Dogs and Curbside Tree Box/Gardens Vol. 12

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“Dear PoPville,

I understand why people get angry when dog owners don’t clean up after their dogs. I am a dog owner and it makes me furious to see lazy people who are breaking the law. I have plastic bags stuffed in about every pocket just in case I need them.

But there also appears to be an attitude that private parties (residential and commercial) have the right to prohibit perfectly legal canine behavior in public tree boxes. I appreciate the effort to keep the tree boxes tidy but if one plants flowers and shrubbery on public property including tree boxes, they cannot expect these plants to be treated as private property. These signs are the most extreme response I have seen yet to try to try to dictate what dogs can do on public property, however, I see less permanent versions of these signs all over town.

The way I see it, if the police have an issue with it, they can issue me a fine. If you are not an officer of the law then don’t tell me what to do on public property.

On the other hand, there are specific things that are prohibited or required by law related to tree boxes according to the DDOT Public Realm Design Manual:

· Be planted a minimum of 2 feet from the root flare (crown) of the street tree in order to protect feeder and anchor roots from damage
· Wickets and other tripping hazards are strictly prohibited
· The growing of vegetables in a tree box area is prohibited
· Include plants that have a shallow root system and that grow less than 18 inches in height

I have seen many tree boxes in violation of these rules, often while sporting a ‘no dogs’ sign as well.

PS I maintain a treebox in front of my home but I use low, easily replaceable grasses and mulch rather than create a private garden.”

131 Comment

  • I have to agree with this. While it is the homeowners responsibility to maintain the tree boxes in front of their homes, it is not their private property and while they can post all the signs they want, ultimately they cannot prevent you from allowing your dog to use it for the bathroom.

    If you want to be technical (and contrary), many front yards in the city aren’t technically the homeowners/buildings property either, some right up to the building. But that’s a bigger argument for a later day.

    • Sure, they can’t _prevent_ you from letting your dog pee in the treebox… but they’re asking you to, as a courtesy, take your dog along to the next treebox that doesn’t have flowers, etc. planted and just has a tree.

      I don’t get why the OP is so outraged. Yes, treeboxes are public property, but they _are_ privately maintained. And some homeowners devote more care to the treebox area than do others. (Hell, my neighbors can’t even be bothered to mow the weeds in their treebox.) Since they’ve gone to the effort of trying to make the treebox look nice, is it really that big of an effort for you to tug your dog’s leash and walk him/her down to the next treebox?

      • And if every tree box on the block has flowers planted, am I supposed to decide which looks like it has the fewest flowers? I have had people tap on my shoulder and tell me that I shouldn’t let my dog pee in a public tree box. If I can avoid a nice tree box in favor of an empty tree box I will but I don’t feel someone should instruct me or post illegal signs (trip hazards as described by the law) to tell me what to do. And if the dog has to go, then the dog has to go. Your flowers planted on public property are ultimately not my concern.

        • Where is this idyllic block where EVERY tree box is planted with flowers and lovingly maintained??

          • 1400 block of Q Street.

          • Ha! As an owner on 1400 block of Q, thanks for the call-out. 🙂 We do all plant the boxes as a group. And, while many of my neighbors may disagree with me, I agree with the opinion writer. The tree boxes are public — I plant one in front of my house and keep it clean and watered — and I expect folks to live by the law (clean up after their pet), but I don’t expect them to not use the tree boxes as public property — that is, yes, dogs pee in them, and I don’t have the right to tell others not to let that happen.

        • Can you say entitled.

      • + 1 million

        • so avoid that block (and that was going to be my guess). Go to R Street…

          • Again, why do I have to change my behavior to now only walk down designated blocks. What if every block in the neighborhood had flowers. I assume your position will be I should just move out of the neighborhood. There is nothing realistic about this position.

  • i’ll stop posting signs when dog walkers stop dropping disgusting bags of poo in my house’s trash can

    • Unfortunately, people who do this (or at least some of them) justify it on the grounds that the trash can is the city’s property and not yours… conveniently ignoring the fact that the city doesn’t clean it; YOU have to.
      Why is “leave other people’s sh1t alone” such a hard concept for some people to embrace?? (And the Golden Rule — would you welcome someone else’s dog poop in your own trashcan?)

    • you aren’t permitted to store your trash can in front of the house.

      • we don’t have an alley on my street.

      • Sure you are, when you don’t have an alley.

        • Actually, you’re not. You are required to keep it on private property, up to and including putting it INSIDE your actual house if you have no off-sidewalk space to put it in. If you put your trash can where it belongs, I’d be shocked if you ever found more poo in it again.

          • Thanks, sanctimonious shaw guy, but I do keep my trash can on the private property in my front yard. Which is inside my fence, and given that I am outside the old city boundaries, not city property. dog owners still see fit to dump bags of poo in it by leaning over my fence.

          • Well then perhaps you should move them to the other side of your yard against your house instead of against your fence. I’m sure the people walking past your home on the sidewalk would prefer not to see / smell them against your fence anyway, and it would also solve your problem!

          • well sanctimonious shaw guy you’d be wrong because i do keep them against my house but my yard is very narrow.

          • Well Anonymous12:35, I’d love to feel pity for you and your poo problem. I really would. But your obvious attitude and your persistent name-calling kinda dulls my interest in your poo-issue. So, lock your cans. Or bring them inside. Or just deal with it. But I’m done with your attitude.

    • epric002

      i don’t see how these 2 are related. i certainly don’t dispose of my pet’s waste in residential trash cans, but it sure would be nice if the city would install more public trash cans so that more people would pick up and properly dispose of their pet’s waste.

      • pet crap shouldn’t be left in public trash cans either, where it cooks and stinks up the street. bring your dog’s poo into your house and dispose of it properly please.

          • epric002

            seriously?! it’s refuse receptacle! like all the other garbage in there doesn’t stink it up? SMDH.

        • So what should be left in public trash cans? Nothing that smells, right? So no chicken bones or other food waste, only lavender scented waste paper?

          • seriously! i dump my dog’s poop bags (which are tied very tightly knotted closed, so they don’t emit a smell) in the same 2 public trash cans every day and the trash cans are emptied daily resulting in no stink. Amazing, no?
            the actual issue may be people not tying up the poop bags.
            let’s use the public trash cans for the manner in which they were intended, yes? for TRASH.

        • what is permitted in public trash cans? old food, bloody rags, piss jugs, tree limbs, diapers?

    • When I pick up after my dog, I only use private trashcans in neighborhoods where you can go for blocks without a public trashcan. I suggest you request to have a public trashcan installed on your block.

  • I see the sign as a request, would you rather someone stand there 24/7 and ask nicely? They don’t threaten legal action or any sort of reprisal.

  • This attitude is exactly why I planted big thorny rose bushes in my planter box.

  • I have seen this. I also have seen homeowners erect fences and similar obstructions (including wickets) to prevent dogs from using the areas around the tree – which is completely illegal. My dog just pees on the fence. 🙂

  • Meh. I can’t really muster that much outrage about this. It hardly seems “extreme”; it’s just a sign that’s asking fellow residents to have the courtesy to help keep a tree box looking verdant and healthy by not filling it with dog piss. If the tree box flowers look nice and tidy, that benefits everyone (not just the homeowner) in the form of creating a pleasant environment for their walks. That being said, the sign-posters have no authority or legal basis for enforcing their plea, so anyone who wants to let their dog pee all over a bunch of flowers certainly has the “right” to do so. (As for the legal requirements that do exist for tree boxes, I’m guessing that most tree-box tenders simply don’t know about them, and anyone who is that bothered about it is similarly free to report those violations to DDOT.)

    • Yeah, I agree. I guess these signs and flowers are technically illegal, and if one wants to be pedantic about it, let your dog piss wherever you damn well please. I guess the more civilized thing to do would be to respect the fact that we live in a city and that when somebody does something generally nice it’s worth trying not to ruin it. But definitely not a problem that is going to keep me up at night.

  • I try not to let my dog pee in people’s flower boxes if they’re nicely decorated. I’ve seen what dog urine did to my own front yard and had to mulch the whole thing. I saw a dog I was watching recently almost kill a tomato plant after 5 days of using it in place of a fire-hydrant. Too much nitrogen isn’t good for most plants. So the right thing to do is to try to keep the dog moving when there are nice flower boxes and look for a dingy strip of grass.

    That being said, I can’t always help where my dog is going to pop a squat. It’s a dog, it needs to pee, and it can’t read signs. If someone wants to get angry about that, I don’t really know what to say to them.

  • Imagine going to do some gardening in your tree box that smells like dog pee and has remnants of dog shit. Gross. As a dog owner, I do my best to keep my dog off of flower boxes that look well maintained, both for bathroom purposes and for stepping on plants. I prefer to encourage lovely flowers.

    • Agreed. When I see that someone has invested time and money to beautify the world we live in, I respect it, and I make my dog respect it. Controlling what your dog does is at the heart of good dog ownership. One good yank on the leash and “No peeing”, over and over, and pretty soon you will have a dog that pees (or not) when you tell it to. Guess how I know? This is not a legal issue, it’s an issue of respect and getting along with your fellow residents.

      • “Controlling what your dog does is at the heart of good dog ownership.”

        Totally agree with this statement. Most people are not capable of being good dog owners. Most dog owners do not understand that even more effort has to go into training a dog to behave in urban space. Of the dozen or so dogs I know in DC, only 2 have been trained property for urban living. It’s annoying to watch nice landscaping get destroyed by dogs.

    • Also agreed. If a space looks like someone cares for it, I just ask my dog to keep moving until we see a place that wouldn’t be harmed by dog pee – she’s a happy dog, I’m happy to have been a responsible owner, and whoever gardens the tree box is hopefully happy that the plants haven’t been disturbed. Common courtesy and nothing to get incensed about.

  • The owner of Mintwood yelled at me and my dog a couple months ago for ignoring his no dogs sign. I just kindly explained to him that that particular sign wasn’t written in a language my dog can read.

    • ha ha ha good one.

    • you should have yelled at him/her about selling $17 hamburgers…..

    • Oh, ha ha. You’re so funny. You sound like a big jerk and I’m glad you don’t live in my neighborhood. How about just being civil and trying to do your part to keep the neighborhood looking nice? Too much to ask I suppose.

  • Solution: let your dog crap in your own tree box/yard. Or take it to a dog park. If someone has taken the time and effort to take care of their tree box, I can assure you there are MANY, MANY other ones that are in disrepair. The easy solution here is to not be a rude person.

    The reality is also that people who garden regularly in their treeboxes do not want to touch things your dog has pissed all over. Why is that so hard to understand?

    • If people who regularly garden in their treebox don’t want to touch things your dog has pissed all over then they shouldn’t regularly garden in their treebox. Or get some gardening gloves. I agree that if there’s a choice between a well-kept treebox and a shabby one, people should try to get their dogs to pee and poop in the shabby one. But the reality (your word) is that that’s not always possible.

      • Then I would advise people to go back to my first point. Use your own lawn/tree box. Easy enough. It’s most likely the first place you see when you take your dog out to use the bathroom.

        There’s no incentive for home owners to beautify anything in this city if you’re just going to let your dog crap on it. And I have seen enough people use the one in front of my house and not pick up after their dog that it keeps me from ever going near it.

        I can’t imagine it would be hard for the law to change to disfavor treebox use for these purposes. Continue to abuse your neighbors and you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

        • what do you mean “wrong side of the law?”

          • Meaning your neighbors may encourage a change to the law that would then not allow you to use the tree boxes as your pet’s personal restroom. We do live in a democracy. Laws can change.

          • justinbc

            @Duponter, I would normally say “You can’t be serious?” except that this is exactly the type of trivial, meaningless crap that does somehow make it through in legislation, while actual significant matters are overlooked.

        • Your first point doesn’t work. If dogs peed and pooped once and only once, immediately upon leaving the house, then it would work. And you’re totally overcooking your second point. Beautify your yard; keep your treebox tidy. If you “beautify” something that isn’t yours you can’t expect others to maintain it to your standard of “beauty”.

      • Dog Owners: Giving dog owners a bad name since . . . the domestication of animals.

    • ok…i take my dog to the dog park everyday. But we have to … walk there. And he has to pee on the way there. Also, I do not have the luxury of having my own yard.

    • This is nonsense. Lots of folks don’t have a front yard or a tree box. And how do you suggest telling a dog to “just hold it” until you get to a dog park?

    • Seriously? The nearest dog park is almost a mile from my house. While we do take our dog there frequently, he’s not going to hold it until he gets there.

  • Oh boy, I foresee this post going as smoothly as the “kids at happy hour” or “using cones/lawn chairs to block parking spaces in the snow” posts….

  • Condo. associations love to invest in “Don’t Pee Here” signs for the outside areas – the condo. building across from my house has them posted every 20 feet – so the residents of the condo walk their dogs on my side of the street. Go figure.

  • I’ve got a couple photos of my dog taking a dump on these signs. It’s one of my prize possessions.

  • Are people really defending the right of dogs to pee and poop in planted tree boxes?? Seriously??? First of all, gross. Second of all, it could kill the plants. Third of all, CURB YOUR DOG — that means, train your dog to pee in the gutter. Why is that so difficult?

    • I try to get my dog to pee in the gutter but she’s afraid of heights.

    • All kinds of animals pee and poo outside. Not really gross. Part of life. And legal, as long as I pick up my dog’s poop. Again, it doesn’t matter if it kills plants left on public property. And, considering how dangerous it can be to be in the road with cars, it is impossible to even think about training a dog to pee in a gutter.

      By the way, I can also walk in flower beds in a tree box as I get out of a car or even if I just want to do a jig. I don’t desire to do it and I try to avoid it but private citizens have no right to tell me or my dog what to do on public property or expect that I care about their “polite” suggestion to avoid their personal property left on public property.

      The signs in question are however illegal as they would be classified as a trip hazzard and should be removed or the owners fined the same way I would be if I was caught leaving my dog’s poop behind.

      • you sound like a peach. I bet you argued for the guy who planted stuff on dupont metro..and fail to see the irony.

      • PDleftMtP

        It doesn’t matter if I kill your dog left on public property. You have no right to tell me not to drive my car over it. Fascist.

    • “Second of all, it could kill the plants”
      My dog is better than your plants.


  • Wahhhh? Honestly, the signs are just to try and deter dogs from peeing in the boxes. However, not every dog is going to read the sign and because the sign isn’t enforceable in any way…it’s just meant to ask for courtesy for the pretty plants. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

  • Comments on this site never cease to amaze me. Talk about first world problems.

  • 1. Blah blah blah. All this talk of “you have no right to tell me what to do” is fairly infantile, don’t you think? Regardless of authority, it’s called being a courteous human being not letting your dog defecate in a tree box if someone has taken the time and care to make the tree box look nice. 2. Sometimes you (or your dog) can’t help it, and they go to the bathroom in the tree box. Big deal. 3. Shit happens. Literally. Get over it and move on. Let’s focus on being courteous to/understanding of one another, it’s a two-way street.

    Maybe I’m oversimplifying it, and yes, people are going to be jerks and let their dog pee in a tree box based on the simple fact that there’s a sign (keyword: “jerks”; see point 1.), but really? It’s nature. Do you think drunk people, homeless people and rats aren’t peeing in your tree boxes? Sorry, but I’ve seen it happen on more than just a few occasions.

  • More significant that the violations of the treebox plantings laws is that fact that this is pretty guaranteed to be un-permitted signage. And just like those annoying “We buy any car for cash! Call ___” and “Junk-Bee-Gone!” corrugated plastic signs that I see all over town strapped to light poles (that I always remove and throw in the nearest trash can) and those campaign signs that every candidate is giddy to put on any surface they can get it attached to but never sends anybody out to take them down after the election (if they won or lost – doesn’t seem to matter) that I also take down and throw away after an election is over, I’d take these out and throw them away too. It is, in the most simple of terms, litter.

    Just because you put a wooden stake on it and plant it in the ground does not keep it from being litter. Just because you write a message that is meaningful to you on it does not make it litter. If you want to put this in your own private yard, go ahead and nobody should mess with it. But in public space, it’s actually trash, just the same as a broken microwave that somebody wrote the same text on with a sharpie pen and put in the same spot. Pull them up out of the ground and take them to a trash can and throw them away. Those things don’t look cheap, either, so hopefully after they buy, plant, and lose a few of them they’ll stop.

    I believe wholeheartedly in picking up after dogs. I also believe wholeheartedly in picking up after neighbors who plant signs in public space that don’t belong there.

  • You can argue this all you want, the options are this – dog pees on sidewalk or in the street and it smells like dog pee until it rains or dog pees in yard (possibly your yard if owner doesn’t have one) and kills grass, dog pees in tree box with mulch where the scent is better masked and away from your shoes and grass. I get that some tree boxes are nicer than others and dog owners can do their best to prevent the dog from going into those boxes but the idea that a dog can be trained to go in a gutter (which by the way is a storm drain and that goes back into our drinking water – so worst option really) is silly. I opt for the tree box or my dog does.

  • There are a ton of feral cats on my street. They pee and poop wherever they please (including treeboxes). They do not have owners or people picking up after them. It’s gross but what can you do? Just saying…animals do their biz outside.

  • Lol. My first thought while reading this article was, “Does the OP work for Metro at the Dupont North station?” RIP OUT YOUR ILLEGAL ROSE BUSHES SO DC CAN RETURN TO THE CONCRETE AND PISS JUNGLE IT WAS IN 1995!!

  • It’s also not technically illegal for me to lean up against your car parked on a public street and relax for awhile. But I don’t do it because I’m not an asshole.

    • actually that’s technically vandalism

      • If no damage is done? Citation please. I honestly don’t know the regs on this, but it seems it would be the same as any other item left on public property. Touching it would not be illegal.

  • justinbc

    To anyone who thinks their public “property” is their own to fret over, see the story about the old man whose plants just got ripped out of the Dupont Metro station. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 feet in front of your house or 100, it’s all public land.
    To anyone who thinks your dog might accidentally go when you don’t want them to, you would have had a field day with these bozos:
    And lastly, to anyone who actually gets this upset about a pointless sign that has zero chance of ever being enforced, perhaps you’re the one who’s “backed up” a bit too much. Try some Dulcolax.

  • clevelanddave

    People get shot, cars get broken into, no one comments or seems to care much on here. But man, talk about dogs or cats getting out of line or anything to do with bikes and man, the posts pile up. Welcome to the beautiful friggin’ yuppy life!

  • Dogs wouldn’t poop and pee outside if no dogs existed.

    Ahhhh, sometimes I just let myself daydream about this and it puts a smile on my face.

  • The signs do nothing, except make people want to let their dog in your tree box. The truth is, polite people will keep their dogs out of a manicured tree box. Less polite people will let their dog use it regardless of a sign.

    • Totally agree with this. Especially the sanctimonious ones. Polite ones make me make an extra effort to keep my dog out. Rude, obnoxious ones…less so. By the way, much easier to pick up poop completely from mulch than from grass, so don’t know exactly what the problem is.

  • Water your tree box every night like a responsible neighbor. Then you dont have to worry about the amount of pee.

    Dogs pee in my tree box all the time. Its never hurt any of my plantings.

    Its the bird poop and squirrel pee that I’ve really tried to reduce, but they just dont listen to polite requests.

    • ha, have your dog not piss in my treebox like a responsible neighbor…see what I did there.

  • I have no dog in this fight but I looked up the DC regulations on dogs and found an interesting typo:

    900.7 No person owning, keeping, or having custody of a dog, except a seeing eye dog, shall allow or permit the dog to defecate or urinate on public parking or any sidewalk or in any [sic] and each such person shall immediately remove dog excrement from any curb, gutter, alley or street.

    I wonder what was supposed to come after “in any …”

  • Wow, I can’t believe how trite some people can be. A DC resident takes the time to beautify the space around their living space (even someone who may be a renter and not own that space), and doesn’t want their hundreds of dollars of plants and hours of time and energy to get ruined by some inconsiderate dog owners… Seriously, have you seen other parts of the city where tree boxes exist only as a desolate landscape filled with scraggly grass and weeds that collects garbage? On my street I am the only person on the entire block who has attempted to put a garden of some sort in the treebox (and I am a renter). Neighbors comment on how pretty it is, and I’m hoping it will inspire them to do the same with their treeboxes. I would be pretty bummed to find dog poop with my bare hands as I tend to my garden or dog pee killing my plants after the time, effort, and money I’ve spent to help make my home environment so much nicer. It’s really *not* difficult to have your dog refrain from going to the bathroom in certain spaces – you’ve managed to housetrain your animal from defecating and urinating indoors, I bet you are capable of pulling the leash to bring the dog farther to an appropriate spot (like a designated dog park, of which there are many in walking distance throughout the city). To be whining about “no dogs” signs on treeboxes where people have put precious resources for something that improves quality of life for all residents (not to mention property value when many neighbors collectively beautify the space around their house) is first world problem whining at its finest! If it’s such a problem for you, please, I beg you, move to plenty of other places in the city where treeboxes get no love, and by all means, let your dogs ruin the weeds there.

    • justinbc

      I’m all for beautification, but if you really spend “hundreds of dollars” in a public space and expect that to matter to everyone then you’re a really poor investor. Stick to cheap, low growing, non-invasive plants as the laws dictate and you won’t be so butthurt every time you find a turd.

      • A bag of mulch, some potting soil, flowers (usually at $5-15 a plant), fertilizer…. it adds up quickly, not to mention the energy it takes to keep it going and thriving. If you were truly “all for beautification” as you state you were, you would appreciate that flowers and ornamental plants look better than most “low growing” plants (and you would also realize the true cost of doing a garden, even a low-level one). You also would not judge me for being a “poor investor”. That said, it’s certainly easy for me to judge you when you leave dog turds anywhere, let alone in a flower bed. That’s just low class all around.

        • justinbc

          They absolutely do look better. That’s why I plant them in my yard, not on the public property. That area I realize will be used as a public restroom for animals of all types, so I use cheap annuals to fill it each season. I would never spent $15 per plant to fill something that will knowingly be destroyed.

    • Sorry but the first world problem is spending money to install private property on public space and then expecting the world to treat it differently than the next public space. If you left a block of gold in the tree box, would you expect it to be there the next day? This whole idea of the “use next tree box” is not a solution. Dogs may wait a few extra yards but they will eventually go either in the next planted tree box or on the sidewalk. There are blocks where most if not all of the tree boxes are planted. If you want to garden, do so on private property or if you do so on public property, except the consequences. Be realistic and understand what public space are for. Tree boxes are for trees. It is great to add beauty to them but you do so at your own risk.

      • Several things to say to this: As someone who made a living in DC once-upon-a-time as a professional dogwalker, when I would often have 4 dogs with me of varying size at the same time, I know dogs can’t always hold it. However, most of the time they can. It’s up to the person with the leash to generally let a dog stop or not stop at an appropriate spot. I would NEVER stop my dogs at a treebox where there was landscaping done. There was just no need for it, and I deemed it quite rude. Plus, it’s a helluva lot easier to pick up dog poo when it’s on bare ground rather than pulling it out of plants.
        Secondly, I am not unrealistic. I know I live in a city, I know I am planting on public property, and I know it can’t be protected from inconsiderate a-holes (even my private property is subject to those same inconsiderate a-holes). However, I would like to think that people have a shred of common decency to their fellow neighbors, and to be honest, I am rarely proven wrong. My original post was that I can’t believe people are actually whining about other people asking them to be more considerate.
        Finally, “Tree boxes are for trees.” – what if your treebox has nothing in it, as mine did? Every treebox doesn’t have a tree in it. In fact, most do not, and sit as a repository of trash that gets stuck in scraggly grass. So the drive to beautify the space around where I live is strong, and it seems that many of my immediate neighbors appreciate it as well. I *have* done so at my own risk (and I have not placed a “no dogs” sign, or any sign for that matter), and when not-so-important things were stolen from me (from both personal property and that which is deemed public space), I just bit my tongue and thought, “well, that’s city living!”. This is all concerning common courtesy, of which is seems many people on this forum here particularly lack the ability to understand.

        • I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head. What the problem here is just lack of common courtesy. Make all the excuses you want, DogWalker, but you indeed lack any common courtesy for your neighbors.

        • justinbc

          Call the city and they’ll come place a tree there for you. (I know you’ve already planted things, but let your neighbors know.)

          Oh and I do agree with you that it’s ridiculous of people to complain to this degree about people asking them not to let their dogs poop, but it’s also nothing new around here.

      • You sound like you aren’t responsible enough to own a dog in the city, perhaps walk your dog before her bladder is bulging. It also sounds like you think all public land should literally be a “sh*thole” . Seriously, use that moral compass in your soul and navigate your dogs to tree boxes that don’t look like the owner would mind. If none exist, use a sliding scale-money + time = x…then have your dog pee in x-1 and so forth.

        I still think you’re trolling, any decent smart human can respect property, public or otherwise if it looks like others have spent time and effort on it.

        If a legit concern of yours-I’m at a loss. You sound entitled.

        • +1 on both not waiting until your dog’s bladder is bursting to walk her, as well as the entitlement and trolling!

          • If someone insisted on using public space only as they see fit regardless of what others wanted, would you describe that as entitlement?

          • If someone insisted on letting their dog use a child’s play area as a toilet instead of a nearby dog run, would you consider that entitlement?

        • No, it is up to those who don’t want dogs peeing and pooping on public property to find appropriate solutions, such as planting more grass or putting down more mulch on streets for dogs to use. Your issue is with the city for making it so there are so few places for dogs to go to the bathroom that dogs have to resort to using tree boxes. Focus your anger in the right direction. This isn’t an issue in Arlington or Silver Spring, where sidewalks almost always have grass nearby.

        • I don’t know what trolling is so I don’t know if I am guilty of that. Also, I believe I am a very responsible dog owner. I give my dogs long walks several times a day. One always pees right away and the other pees multiple times thoughout the walk. I always, always pick up the poop and often pick up dog poop that I see left behind by others. I spend a lot of time working in my front and back garden and have planted grasses and some basic flowers in my tree box understanding that I may have to replace things that die due to being trampled, peed on or just not suitable for the location. I also do try to avoid tree boxes that have been planted excessively and where it would likely cause damage to walk through. I even try to discourage my dogs from peeing on those flowers when possible. My point is that I am tired of the attitude that I must do that and that I am due scornful looks and being chastised because my dogs do what they are allowed to do when that have to do it, particularly when they are on streets where every tree box is planted. And to put up illegal signs to dissuade legal behavior seems ironic. There are laws regarding removal of dog feeces but there are also laws about what can be legally placed in and around a treebox. Where is the outrage over those violations? I mean I have seen one tree box with vegetables growing in it and they have of course posted a sign that says no peeing. Talk about living in a fantasy.

          • You’re asking people to be “outraged” for there being plants and flowers (and god forbid, vegetables!) so that it’s at the same level of outrage about animal feces and urination killing things that someone took the time and resources to cultivate for all to enjoy. Take a moment to stop and absorb this thought. Does anyone else see the crazy logic here, or is it just me “living in a fantasy”?!

          • @Anon, no, he’s asking people to realize that one of those behaviors (planting vegetables in a treebox) is actually illegal, while the other (dog peeing) is not.

  • I just don’t put much effort in the tree boxes for this reason. Dirt around the tree looks ok to me, and on a good year I put some mulch. Same goes for grass next to the tree box on the street side of the sidewalk. I cut it when I get to it.


  • I was recently in Paris. Parts of it smell like piss. Why? Because there is no grass, trees or anything absorbent on most streets. Dogs and homeless people who pee in the gutter make those areas smell like piss. Only a good rain can wash that way, whereas peeing on mulch or grass absorbs into the soil.

    The idea that having dogs pee on concrete streets or sidewalks would be the ideal solution to this is idiotic. The problem is there aren’t enough places for dogs to pee on normal street walks in DC. Trees boxes with mulch are probably the best places for them to pee right now. A good shade tree is what most streets need anyway, not tree boxes with plants in various states of being tended to.

    You have to look at this logically. Where should dogs pee and poop? In the street? Held over garbage cans? On buses? Until more DC streets get more grass and mulch along their sidewalks, I don’t see why we would want pet owners not to use tree boxes. No one has presented a reasonable alternative.

    • I don’t think you’ve actually read much of the thread. The general consensus is *not* that tree boxes can never be used for dogs to pee in. It’s that if that particular tree box is loaded up with flowers and ornamental plants (and definitely if it has edible plants in it), it is just simple common courtesy to find a more suitable spot than that box if at all possible (and extremely rare is the case when it’s not possible). It’s not a difficult concept at all, and I’m really baffled as to why this is so hard to grasp. If there is a street that seems to have a lot of extensively landscaped boxes, you’re only one block away from a street that likely has better alternatives, like a tree box with mulch and not much else.

      And yes, I’d love to see how a dog shall poop on a bus, since you suggested it.

      • It is illegal to plant vegetable gardens in tree boxes.

        • It’s also illegal not to pick up your dog’s poop, and yet plenty of people break that law too, presumably causing potentially more serious harm. We could spend all day focusing on things that are illegal. Why don’t we spend some time figuring out ways to be courteous and get along instead?

        • Wow, DogWalker seems REALLY focused on the illegality of vegetables in treeboxes, since s/he has brought it up several times now. Who knew someone planting food on public space would tick someone else off so much?!
          Of all of the things to get your knickers in a bunch about, I’m just impressed that manicured treeboxes is one of them. Last time I checked, DC still suffered from much more serious crimes (and at a considerable rate) that need this kind of passion and attention to help fix…

  • Where do y’all live that these tree boxes are that well manicured? Most of the ones on my street are full of weeds. Dog pee doesn’t hurt weeds.

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