Trees Need Water in this Heat (and always) and Now There’s an App for That

by Prince Of Petworth June 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm 24 Comments

From the Mayor’s office:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser launched the new DC Tree Watering Application during her Ward 6 community walk. The event, which featured a demonstration of the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) innovative new app, highlighted the value of and need for community assistance in keeping newly planted trees hydrated.

The Mayor was joined at the launch by DDOT Deputy Director Jeff Marootian, DDOT’s Urban Forestry Division (UFD) team, and members of the community.

“We are committed to embracing smart technology across city government, and with the launch of the new DC Tree Watering App we are encouraging all District residents to help support our urban forestry,” said Mayor Bowser. “This past planting season, as part of DC’s commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment, we planted 8,200 new trees throughout the city. Now, we want to see them flourish and we invite everyone to help. Watering is the easiest and most affordable way for residents to help, and this app will allow us to coordinate our efforts.”

Through the DC Tree Watering App, users can locate trees in all eight wards that need watering, tag trees they water, and upload photos of the trees being watered. In addition, users can report trees in need of care (e.g. a tree has a beehive), and the UFD will review all reports to determine the best means of care for each tree. The app also includes a story map with information about tree species found throughout Washington, DC.

The District maintains more than 215,000 trees throughout the city. During the last tree planting season (October 2016 through April 2017), the city planted 8,200 trees, increasing urban tree canopy coverage of the District to 38.7 percent.

The launch of the app is part of Back to Basics DC, a multi-week celebration of the day-to-day work that keeps Washington, DC moving forward. Follow Back to Basics DC on social media using #backtobasicsDC.

Residents can find the app at treewatering.ddot.dc.gov/treewatering, and visit ddot.dc.gov to learn more about the District’s urban forestry.”

  • dc_wanderlust

    is there an app to report broken glass, chicken wings and trash on sidewalks? the filth on the sidewalks in columbia heights is out of control. i’ve also seen people routinely throw trash out of their parked or moving car on the streets. would be great to get some extra enforcement on littering.

    • LCinDC

      Add Eckington to that. It would crash upon release.

    • 16th St Heights

      Yes it is called 311…or you can organize block clean-ups and get grant funding from ANCs. I understand it is extremely frustrating to see trash in your neighborhood, but I have found that making an effort to clean it up as a neighborhood goes a long way, both in beautifying the area and abatement of bad behavior.

    • Rach

      There is a 311 app, you can report locations for “sanitation enforcement” , illegal dumping, alley cleaning etc. You can also tweet things like that to @311DCgov, @DCDGS, and @DCDPW which I’ve found to be really effective.

    • MadMax

      The app is called Zillow. Get your $#!%%& neighbors to sell their homes and move out.

    • enough_is_enough

      No kidding. I walk my dog routinely around the H street area and am amazed at the trash. Nothing worse than trying to stop my pooch from licking rubber gloves or condom wrappers that are laying around. Apparently having a trash can on most corners does no good. I routinely see kids and adults just throw trash on the ground.

      We need to educate people to stop littering. Furthermore, the folks that are required to empty the trash cans or sweep the streets (H Street BID) need to make an effort. I routinely watch them push their rolling trash cans down the street in the morning and bypass large bags and trash laying in the street and sidewalk. The trucks that empty the cans at night spill half of the contents on the ground most times.

      I have no problem picking up trash around my block, but I’d like to know what our street sweepers are doing? I routinely submit requests on 311, and they routinely get closed without a sweeper coming anywhere near my neighborhood.

      Please, can we use some of our tax dollars to keep our city clean??? I’m all about “affordable housing”, but I’d like some basic city services as well.

    • textdoc

      “is there an app to report broken glass, chicken wings and trash on sidewalks?” Homeowners are responsible for keeping their sidewalks and treebox areas free of litter (and for keeping grass/weeds trimmed). If your neighbors are allowing litter to accumulate in public space (sidewalk, treebox, or alley), you can report them to DPW via 311, category Sanitation Enforcement.

  • KPS

    This is genius! A very smart move, and I’ll happily participate.

    • Itsuo

      Me too! This is very cool. Does anyone know how to use those green bags around the bottom of starter trees? Just water inside of them, or is there a cavity within it that we should fill?

      • brian

        There is a cavity that you fill and then small drip holes in the bottom allow water to slowly leech out. Sadly, alot of them get shredded by weed-eaters, etc and so the water just rushes out defeating the purpose.

        • Itsuo

          Thanks! I’ll at least try filling it first. Worst case scenario it all just goes to the soil.

      • also anon

        FYI the cavity is a small slit on the top that can be kind of hard to find at first. Also it holds A LOT of water so you’ll want to use a hose if you have one available or else you’ll be make a bunch of trips with a watering can. When it’s super hot you might need to fill it up every other day or so. It will be removed after a year I think?

    • navyard

      Love the concept, but i’m not sure where the data comes from. Most of the trees on my block are listed as being planted in 1969. I don’t think that’s likely because I saw the majority of those trees being planted less than 5 years ago. There is one that was there when I moved in, but it was pretty small at that time.

      Also, how do they know when it was last watered? Is this just when it was last reported watered?

      • RyanD

        I suspect 1969 means “unknown” and that particular date is a coding thing. (In computers time is often represented as a number. One common system uses the number the represent the “number of seconds since epoch”, which places time 0 at Jan 1, 1970 UTC — which is Dec 31, 1969 for EST.)

  • MadMax

    Cool, so not only do I have to cut the city’s grass for them, I now have to water their trees.

    • Anonymous

      Not true. You can just sit back and complain without doing those things. You can also request that they rip out the grass and trees and replace it with something that doesn’t require constant maintenance, like concrete.

      • Patrick Division

        Is this true? Because I’m sick and tired of picking up/mowing over dog shit left by the pack of self-absorbed assholes who won’t clean up after their animals. I’d much prefer a common area made of concrete or asphalt.

        • JohnH

          If they aren’t picking up their dog poo in the grass, you’d rather it be sitting on concrete?
          There are too many people with dogs in this city….that only want a pet to say they have a dog. They don’t take them on adequate walks, which is part of being a dog owner. A golden retriever is not meant to be locked inside all day and then taken on a 90 second “walk” to have them poo on a concrete sidewalk. And that includes when it’s below 60 degrees.

      • textdoc

        “You can also request that they rip out the grass and trees and replace it with something that doesn’t require constant maintenance, like concrete.” I don’t think that’s accurate, especially since the city is trying to decrease water runoff by having less impermeable surface area and more permeable surface area.

  • Jakeondc

    This is an amazing app… Tree’s planted in the 2800 block of 15th Street NW always perish as the Church, and Mexican and Spanish Embassy’s don’t water them.. This portion of 15th is all designated Embassy parking restrictions yet they do little to maintain the streetscape including picking up trash and watering tree’s.

  • textdoc

    The app doesn’t just tell you which trees are in need of watering — it also tells you what kind of trees ALL of the street trees are. Very interesting.
    This reminds me that I need to contact Urban Forestry and ask them why the heck they’re still planting golden raintrees, which are a freaking MENACE of a tree and which many states consider an invasive species. (They drop seedpods that readily sprout volunteer seedlings, and clearing away the seedpods without breaking them basically requires picking them up individually by hand.)

  • also anon

    Because of this post I tried watering the tree in front of my house last night but the dirt is so compacted that the water basically just runs off into the street. Other than mulch around the tree what can I do? The app also has directions to fill the water bag but my tree has no water bag. I used to fill the water bag last summer but it has since been removed.

    • textdoc

      Try contacting DDOT Urban Forestry and asking them if they can install a new water bag on the tree.

  • Jane

    Who is responsible for the trees around RFK campus /Anacostia Riverwalk Trail?? I know the city rents from NPS so who is responsible. They are very unhealthy and have lots of large and dangerous branches that need to be pruned.


Subscribe to our mailing list