We are thrilled to introduce our new Director of Tree Planting, Robert Shaut! As Tree Planting Director, Robert will oversee our planting efforts including Community Tree Plantings, Residential plantings, and so much more! As you can tell from the photo from our first Community Tree Planting of the spring season, he dove right in! If you see him at any future plantings or events, introduce yourself and welcome him to our great Casey Trees family. We asked him a few questions to get to know him a bit better:
Casey Trees (CT): Welcome to Casey Trees! Tell us, who is Robert Shaut?
Robert Shaut (RS): I am very excited to be a part of the Casey Trees team! I grew up in Glen Echo, Maryland spending my summer days on the Potomac River. I am an alum of Clemson University and continued my education at Longwood Gardens and The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. I previously worked as a garden designer and project manager in the private sector.
CT: What drew you to Casey Trees?
RS: The opportunity to collaborate with local communities in my home-city was extraordinarily appealing to me. I have been designing gardens and planting trees for years, but I was really drawn by the ability to translate those skills into projects that positively impact the community.
CT: What are you most looking forward to working at Casey Trees?
RS: Adding thousands of trees each year to the City of Trees. The benefit that will have on the city is more intrinsically motivating than any extrinsic reward.
CT: How did you get interested in the urban forestry and/or arboriculture world?
RS: I became fascinated with trees at a young age. I spent my summers at Valley Mill Camp, an outdoor camp, located in the Poolesville woodlands where I would climb trees and build shelters from fallen limbs. In my professional experience, trees have always played a pivotal role in design and implementation as they are the foundation, and often the focal point, on which gardens are built.
CT: What is your favorite weekend D.C. spot?
RS: Ironically, my favorite activity is getting out of the city and going upriver to spend time hiking, kayaking, climbing, or playing sports.
CT: If you were a sandwich what kind would you be?
RS: If I were to EAT a sandwich today I’d have a pita with lamb or falafel with fresh garden vegetables and hummus.
CT: What’s the number one thing people need to know about planting a tree?
RS: It is imperative to plant the root flare at or slightly above the soil level. Secondly, trees are very thirsty during their establishment years and need 25 gallons per week in the growing season.
CT: Forever and always – do you have a favorite tree?
RS: The Eastern redbud (Cercis canadencis) is my favorite small canopy tree. It is in the Fabaceae Family (Pea Family) and the flowers are edible, tasty, and high in Vitamin C. My favorite large canopy tree is the American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). I have some great memories of building rope swings from Sycamore branches on the banks of the Potomac River.