Get a tree for free with parkway planting program

With a little help, Flossmoor residents have the chance to beautify the neighborhood this spring and improve the environment, all with minimal effort and moderate or no cost to them.
Spring is tree-planting time, and Flossmoor is giving residents an opportunity to add beauty and function to their property with new trees. (Chronicle file photo)
  Spring is tree-planting time,
  and Flossmoor is giving some
  residents an opportunity to
  add beauty and function to
  their property with new trees.
 
  (Chronicle file photo)
 

According to village arborist Dave Becker, Flossmoor is once again offering its annual Shared Cost Parkway Tree Program. The 50/50 cost-sharing program gives owners of certain properties the opportunity to buy a tree for the parkway area in front of their home. 

Residents pay $120 and the village covers the other half of the cost. They can choose from 13 varieties of trees, a group of options that provides an array of heights, spreads and colors. Becker said he puts together the list, selecting the best trees for Flossmoor homes.

“I choose trees that will thrive in our parkways,” he said. “When residents are choosing a tree, the first thing to do is make sure you have the space. Look at how tall it will get, how wide it will get, whether there are power lines overhead.”

In another advantageous program, residents can apply to receive a free tree for parkway planting. Through a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the village is offering trees for no cost on a first-come, first-served basis.

Becker, who is in charge of the tree programs, said the cost-share trees will be planted by a local nursery, while he and other village staff and volunteers will plant the grant provided trees.

Owners of about 580 properties in Flossmoor received letters from the village that identified properties with open space available for a tree. The trees are only eligible for planting in the parkways. 

Residents who participate will receive a stake they will place in the parkway at the spot where they would like the tree planted. Becker and the landscape professionals will review placement of all the stakes to assure the selected trees are appropriate for the space. They can make suggestions for a new location or type of tree.

Drainage should also be considered when selecting a spot for a parkway tree. 

“Some trees do better in wet areas with poor drainage. Other trees prefer it more dry,” Becker said. “If your parkway is dryer and well drained, you can look at planting burr oak, chinquapin oak. If it’s one that’s often flooded, you’ll want trees like swamp white oak, pecan, yellow birch.”

The village offers parkway tree planting programs each spring and fall, and Becker said he looks forward to adding trees to Flossmoor’s landscape. There are still hundreds of open spots after removal of trees destroyed or threatened by emerald ash borer beetles.

“We still have a long way to go for tree planting (to replace the trees lost),” Becker said. “I’d like to fill up every spot we have with trees and we’re working hard on it. The grant program helps a lot.”

Residents who have trees planted are expected to water them regularly, especially during hot summer months. They can also monitor the trees’ health and call the village to report problems or ask questions. Parkway trees are pruned by the village forestry workers, and Becker said residents do not need to, nor should they, prune parkway trees.

Besides watering, residents need to do very little besides enjoy watching their trees grow. Trees do come with responsibilities of raking, but Becker said it’s a small price to pay for how much trees give back. 

“There are some disadvantages to having a tree by your home — some oaks have nuts in them that they eventually drop. It might take a little more cleanup, but the benefit these trees provide greatly outweighs the maintenance you put in.”

Tree applications are due Monday, March 18. Becker said many free trees remain available, and he encourages residents to apply.

 

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