bag. For christ sakes, why can’t they be utilized in a reasonable way? What a waste of their time and our money.

  • …oh, and is it too much to ask that a couple of the kids, OR ANYONE, from the city be bothered to fill up the water bags around the trees in the New Hampy median near the PW Metro? Those trees are all about to die.

  • “Why do these kids need to be pruning at all? ”

    I’m with you there. As Gardyloo said, pruning takes a bit of skill. Obvioiusly the people chopping off trees at the trunk should know that’s not “pruning.” But even if you want to do it right, you can still get it wrong if you’re not taking into account the growth pattern of that tree/shrub. Is high summer really the right time to be pruning anyway? I thought that was a fall thing, but I’m no gardener.

  • @Marcus – I went back and read the original post and Mr. Heymann’s response. I don’t think the original poster said they didn’t know who the neighbor was. It was Mr. Heymann’s response to Pop that the said the original poster could not identify the neighbor.

    I can certainly understand why the original poster wouldn’t tell Mr. Heymann, “I know who the neighbor is, but they don’t want to get involved.” I can also understand why, for the purposes of not having to pursue the investigation any further, and deflect blame from himself and his program, that Mr. Heymann would write to Pop, “the original poster could not identify the neighbor.” It gets everyone off the hook. Mr. Heymann doesn’t have to blame the kids, just fix the short term ramifications of the original problem. And the neighbor who saw the offense doesn’t have to come forward. I can also see that a neighbor, from the neighborhood, who happened to be near the incident when it happened, would be kind of enough to notify the home owner, even though they don’t live on the same street, thus, still being a neighbor, but not one who you could identify by full name or address.

    I don’t know all the facts because I haven’t personally talked to the people who have been affected, but I don’t think it’s fair to claim that the people who’s trees are getting chopped down by someone running through our neighborhood with pruning sheers are racially profiling the kids in the summer youth program. After you’ve seen the thug beaver that seems to be capable of taking down a young tree with a perfectly clean cut, then you can come back and have stronger ground for the unwarranted claims that you’ve made above against the victim of the crime and neighbor who was kind enough to wait around to tell the victim what happened.

  • I’m curious, how many folks around here would be willing to hire a city teenager to be an intern in their office or place of work? Serve as a mentor, train them, teach them a bit about your line of work, get some work out of them, and offer them a decent summer wage for their trouble? Is there enough interest in something like that to start working with the high schools to put it together?

  • Cutting down a crape myrtle because you don’t know what the f you are doing is NOT a “crime”. There are no “victims” here. I understand being frustrated with idle and bored kids doing dumb stuff because they have no supervision or any f’ing clue as to what they are supposed to be doing. I understand and share the anger at yet another waste of our tax dollars that doesn’t teach many of these kids a darn thing. But equating this to “thugs” and “crime” just makes you look even stupider than the ignorant bozo cutting down a healthy tree.

    The only “crime” here is that once again Fenty and his clueless staff are shown to be bumblers who can’t organize a hand job in a whore house. This program is consistent in one aspect every damn summer: poor management. I don’t necessarily agree with Neener that this Heymann guy should resign unless he’s responsible for the whole program – because whoever is responsible for the management of this program should be fired, cut down with a saw, and left in a tree box.

    The two solutions that never get implemented are either (a) have the program fund kids working for private employers who will damn sure make certain that the kids are supervised, working, and learning something if they want to get paid or (b) pare down the participation and add more supervision.

    There is NO REASON in the world that any group of teenagers, whether they are from SE or lily-white Bethesda, should be wandering about on their own without any guidance and a saw. That does them no good, the city no good, and it’s f’ing hell on the crape myrtles.

  • This is not a crime, this is overzealous pruning.

  • Why are people insisting that this was botched pruning? And why are they insisting that it was part of the summer jobs program? Nothing about the original post suggests that it was anything but an act of vandalism.

    I could come up with story that this poster didn’t like their own tree, saw that the first tree victim got a free new tree from the city, so they cut down their own crappy tree and posted it here so they too could get a new one from the city. Now, that’s no more or less plausible than assuming that this was a rogue summer jobber with a saw, but folks seem very eager to jump to conclusions.

    And with apologies to the original poster, I’m not actually suggesting that you did such a thing.

  • “I could come up with story that this poster didn’t like their own tree, saw that the first tree victim got a free new tree from the city, so they cut down their own crappy tree and posted it here so they too could get a new one from the city. Now, that’s no more or less plausible than assuming that this was a rogue summer jobber with a saw, but folks seem very eager to jump to conclusions.”

    I think you’re confusing ‘plausible’ with ‘possible’.

  • Cutting down a crape myrtle because you don’t know what the f you are doing is NOT a “crime”. There are no “victims”

    Odentex wins for most ignorant comment of the day!

    Yay! Oden “Tex” Watson

  • I’m an idiot Odentex and apologize, at first I thought you were serious and now I realize you were joking. sorry! mea culpa.

  • Original poster here, just dipping in to clarify some basic facts:

    This particular tree is not a crepe myrtle, but a Hibiscus. The first cut tree from yesterday’s post was a crepe myrtle.

    We did plant this tree, along with a companion, a couple years back, but the other one was destroyed through vandalism a few months ago. That first tree was not cleanly cut as this one was, but was bent and broken probably by being stepped on near the base. The damage was so bad we had to cut it down.

    I contacted PoP about this second incident because of yesterday’s post about the tree cut down by the so-called Green Shirts. The details seemed too similar to ignore, though, as noted, I had no proof — other than timing and a cleanly cut tree — to implicate the Green Shirts in my loss. In other words, the MO matched. I just don’t have a witness to point to the perpetrator(s).

  • Perry, was the new tree — the one that was obviously cut — planted in the same location as the old tree, the one that was bent and broken by being stepped on?

    I was just thinking that if they were, I wonder if it was some local idiot who was tired of hitting the tree with his car door, as Marcus Aurelius suggested.

  • Sorry for the misindentification. I assumed that because there were two trunks, pink flowers, and the trunk was clear of branches for several feet (hibiscus tend to be bushy down to the base) that it was another crape myrtle. The fact that the branches had been taken off the trunk, turning the hibiscus into kind of a standard, shows that Perry was thoughtful with his tree (low branches would get in the way of opening car doors). Also, note the two failed attempts at sawing through on the right-hand trunk.

    The good news is that an evergreen hibuscus might well regrow from the base, although with a lot of little trunks that would need to be thinned out.

    Thanks to Odentex for mentioning the stressed new trees on New Hampshire near the metro. The school my kids attend is a couple of blocks from there. I’m sure one or more of the classes would adopt the trees.

  • So no one is interested in a privately run jobs program?

  • Gardyloo, you’re like a gardening Sherlock Holmes! I didn’t even notice those failed sawing attempts. Hmm. HMMM. Curiouser and curiouser.

  • If they want to cut something down. Please come to the tree box in front of my house.
    There is a dead tree that has been reported to the city, marked with an “X”, but monthes
    later still standing (barely)! I called Jim Graham’s office and was told it would be a few
    more weeks. The dead branches are falling off of this pathetic tree–I suppose it needs to
    hit someone to get any action. Life in the Disfunction of Columbia!

  • Christina — The two trees were actually planted at the same time, about 3 or 4 feet from each other.

    Gardyloo — We did try to keep the lower branches cut. (Good eye!) We wanted to train the hibiscus to be less bushy and more standard, for both aesthetics and convenience.

  • Voice: I think we ought to get the summer jobs program we’ve all already paid for to work first. There is no reason why the summer jobs program has to be managed like something out of the movie Idiocracy.

  • “I don’t think it’s fair to claim that the people who’s trees are getting chopped down by someone running through our neighborhood with pruning sheers are racially profiling the kids in the summer youth program.”

    –Actually, it’s not the people (and I think at this point this horrific “epidemic” is limited to a whopping TWO persons) who’s trees got chopped down that are racially profiling the kids in the summer program, it’s the 90% of the posters in the threads that are making categorical negative statements about the program and the kids in it that are doing the profiling. As someone said earlier, folks seem really eager to jump to conclusions.

    “So no one is interested in a privately run jobs program?”

    — I could be wrong, but I recall that there used to be a privately run jobs program where businesses were encouraged to sign up to have a District teenager work for them for the summer. If you search prior threads involving kids and crime, you will find numerous complaints about what a “disaster” it purportedly was.

  • And I don’t understand why the original poster wouldn’t tell Mr. Heymann, “I know who the neighbor is, but they don’t want to get involved.” What would be the harm in that? Who would be put in jeopardy if he simply refused to identify the neighbor?

    And even if this was done by a kid in the summer program, I don’t see why Mr. Heymann or the entire jobs program should be blamed for one act of vandalism by one kid.

    There have been a slew of anecdotal reports in these threads about offensive and potentially illegal behavior by kids in this summer jobs program. I wonder how many of these reports actually made it to Mr. Heymann. Or Mayor Fenty for that matter. As far as I know, Fenty still has his Blackberry on. Or is it better to just kvetch about things in this anonymous forum as opposed to taking some responsibility to address the problem through the simple act of bringing it to the attention of the people responsible for this program.
    At least the original poster did actually bring his complaint to someone who could address them, rather than just offer up a rant.

  • Marcus: The “Crape Myrtle Massa-cree” and the “Hibiscus Hullabaloo” are hardly the only incidents of mismanagement and failure having to do with this program. And this is not the first year they’ve had problems. Just as it’s silly to equate these, er.. “enthusiastic” pruning incidents with real crime and thuggery it’s equally dismissive to suggest “90%” of people are jumping to conclusions about the summer jobs program. If there had never been any other problems reported, even this year, about unsupervised teens taking up skirt photos, calling people names on public streets, smoking on playground equipment, milling about aimlessly inside a mall, starting fights at orientation, or casually gunning people down outside the Columbia Heights Metro, etc, etc, I think most people, maybe even “90%”, would be willing to let a Hibiscus or two slide. As it stands I think any reasonable person would have to admit that this program runs worse than quadruple amputee racehorse. Blaming the majority of teens involved in the program is a mistake, they just lack any structure or guidance, but blaming the irresponsible management of this yearly charade is well overdue – all the way up to his highness Fenty.

  • Marcus: I guess this is technically “anecdotal” since they could have been smoking banana peels:

  • When Marion Barry worries about something encoraging “bad habits,” you better watch the f out! If there is anyone that’s an expert on bad habits in DC it’s the Mayor For Life.

  • Did anyone else watch ‘the nine lives of marion barry’ on HBO last night?

  • I watched it! It was pretty good at detailing the rise and fall of his career. Since I am younger, and have been in DC for only a year and a half, I learned a lot I never knew about Marion Barry. I wish it was more detailed… Some great old photos and commentary from Effi, though!

  • Just to clarify, the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (which is run by the DC Department of Employment Services – Office of Youth Programs) is open to private employers. Many of them serve as hosts throughout the summer and many actually supplement the minimum wage that DOES provides the kids.

  • Does anyone really believe that this city would cut down an illegal tree without imposing some fine on the address? The government employees need shopping money for Neiman’s; how else will they get it without fees and fines?

  • Not that I really want to know the answer, but again I ask, how many of the teens hired by the District this summer have sealed criminal records? And of those, which have been dispatched to work near toddler parks?

    I can’t get over that the Columbia Heights shooting followed by the dirty diaper dude incident is followed by boys will be boys and cut the crap out of anything that grows, what a great city!

    Ever watch a boy with a stick, what will he do with it, whack something.

  • saf

    VoR – I have worked for 2 different places that have tried to participate in the summer jobs program. Every time it has been a disaster. From the kids that they send who do not want to work to the badly run administration through the problems when we had to fire them for no-call no-show and were unable to stop them from being paid or to get new kids, there was nothing at all good about it.

    We have also tried internships. Few have worked for high school kids. College kids work better.

    So, find a way that we can require the kids to actually work, and we might try again.

  • I would think if the program was run by a non-governmental non-profit set up for that purpose, it would be easier to control and could avoid the problems you mention saf.

  • Odentex – My point is still that posting threads on a blog is not bringing the problem to the attention of responsible officials. I don’t consider any of these posts to be “reports.” If you see something wrong and you want it to be changed, you should say something. If all else fails, you can always use the old “My neighbor, whose name and address I don’t know, told me that s/he saw . . . .” If you’re not going to put this information in the hands of people who can do something about it, you’ve got no reason to complain when nothing is done and things don’t get any better.
    And kudos to whoever took the photos of the kids smoking and sent it to the City Paper. That’s hard evidence that will be brought to the attention of the people running the jobs program. What they do with it is another question.

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