THE LEAFLET

February 5, 2024 /
Christina Hester

Phenology February

Welcome back to Phenology February! Our first official week of voting kicks off this week – scroll down for complete Phenology February Bracket and vote on tree matchups!

In case you missed us last week – Casey Trees has created our very own bracket to determine the best tree. Well, the subjective best tree based on our voters’ opinions! Round 1 consisted of 4 “play-in” games for our staff to vote on, and let’s just say there were some strong opinions amongst our urban forestry professionals. Let’s get into it.

The Arborvitae vs. Cryptomeria duel was one of contrasting aesthetics. Cryptomeria, with its graceful, feathery foliage, triumphed over Arborvitae. Staff members remarked that, “Cryptomeria grow faster and are an elegant foreign tree species to use as a green screen” and “looks way cooler as it grows, depending on the variety it can widen and be pruned for clearance to sit under.” The Cryptomeria’s unique appearance and resilience captivated our staff, paving the way for its ascent in the Phenology February tournament.

In the Yoshino cherry vs. Okame cherry faceoff, it was Yoshino that emerged victorious, showcasing itself as a strong tree with delicate beauty. Many staff members shared that Yoshino cherry trees are sturdier and hardier for urban environments than its competitor the Okame cherry. In the end, the Yoshino cherry’s beauty and strength secured its spot in the next round, leaving Okame enthusiasts with a bittersweet taste of defeat.

In the Hop-Hornbeam vs. American Hornbeam matchup, American Hornbeam emerged as the winner, impressing the judges with its distinctive muscle-like bark and vibrant fall colors. The Hop-Hornbeam, while resilient and tough, couldn’t outshine the charm and versatility of its similarly named counterpart.

The battle between Swamp White Oak and White Oak was a clash of titans, but in the end, Swamp White Oak prevailed. Its adaptability to a variety of soils and climates, coupled with its striking fall foliage, earned it a well-deserved advancement in the competition. White Oak, known for its strength and longevity, put up a valiant fight but ultimately succumbed to the swampy underdog.

Finally, a shoutout to our honorable mentions who didn’t quite make the cut for this year’s bracket:

Ginkgo

While the love for trees knows no bounds, sometimes tough decisions must be made. In the case of Phenology February, the notably resilient and iconic Ginkgo tree unfortunately misses the chance to participate in the arboreal showdown this year. Why? Not because of any lack of admiration, but rather because our organization has a penchant for planting a diverse array of trees, and Ginkgo trees have been elusive in our planting endeavors.

American Beech 

Found all over DC, the American Beech stands tall, admired for its elegance and ecological significance. However, in this year’s Phenology February, the resilient American Beech won’t be stepping into the arboreal arena. Regrettably, the ominous threat of beech leaf disease has loomed over these majestic trees, and our organization, with a keen eye on conservation, has refrained from planting them extensively.

Phenology February marches on, and the excitement is reaching new heights as Round 2 voting is officially open! It’s time for tree enthusiasts and greenery aficionados alike to make their voices heard and champion their favorite contenders in this leafy showdown.

The power is in your hands! Cast your votes using the form below and be a part of this thrilling journey. Stay tuned as we tally the votes and reveal which trees will advance to the next stage of Phenology February. Remember –  You can also download the bracket and get creative – start an office pool, challenge a friend, or play in any number of ways! The competition is fierce, but with your votes, we’ll unveil the ultimate arboreal champion.