August 17, 2020 /
Jona Elwell

An Update on PEPCO’s Green Wall

Five years ago our awesome neighbor and dedicated volunteer Astrid and Shani proposed that a green vine wall be planted at the PEPCO substation on 12th street between Jackson and Irving Street. Why? Well – the area was unsightly, hot, barren and mostly concrete. We approached our good friend Donna Cooper at PEPCO, and after a few years of negotiations, PEPCO graciously agreed to fund the effort, and three years later the planter boxes and vine trellis were installed, and the vines planted. 

As you can see from the before and after photos, a few vines go a long way! The area is now greener, cooler, less noisy and far more desirable than before – all due to the hard work of committed neighbors, a willing corporate partner, and – our intrepid board member and attorney Charles Flickinger – who spearheaded the work on all the documentation required! For more insider information on PEPCO’s Green Wall check out the Brookland Bridge blog.


Other than our treasured partnership with neighbors and PEPCO, what is the real stand-out lesson from this? The importance of continued maintenance. It is not realistic to plant a tree, give it a pat on its leafy head, then sit back and relax without providing follow-up care. After all, they are expected to establish in a sometimes harsh urban environment. The gains from long term planning and care are practically priceless and in fact, in the long run it can oftentimes be more costly to not maintain trees and landscapes.

So what’s a homeowner to do? Show your tree a little TLC. As Shani shows in the ‘after’ photos above, plants aren’t exactly a “set it and forget it” type of thing. They need just a bit of watering, mulching, weeding, and protection. Provide those few things every so often and you’ll be well on your way to reaping the larger benefits for years to come. 

Want to add some greenery to your yard or neighborhood this summer? Have some concerns about a tree in your yard? We’ll get you all set up, just give one of our arborists a call at 202-833-4010.