The Village's Forestry Division maintains over 8,000 trees (and over 90 species) in Village rights-of-way or the area commonly known as "the parkway." The parkway is the area between the curb and the public sidewalk or lot line. The Village inspects, monitors, trims, removes, plants, and inoculates parkway trees (only Ash) throughout the Village, through the year.
See below for more information on the following:
- Trimming of Village Trees and Trimming Map
- Arbor Day
- Emerald Ash Borer
- Tree City USA
- Free Wood Chips
- Drought Survival Tips for Trees
- Mulching & Landscaping Around Trees
- Storm Damage Policy
The Village has implemented a systematic approach to pruning parkway trees in accordance with a 6-year pruning cycle.
The Village recognizes the importance of pruning and removing hazardous limbs/trees and will address those situations as they are reported to the Village or observed by Village Staff. Should you observe a hazard please click here to contact the Village immediately.
Per Village Code (Title 5, Chapter 8: Trees and Shrubs), only Village crews or crews contracted by the Village may perform the above tasks. If any work needs to be performed, residents are asked to submit a service request online or call Public Works at 708-366-8500. River Forest Public Works currently has five International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists on staff and several Public Works employees that are licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) as pesticide/insecticide applicators and operators.
Each year on Arbor Day, which in Illinois is the last Friday in April, Public Works holds an Arbor Day celebration at one of the schools in River Forest. During the celebration, Public Works crews plant one tree donated to the River Forest school on the school's property, distributes seedlings to students, and talks to the students about the importance of trees both in the River Forest community and globally.
The Emerald Ash Borer is a small (1/2 inch long, 1/8 inch wide) metallic green beetle native to Asia that is responsible for the death of millions of ash trees in the Midwest.
The adult Emerald Ash Borer emerges in May – July and the female lays numerous eggs in bark crevices and between layers of bark. The eggs hatch in 7 – 10 days and larvae bore into the tree where they chew the inner bark and phloem creating serpentine galleries as they feed. This cuts off the flow of water and nutrients in the tree, causing dieback and death.
More information about the Emerald Ash Borer can be found by contacting the Village of River Forestas we have certified arborists on staff who can help identify the Emerald Ash Borer, by calling the national Emerald Ash Borer hotline at (866) EAB-4512, the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Hotline at (800) 641-3934, or visiting the following web sites:
- River Forest is the latest victim of EAB
- Purple Traps for the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)
- Emerald Ash Borer Website
- Illinois Department of Agriculture
- The Morton Arboretum
- Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry, USDA Forest Service
For information on how to prevent EAB infestations when obtaining firewood , please click here to listen to a message from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
The Village of River Forest has been a Tree City USA Community since 1998. The National Arbor Day Foundation has named River Forest a Tree City USA community based on the following standards: having a forestry division, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program, and an Arbor Day observance.
The Village regularly offers wood chips to its residents. The self-serve wood chip pile is replenished as wood chips become available, and is located on Central Avenue beneath the Canadian National railroad bridge - between the Village Hall parking lot and the River Forest Park District tennis courts.
Residents needing wood chips to cover an area of ground larger than 20' x 20' spread that is 4" thick (approximately 4 cubic yards or more), can contact Public Works or call 708-366-8500 to place an order for delivery. This is equivalent to approximately one-half of a dump truck load of wood chips - minimum delivery is one-half of a dump truck load.
Homeowners are urged to continue watering trees and shrubs due to continued dry soil conditions and a rain shortage. It is important to know that trees and shrubs will benefit from continued watering – even trees and shrubs that have lacked sufficient watering throughout the summer. Here are some drought-readiness tips from The Morton Arboretum:
- Focus watering efforts on trees and shrubs – not grass. Grass goes dormant and will turn green again when water is available. Trees can die without water.
- Depending on air temperatures, trees and shrubs need at least 1 inch of water applied every week to 10 days to cope with lack of rain. Larger, established trees have a wide-spreading root system and need not be watered as frequently, perhaps every 2 to 3 weeks. Let the top few inches of soil dry out between waterings to avoid saturation and to allow roots and soil organisms to breathe.
- Water slowly and deeply so water percolates down into the soil, electing one or two deep waterings as opposed to several light ones.
- Use soaker hoses and drip irrigation -- effective watering tools because they discharge even streams of slow, trickling water directly to the root zone beneath trees and shrubs. When combined with a 3 or 4-inch layer of organic mulch, plants can use nearly all of the water that's provided with little evaporation loss.
- When watering small trees, let a hose run slowly at its base until the ground is moist. For large trees, let the hose run at various points around the tree's drip line – the imaginary line on the ground that encircles a tree's extended branches.
- Water shrubs at the plant base and under the spread of branches until soil is moistened to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
- When using a sprinkler system, place a container nearby to measure when you have distributed 1 inch of water to the soil.
- Prioritize watering, caring for newly transplanted trees and shrubs first, then those that have been in the ground from 2 to 5 years and have under-developed root systems. Next, water “specimen” trees or important trees, then all other plants.
- Water strategically. Plants absorb more water in the early morning, before the warming sun can cause evaporation.
- Avoid using fertilizer during drought conditions. Fertilizer salts can cause root injury when soil moisture is limited.
For additional information, visit www.mortonarb.org or call 630-719-2424.
During the growing season, many homeowners and landscapers apply mulch to trees and shrubs. Some of the benefits of wood mulch products are:
- Keeps roots cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
- Maintains soil moisture, reducing the need for watering.
- Inhibits certain plant diseases.
- Keeps damaging weed whackers and lawn mowers away from plants.
- Improves soil fertility.
The guidelines for proper mulching suggest that mulch should be applied at a depth of 2 to 4 inches, and spread to the drip line—the outermost extension of the branches. In our cramped urban setting this can be difficult to achieve, so applying mulch as broadly as practical will still benefit plants.
Mulch can have a negative effect and should be kept away from the trunk of trees to prevent rotting and provide good air circulation. Applying a new layer of mulch each year creates a buildup that can block oxygen and moisture from reaching the roots. That “fresh” look can be achieved by turning last year’s application with a rake or pitchfork.
Another mulching mistake that can kill a tree is "volcano mulching." This describes mulch that has been piled up in the shape of a cone around the base of trees, in some cases a foot or more high. Raised retaining systems, which commonly include the installation of landscape blocks/bricks around the base of the tree and filled with soil and possible topped with mulch, are also not recommend. This type of landscaping has a similar effect of "volcano mulching."
In the event a tree is damaged by storm activity, and for the first two weeks following a storm event, residents may place fallen tree limbs and branches that are four (4) inches or greater in diameter, regardless of length, in the parkway to be collected by Village crews. All smaller materials (less than 4 inches in diameter) should be disposed of in the regular yard waste program utilizing yard waste bags or brush tags. Do not place these materials in the street. If it is not practical to prepare materials for collection under the regular yard waste program, residents may contact a tree care company or waste disposal company to arrange for a special collection of the material. All contractors must be licensed and bonded with the Village of River Forest.