National experts in trees and urban landscape walk Mass Ave to evaluate the trees and advise on our projects. We pass on this knowledge to the community through our education and outreach.
T. Davis Sydnor and Jim Urban, our principal advisors, have decades of practical experience with city trees and steps that government, business and citizens can take to “green” the nation’s cities.
Key findings relating to the front yards of Mass Ave
Experts agree that trees tend to grow taller with broader crowns in open areas where the roots can spread unhindered in good soil.* Didn’t we know this? Haven’t we seen fine old trees that thrive for eons in open land? Check out the huge trees on the National Mall, the US Capitol Grounds, or in Central Park in New York City.
Mass Ave has generous, 40-foot deep yards between the sidewalk and buildiing façades. These are not individually owned but a continuous strip of public land, known in city lingo as “the parking. “ They were created as open “park” when the avenue was built, to accommodate a second row of trees and to buffer people in the buildings from the noise and pollution of the street. Many of the lindens planted in the parking >100 years ago enjoyed long lives. You can see how well they were growing in 1913. Some of these giants still stand.
Through trees added on our Planting Days, Restore Mass Ave is rebuilding this second row. Planting a second line of big trees will double the shade of the street trees. Trees in the yards will grow larger than street trees. They’ll
- absorb water from storms, lessening flow across pavement and drain backup
- absorb more pollution, helping DC meet federal air quality standards
- emit oxygen and keep the air cooler at ground level, for healthier air
- absorb carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas in global warming
Bottom line: Embassy Row’s common civic space will be more improved – and Washington made greener– if major trees are planted in its open areas.