Three enormous trees rolled along Wisconsin Avenue this winter to their new home, and Wetland Studies and Solutions is happy to report that they are doing well! Our Tree Preservation Specialists began planning more than a year before the tree relocations, working with the design, construction, transplant and maintenance teams in conjunction with DC staff to ensure the trees thrive. A Heritage-sized willow oak, a Heritage-sized pin oak, and a Special-sized northern red oak were displaced by multi-use redevelopment of the former Fannie Mae site at 3900 Wisconsin Avenue in NW DC. City Ridge’s developer was faced with DC’s 2016 updates to urban forestry preservation regulations requiring all non-government projects to save Heritage Trees (100” or more trunk circumference) and Special Trees (44-99.9” circumference) in place or relocate them to a “safe” spot. The trees must also be successfully maintained for 3 years or face a hefty fine. This is the first developer under the new law to have plans and permits approved and move the trees.

Planning Ahead Is Critical: DC’s regulations require that a tree transplant candidate be root pruned (cutting off approximately 80% of the roots), then watered and nurtured for at least a year to make sure it is capable of withstanding the shock.

Read more about DC’s Heritage Tree regulation in our January 31, 2019 Field Notes article.

If you are developing projects in Washington, DC with mature trees, Wetland Studies and Solutions Urban Forestry team can help you identify Heritage Trees and Special Trees, and assess whether transplanting such trees is a viable solution on your site. For more information, please reach out to the contacts below.


  • Cene Ketcham

    Millersville, MD