Regional Tree Census
& Regional Tree Initiative
4100 IL Rt. 53
Lisle, IL 60532
Email us at:
Your Ash Tree
The Morton Arboretum has recently produced a guide to assist the homeowner with management of emerald ash borer on their property. To receive hard copies of this brochure please contact the Community Trees Program at
Emerald Ash Borer
& Your Community
The Morton Arboretum has also recently produced a guide for municipalities, park districts and those tasked with managing lands describing options to managing Emerald Ash Borer. For an electronic copy of this brochure contact communitytrees@
The Morton Arboretum Plant Clinic
TMA Plant Health Care Report
US Dept. of Agriculture invasive species info -
The Illinois Department of Agriculture
Illinois Arborist Association
The Arbor Day
The Alliance for Community Trees
Greening of vacant lots makes residents feel safer.
A study conducted by Eugenia C. Garvin, MD, revealed that modifications to vacant lots may improve behavior. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society selected vacant lots, removed debris, planted trees and grass and committed to maintain the areas. A survey given to residents living near those sites showed that after the sites were made "green"they felt safer in their neighborhood.
The study is continuing to look at whether proximity to these sites is leading to an interest in walking and possibly a healthier lifestyle.
For more on this study visit the link below.
Trees and Impervious Cover in the United States
An interesting study reported in Landscape and Urban Planning, looks at percent tree canopy and impervious surface cover in the United States. It points out that in the grassland states, tree cover is significantly higher in the urban areas than in the rural areas.
Planning and management activities are important when considering percentage of impervious cover to tree cover and the infrastructure benefits trees can provide. For more on this article go to:
U.S. Forest Service
Seattle Grows a Food Forest
The city of Seattle has set aside a seven-acre site for the construction of a public food forest. Much of the installation was conducted by volunteers and volunteers will also maintain the Food Forest once the trees have been installed. It is called the Beacon Food Forest and was designed by Margarett Harrison. It is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Anyone who wants to pick and eat the food provided by the many different fruit species is free to do so. A very interesting concept!
Loss of Oaks - a Restoration Opportunity in California Too.
A study published in Restoration Ecology, 2011, Vol. 19, No. 101, by Alison Whippel, et al, entitled Shifting Baseline in a California Oak Savanna: Ninteenth Century Data to Inform Restoration Scenarios, shares a common thread with the Chicago region and our oak populations. Historical data collected in the mid-1800s is mapped against existing oak populations. The authors identify restoration and planting opportunities to reestablish oaks in areas now densely populated to improve habitat and connectivity.
Fall is a great time for tree planting and involving your community.
Check out the resources available and enter your
- Utility species list
- Street tree species list
- More $ for EAB restoration
- Tree ordinance templates
- Building community stewardship for trees
The Community Trees Program at The Morton Arboretum is happy to welcome you to the first edition of Community Trees News. Through this newsletter, we seek to bring to you information that will be helpful to you in a short, to-the-point format as you work to protect and improve the vitality of the community forest.
Trees are a Community Asset
On average, more than half of the tree cover in a community is owned and managed by private property owners. The remaining trees are managed by the municipality, park district, township or other governmental entity. According to interviews conducted by the Community Trees Program, in most communities, trees located on private properties are not included in community ordinances. However, these urban trees, because of their quantity, likely define the community. When reviewing community websites in the Chicago region, communities often describe themselves as "forested," "tree lined streets," "wooded lots" or in other forestry-related terms that identify the significance of trees within the community. Forestry staff have stated that most elected officials are very supportive of trees in their community and believe that trees are an important asset. It is important for community forestry managers (for example, public works, community development, forestry departments, etc.) to consider how they might provide outreach and education to their residents to protect and enhance the majority of the trees that make up the COMMUNITY FOREST.
The value of trees has been confirmed in Community Trees Program interviews and in a study conducted in 2004 in which 83 percent of the respondents stated that trees are important to quality of life (Lohr, et al. 2004). Other studies have shown that tree cover in residential areas has been shown to increase home sale prices, shopping in commercial districts, sense of place and peace, and a number of environmental benefits. Overall, trees provide significant benefits to communities.
The Regional Tree Census conducted by The Morton Arboretum estimated the structural compensatory value of the Chicagoland urban forest at $51.2 billion. This is a significant resource that deserves our attention and support.
Trees are a community asset not limited to public or private ownership. They are observed in many settings throughout the community and often without reference to who owns or maintains them. To assist your residents in understanding the value of trees, we have included in this newsletter several articles which may be included in your local newsletters, websites or other communications pieces. We have also provided you with access to our recently published resident's guide on emerald ash borer, a municipal guide on emerald ash borer and a number of other resources.
We here at the Community Trees Program know that you are stretched to your limit with staff and funding reductions. Our goal is to help you meet the needs of your community in protecting one of your community's most important assets, COMMUNITY FOREST.
Please feel free to contact us at anytime to provide direction or to ask for support. We look forward to learning from you how best to help you as you work to keep our COMMUNITY FOREST strong.
The Regional Tree Census
The Morton Arboretum conducted a regionwide survey to determine the state of our regional forest. The results of this survey will serve to inform our actions to support and protect our regional forest. The following is a very brief snapshot of the soon to be released survey.
The staff surveyed 1,331 plots laid out on a randomized grid over the 7 county area.
- Cook County (excluding Chicago): 203 plots
- DuPage County: 192 plots,
- Kane County: 184 plots,
- Kendall County: 187 plots,
- Lake County: 188 plots,
- McHenry County: 188 plots,
- Will County: 189 plots.
The plots were distributed among different land uses, for example residential, agricultural, open space or commercial/transportation/institutional (CTI), and were added to a tree census conducted in Chicago in 2007.
Field data was collected during the "leaf-on" season in order to properly assess the tree canopy. Within each plot, data included land use; ground and tree cover; shrub characteristics and individual tree attributes of species; stem diameter at breast height; tree height; height to base of live crown; crown width; percentage of crown canopy missing and die-back; and distance and direction to residential buildings. Trees included in the census were any woody plants with a stem diameter greater than 1 inch.
i-Tree Eco methods were used to determine the environmental contributions of the tree species. (To learn more about the i-Tree Eco methods visit: http://nrs.fs.fed.us/tools/ufore/, www.itreetools.org or http://www.ufore.org.)
The Regional Tree Census concluded that the Chicago region has an estimated 157,142,000 trees. Tree and shrub cover is estimated to be 21 percent. The ten most common species account for 59.0 percent of all trees (figure 2).
The highest density of trees occurs in open space (134.2 trees/acre), followed by residential (69.3 trees/acre) and CTI land (42.5 trees/acre). The highest total leaf area is in residential (46.6%) and open space (40.3%). (Leaf area index is a one-sided measure of leaf surface area.) Trees with a stem diameter less than 6 inches account for 73.3% of the tree population. Trees that have diameters greater than 18 inches account for 4.8% of the tree population but comprise 32.7% of the total leaf area. Leaf area has a strong correlation with benefits that the trees produce for the ecosystem, such as pollution removal.
Finally, the structural compensatory value of the Chicago regional forest is $51.2 billion, with annual functional values of $14 million for carbon sequestration; $205 million for pollution removal; and $4 million for reduced energy costs. The Regional Tree Census will be posted on The Morton Arboretum website in the next few months. We will let you know in an upcoming newsletter when the census results are available.
Figure 1: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning;
Figures 2 and 3: The Morton Arboretum Regional Tree Census
The Regional Trees Initiative
The Morton Arboretum is leading a Regional Trees Initiative (RTI) to develop and implement a strategy to improve the vitality and sustainability of the region's trees. Based on the results of the Regional Tree Census, the RTI will establish a coalition of regional stakeholders from throughout the region to utilize and build on existing knowledge of the region's trees. The result will be the development of a meaningful strategy to protect and enhance the regional forest.
The vision of the RTI is to, within five years, understand the region's tree population, identify and enact collaborative management strategies, and establish a 2040 goal for the population that is underway, with interim actions understood and subscribed to by all partners. The desired outcome, after five years, is measurable improvements in the health and vitality of the region's trees with specific measures and targets for one - and five - year goals.
The key collaborator with the Arboretum in this initiative is Openlands. Openlands is an organization that "protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives." Other partners include the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the United States Forest Service, Metropolitan Mayor's Caucus, Chicago Wilderness, professional associations, the forestry industry, and local governmental entities. Committees have been formed to identify key forestry issues in research, policy, advocacy, communications, green infrastructure, stewardship and tree planting, industry and associations. Committees will be meeting over the next year to define the scope and action needs of the Regional Trees Initiative.
For more on the Regional Trees Initiative visit: (website coming soon)
or call: Lydia Scott, Community Trees Program Manager 630-719-2425
Photo Source: Georgia Forestry Commission
Chemical Insecticide Treatment
for Emerald Ash Borer
How many times have you heard the comments, "those chemical treatments for emerald ash borer don't work" or "those treatments are too expensive"? These common statements have worked their way into the doubting minds of millions. Contrary to these beliefs, chemical treatments, when used appropriately, can be cost effective and can have a tremendous effect on the susceptibility of a tree to emerald ash borer damage.
Several studies from 2004 to 2012 have reiterated this point with scientific evidence that even specific chemicals have been proven to prevent 99 percent of larval development in study trees (Smitley, Doccola, & Cox, 2010). As research continues, more chemicals and better recommendations progressively increase the effectiveness of chemicals as a successful treatment option for delaying or slowing the spread of emerald ash borer. It is still important to understand that chemical treatments are not a silver bullet, nor do they work effectively on every ash tree. But through considerate choices and early application, chemical treatment can be an effective option in the battle of emerald ash borer.
For more information on chemical treatments please refer to the following references:
EAB Homeowner Guide
Photo Source: www.naturalwaylawn.com
Arbor Day 2013
Mark your calendars: Friday, April 26, 2013, is Arbor Day in Illinois. It's never too early to start planning ahead for Arbor Day! The Community Trees staff is already reviewing strategy, checking resources and stocking tree tagging kits.
Due to such a fantastic response in 2012, the Community Trees Program will once again offer Tree Tagging Kits to municipalities, educators and Arbor Day enthusiasts all over the Chicago region. Kits come in three sizes and will be available for purchase on The Morton Arboretum website in the spring.
Celebrating Arbor Day is a great way to build community involvement and understanding of our urban forest. It also helps you meet your Tree City USA requirements! If you need some new ideas to spruce up your current Arbor Day celebration, check out our resource page at The Morton Arboretum.
One child-friendly activity for Arbor Day is seed planting. However, unless you plan ahead, it is difficult to have tree seeds on hand in April for your event. If you take some time this fall, you can put away your own stash of acorns sorry, squirrels! For more information and tips for success, visit this USFS publication: ACORNS
Photo Source: The Morton Arboretum
Articles With Help For Your Residents:
The following articles are provided to assist you in reaching out to your constituents - private property owners - in helping them manage their trees. Please consider placing these articles on your website, newsletter or other outreach materials.
What Tree Where?
1. Does the location where you wish to plant a tree have full sun or shade? If the area is shady, consider an "understory" tree. These trees like to grow under the canopy of larger trees. These trees also often have interesting characteristics like spring blooms, good fall color, interesting seed heads, etc. Select a tree appropriate for those light conditions. If your area has full sun, you are likely to have a larger selection of trees to choose from. However, take care to note the mature size of the tree you select.
2. What is the moisture content of the soil? Does the location where you wish to plant a tree have wet or dry soil? Is it wet in the spring and then dry the rest of the summer or does it hold water all year long? Individual species of trees have specific moisture requirements. Select a tree that is appropriate for the moisture in the location where you wish to plant. Visit The Morton Arboretum soil science web page.
3. What kind of soils do you have? Heavy clay soils are very dense and do not drain well. Gravelly or sandy soils allow water to flow through. Different trees have different soil requirements. Be sure to find out what types of soils are common in your area (your local forester will know). Then match the tree to the soil conditions. Soil amendments are not always effective. It is best to start with a tree that thrives in the conditions it is planted in.
4. Is the tree close to utilities or other structures? Be sure to consider the mature size of the tree you wish to plant. If you wish to plant it under utility lines make sure that it will not grow beyond the limits of the lines. Select a tree that is short in stature at mature height so that it will not conflict with overhead utilities. Also consider the mature width of the tree you intend to plant. If you plant a tree that will grow to be broad, be sure there is adequate space between the trunk of the tree and any structures or utility lines or poles so that it does not cause adverse impacts as the tree grows.
5. Is the planting location near to the street where it might be impacted by salt? Many trees are sensitive to road salt. Be sure to look whether the species of tree you desire is a good "street tree" if it will be exposed to road salt.
6. Was the tree locally grown? Trees grown in our region will be most appropriate for our growing conditions.Native trees that evolved here are best adapted to our soils and temperature ranges. Consider planting a native tree in your yard.
7. Diversity is key! Look around your yard and see what species you have already growing. Consider buying a tree that is a different species. In the future, if a pest or disease impacts one species of tree it may not impact another. Diversity is key to maintaining a healthy forest.
MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL! Be sure to adequately water your tree. New trees should receive water once a week for the first three years. They should receive at least 1.5 to 2 inches of water weekly. Before you water, test the soil for moisture. If the soil a few inches down from the surface is moist to the touch, your tree probably does not need water. However, if the soil is dry you should water your tree.
For a list of trees suited to our area and their characteristics visit The Morton Arboretum website or speak to an ISA certified arborist in your community.
Photo Source: Austin Public Library, Open Grown Oak
Benefits Of Healthy Trees
Did you know that trees can reduce air temperature, remove pollutants from the air and reduce energy consumption in buildings?
Things you should know:
- As trees grow in size their environmental benefits grow. Take care of our trees so that they can take care of you.
- Healthy trees perform better. Take a look at the trees in your yard. Are they healthy? If not, see what you can do to make them healthy. Consider contacting an ISA Certified Arborist to provide direction to you on the care and/or planting of trees on your property.
- Properties that contain trees have been found to have a higher sale value. Look around your property and see where you could use a few more trees. Nurseries often run sales in the fall to get rid of overstock before winter.
- Trees planted along the west side of your home can help to reduce energy usage by keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
To get more information on the services that trees in your yard provide visit: The National Tree Benefits Calculator
(Note: The Tree Benefits Calculator will not work in Google Chrome)
Photo source: world-environment-day-org
Trees and Storm Damage
Recent storms in our area have resulted in significant damage to
trees and property. Trees that are properly maintained are not as likely to cause property damage. Walk your property and look up in the canopy to see if you have dead or broken branches. Look at the bark: Does it have woodpecker holes or other damage? Consider calling in a professional arborist to do an assessment of your trees. A professional, utilizing a variety of means, can often tell if there is a potential for problems. Often, simple pruning is all that is required. Other times, tree removal may be required. For a list of ISA Certified Arborists in your community visit the Illinois Arborist Association website.
If you have utilities running through your property, check your property plat to see if there is a dedicated utility easement. If so, and if you have trees with overhanging branches, you may wish to contact the utility to discuss pruning or other measures. If not, and you have overhanging branches, be sure to contact a professional to handle any pruning or removals adjacent to power lines.
Caring for your trees is worth an ounce of prevention rather than a pound of cure.
Photo Source: oldtowntree.com
Please encourage your residents to continue watering their trees!
To include a copy of this flyer in your newsletter or your website please click:
Following are funding opportunities that may be available for the coming year. Most of these grants have a landscaping component that would enable the planting and/or protection of trees. To learn about application deadlines or when requests for proposals are open, visit the websites listed with each funding opportunity.
Metropolitan Mayor's Caucus Emerald Ash Borer Community Restoration and Technical Assistance Grants. It is anticipated that the next request for proposals will be announced in the next few months. For more information on this funding opportunity check the Metropolitan Mayor's Caucus website.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant Program for Stormwater Management. Funding opportunities through this grant typically are announced in early fall. This program provides funding for stormwater retention and infiltration and for small projects. For more information on these opportunities visit Illinois EPA.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 Grants are available to local units of government and other organizations to protect water quality in Illinois. Projects must address water quality issues relating directly to non-point source pollution. Funds can be used for the implementation of watershed management plans including the development of information/education programs and for the installation of best management practices. The application deadline for 2012 was August 1st. For information on next year's funding go to Illinois EPA.
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Technical Assistance Grants are offered to communities, nonprofits and intergovernmental organizations to address local issues related to transportation, land use, housing, the natural environment, economic growth and community development. The deadline for 2012 was August. To track 2013 opportunities visit the CMAP website.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has a number of grant programs that may be of interest. Following is a list of some of those. For more information on the following grants go to Illinois DNR.
- Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grants are for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and open space. Applications are typically due between May 1 and July 1.
- Bicycle Path Program grants are for the acquisition and/or development of bicycle paths. Applications are typically due between May 1 and July 1.
- The Boat Access Area Development Program is for the acquisition, construction and expansion/rehabilitation necessary for boat access to Illinois lakes and rivers. Applications are typically between July 1 and September 1.
- The Recreational Trails Program provides funding for acquisition, development, rehabilitation and maintenance of both motorized and non-motorized recreation trails. March 1 is typically the deadline.
The Illinois Department of Transportation provides funding for roadway enhancement. The Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program provides funding for cultural, historic, aesthetic and environmental aspects related to transportation. The request for proposals for this funding, when available, is typically in the fall of the year. For more information on the ITEP program go to Illinois Department of Transportation.
Photo Source: www.culturedviews.com
Emerald Ash Borer 2.0
(Community Emerald Ash Borer Workshop)
This workshop is being presented by The Morton Arboretum and is an advanced learning session designed to assist communities in understanding the financial issues, exponential timeline and procedure options in dealing with emerald ash borer. Two workshops will be held, one in Grayslake, Illinois, and the other in Mount Vernon, Illinois. The first workshop will be held on October 26, 2012, at the College of Lake County. The second workshop will be held on February 12, 2013, in Mount Vernon. The workshop is designed for municipal leaders, land managers, City Foresters, park district officials and county and forest preserves leaders. Please click on the link below for more information on the workshop and how to register:
Forest Health and Protection Workshop
This workshop is being presented by The Morton Arboretum and will cover field diagnostics on insect and disease life cycles, management practices and updates on things that are coming our way. There will be three workshops throughout the State of Illinois in various locations. The 2012 Forest Health and Protection Workshops are designed for IDNR District Foresters, forest landowners, Walnut Council Association, Commercial Arborists, City Foresters, and green Professionals. Please click on the link below for more information on the workshops and how to register!
Tree Risk Assessment Conference -
The Biomechanics of Stability, Strength and Structure
September 24 and 25 at The Morton Arboretum.
Assessment and management of tree risk is grounded in the science of biomechanics the way trees grow to sustain both structural support and biological function. The Morton Arboretum and the International Society of Arboriculture have joined forces to bring together leading international experts to present their work at this important conference for all arborists who must make decisions on tree risk as part of their job. For more information on the conference and how to register go to www.mortonarb.org/tree-risk
Transportation and Trees
October 24th, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, IDOT, District 1 Office, 201 West Center Court, Schaumburg, IL 60196-1096.
IDOT, county and municipal dot's are invited to an important workshop presented by The Morton Arboretum and the Illinois Department of Transportation. This one day workshop will present information on how trees and transportation projects can work together for mutual benefit. Speakers will present information on road construction and root systems, soil requirements, a new species selection list, rights of way and natural areas, and invasive species (with a special session on emerald ash borer and ash management near transportation corridors). A $15 fee will include a box lunch. More information coming soon!
Illinois Arborist Association
On September 20th the IAA NEMF will host a tour of the Baha'i Temple from 10 A.M. to noon. The tour will be directed by Dave Coulter of Osage Inc., Garden Curator for the Baha'i Temple. If you are interested in attending this tour, please send RSVPs to email@example.com.
Check the Illinois Arborist Association website for additional opportunities.
The Community Trees Program staff recently visited the Bloomington, Illinois, Forestry Department, where David Lamb and Steve Connor provided a tour of their community and the forestry work yard.
Bloomington received a grant from the U.S. Forest Service to plant replacement trees for the trees removed due to emerald ash borer. Many of the trees were planted in a park which was constructed over a gravel pit. Needless to say, watering was a main focus of their attention this summer with the extreme drought, high heat and porous soils. While it took significant effort from the Bloomington Forestry Department, the trees were living and thriving in very difficult growing conditions.
A tour of their forestry yard was very impressive. They have separate sections of their yard for different purposes. They have piles of mulch for use in community parks, mulch for residents, firewood for residents, ash logs to be milled into lumber and ash that has already been milled and is now waiting for its next assignment back into the community as park benches, picnic tables, posts and other community uses.
Congratulations to Dave, Steve and the entire Bloomington, Illinois, Forestry Department!
For more information on the Community Trees Program please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lydia Scott, Community Trees Program Manager
Beth Corrigan, Community Trees Program Coordinator
Andi Dierich, Community Trees Program Assistant and Forest Pest Outreach Coordinator
This newsletter is prepared quarterly with distribution in September, December March and June. For an archive of these newsletters visit mortonarb.org/CTPnewsletters .