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Village Program Expected to Save Green as it Plants Trees

The Village of Glen Ellyn unveiled its first comprehensive reforestation plan, which encourages community involvement.

Summer storms and the Emerald Ash Borer have taken a toll on the Village of Glen Ellyn’s parkway trees.

Normally, about 100 trees are lost every year due to weather and age, but more recently, the number of trees requiring replacement has grown to about 200 per year. The cost to replace all those trees is significant.

The village is taking steps to replace those trees in a manner that will come at a reduced cost to residents and which will also allow residents and organizations to help defer the cost of trees while expediting replacement.

“We’re excited to announce the first comprehensive parkway tree replacement program in the village’s history,” Glen Ellyn Village President Mark Pfefferman said in a news release. “The Village takes immense pride in its urban forest.”

In the past, the village would hire contractors to replace the trees, but that cost was often as much as the cost of a tree, said Julius Hansen, Glen Ellyn's director of public works. If an individual tree costs between $150 and $200, and with the cost of the contractor often costing about the same amount, planting one tree could cost the village between $300 and $400.

“There have been budget constraints and budget issues,” he said. “There is a lot of cost for removing trees and removing stumps; no matter how many are removed you can only plant so many trees. The village decided to not hire a contractor to plant the trees to save on the cost.”

Rather than hire contractors to plant the trees, the public works’ employees are now overseeing the duty, Hansen said. The village began doing the work in house in the spring and in a few weeks – in October – they will begin fall tree planting.

The village plants 100 trees in the spring and 100 in the fall and the cost savings to the village will be about $35,000 a year just from planting trees in house, Hansen said. Over 10 years the cost savings will be significant.

Though the public works employees are taking time away from other duties, Hansen said it’s been possible to rework schedules to allow for the tree planting.

In addition, to the work being done in house, the is also encouraging residents who may need parkway trees replaced to do the work themselves. With a permit from the village, residents may purchase trees and plant them, which will expedite the process, said Kristen Schrader, assistant to the village manager.

Another option for residents is that those who are willing to pay $85 to the village will have their replacement request expedited and replacement will take place the following planting season, Hansen said.

Donations will also be accepted from individuals or organizations, he said. Residents who wish to may donate a tree to Glen Ellyn's parkways or the Village Arboretum by contributing $170. And, organizations or individuals who pool resources may underwrite an entire planting season by donating $8,500.

“So many people, from youth groups to students to preservation groups and others, ask us how they can help reforest our village,” Village Manager Mark Franz said in a new release. “This program gives them an easy way to make a difference.”

In the past, the financial need wasn’t as great as it is today, Hansen said. With the severe damage from the July storms, damage from the Emerald Ash Borer and expected tree damage from this summer’s drought, the village can use the assistance with tree replacement.

Learn more about the reforestation program.

Meatheads of Glen Ellyn will make donations on Sept. 15 and 16 toward the reforestation program. Mention Glen Ellyn’s Parkway Tree Reforestation at the restaurant at 549 Roosevelt Road anytime Sept. 15 and 16 and Meatheads will donate 10 percent of net sales generated to the village’s urban forest. 

Would you consider paying a fee to expedite tree replacement, or take on the work yourself? Tell us in comments!

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Jeffrey Gahris September 07, 2012 at 08:57 PM
This is a good first step, but it may take years to restore our Village forest to its former grandeur. Hopefully, the Village will manage our resource carefully and provide residents with good information to keep our trees healthy. There is a lot at stake. Trees that have been harmed by human activities have found it much tougher to survive our recent weather extremes.
Linda Gilbert September 09, 2012 at 04:40 PM
After working as volunteers under the direction of our former village forester, the poor condition of a great many of our parkway trees quickly became apparent to many of us. Diseases like Emerald ash borer and oak wilt were only part of the story. Many older trees planted decades ago were inappropriate varieties for their sites, were planted too close together for their mature sizes and were suffering decline from poor maintence practices by property owners and thoughtless construction damage by builders. In addition, the former practice of allowing the planting of too many of one variety in some areas allowed neighborhoods to lose large areas of canopy when hit by tree disease or storms. It is very good news that the village will focus on restoring trees to the parkways. Residents of our village love their trees, whether or not they understand how they grow and what are the best maintenance practices. What a great opportunity to teach each homeowner who takes part in parkway tree replacement about their specific tree and its needs. Given that most of our village forest is on private property, such knowledge could carry over to the benefit of the entire canopy.

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