Some Tree Talk as Arbor Day Approaches
By Village Manager Phil Kiraly
Did you know that the Village maintains over 10,000 trees in the public right-of-way as part of our urban forestry program? This is just one of the many efforts that has earned Glencoe its Tree City USA designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation every year since 1984. There are multiple requirements to maintain the Tree City USA designation, one of which is for the Village to host an Arbor Day observance recognized by proclamation. Please join us as we celebrate Arbor Day with the Village’s annual tree planting ceremony. This year, we’ll be planting an Autumn Blaze Maple tree at Central School at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 26.
Maintaining over 10,000 parkway trees, however, is no small feat. The Village’s forestry crew boasts three certified Arborists that guide tree trimming, removal, replanting and other maintenance programs to help preserve and protect our urban forest. In the past several years, the Village (like many of its neighbors) was forced to remove thousands of ash trees that were decimated by the Emerald Ash Borer. This led to some of our parkway areas feeling less “canopied” and in need of some new life. Should you be interested in expanding the tree canopy over our parkways, I invite you to participate in the Village’s 50/50 Parkway Tree Planting Program. With the 50/50 program, the Village splits the cost of planting new parkway trees with interested residents. Additionally, in support of the ongoing efforts of the Friends of the Green Bay Trail (FGBT), the Village has partnered on a second 50/50 tree planting program, Trees for the Trail, which invites residents to donate trees to be planted on the Green Bay Trail. Learn more about the 50/50 programs here.
While on the subject of trees, please scan this excellent information from the Arbor Day Foundation regarding proper tree maintenance on your own property. As we review private trees, the most common error that our Forestry crews witness is that homeowners and/or their landscaping crews often pile mulch against the base of the tree. This practice is known as “volcano mulching.” Please avoid this practice as it can jeopardize the health of the tree. Instead, mulch should be kept at least six inches away from the base of the tree. Our crews will be on the lookout for volcano mulching this season, equipped with door hangers that we’ll use to identify improper mulching to help spread the word.
On a more somber note, I regret to share that the Forestry Division has determined that the more than a century-old majestic American Elm tree located just outside the Glencoe Train Station must be removed. The tree has been in steady decline over the last several years and now poses a potential hazard to commuters and train traffic. Recognizing the significance of the tree, we are taking special care in selecting its replacement and we invite you to help us pick the new genus and species from a list of trees that we know will thrive in that location. Vote for your favorite type of tree on the Village’s Facebook page here or if you’re not on Facebook, give our Forestry Division a call (847) 835-4134.
Finally, speaking of the loss of beloved trees, my family and I said farewell to our own majestic, 36” diameter American Elm in our backyard last fall. It succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease, another concerning tree ailment that has plagued our region since the 1970s. This year, my family will join in Arbor Day celebrations at home by replacing that majestic tree with a new sapling. I hope that you will join us in celebrating our amazing urban forest by adding a new tree to your yard!