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Tree Planting Program
In response to the thousands of trees lost to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle, the Village hired Beary Landscaping, Inc. from Lockport, Ill. to implement a comprehensive tree planting program to provide more than 10,000 trees over the course of three years. Year One of the initial planting program was successfully completed, and the contract was renewed for a second year. Year Two plantings will resume in spring 2016. As of January 2016, the EAB replacement tree planting program has planted more than 6,000 trees in the Village.

Planting seasons and years
Ideally, trees are planted in the fall and early spring seasons when they are dormant but temperatures are not consistently below freezing. In the fall, dropping leaves are a sign of trees going dormant. Trees can be planted from mid-October until early December, or whenever there is a real threat of temperatures consistently dropping below freezing.
 
In spring, trees can be planted once the ground has thawed. Planting them early before the buds break gives the trees an opportunity to establish roots before they start growing and their need for water increases, along with the temperatures.
 
The tree planting program is being conducted in six planting seasons over three years as follows:
 
Year 1: fall 2014, spring 2015 [COMPLETE]
Year 2: fall 2015, spring 2016
Year 3: fall 2016, spring 2017

Species diversity goals
Due to low species diversity and a very high concentration of ash trees (nearly 44%), the Village of Tinley Park was hit particularly hard by the damage caused by EAB. In order to protect against any future epidemic impacting such a large percentage of trees, the Village will be diversifying the types of trees as much as possible by planting more than 40 different species. Limited species availability and the need to incorporate many different types of trees throughout the Village means we cannot accept individual tree species requests at this time.

Planting areas
The areas to be planted each year have been prioritized based on several different criteria, including the timing of the removal, density of trees lost, stormwater impacts and population.
 
Year 1: Areas throughout the Village where ash and other trees were removed prior to 2014, as well as the West Quadrant and portions of the North Quadrant from the 2014 EAB removal

Year 2: South Quadrant and portions of the North Quadrant from 2014 EAB removal

Year 3: East Quadrant from 2014 EAB removal and any remaining planting needs

Click here to view the map.

Planting locations
Trees will be replanted in the same location where they were removed only in cases where planting is feasible and the location is still valid based on our updated planting guidelines.
 
For example, large tree roots or a street light in close proximity to the planting site may prevent a tree from being planted in the exact spot where one was removed. In these cases, the project team will need to adjust the location accordingly. If no suitable planting location can be found, the planting site may need to be eliminated as a last resort.

Replacement Trees
Tree mortality is an inevitable part of large tree planting projects. The Village project team will be inspecting each tree on multiple occasions during the planting season and the contractor warranty period to verify the trees are in good health. In the unfortunate event that one of the trees planted in the public parkway near your home does not survive or declines into poor condition, it will be removed and replaced in the following planting season. Due to species availability constraints and planting season restrictions, replacement trees will not necessarily be the same species as the previous tree that failed.

Newly planted tree care tips
Once there is a newly planted tree in the parkway near your home, here are a few tips on how to properly care for it:

  • Water each young tree with 15 to 20 gallons once a week between May and October (that’s 3 or 4 large buckets).
  • Water slowly so the water penetrates the soil and does not run off of the surface.
  • Water at the soil level, not the leaves of shrubs and groundcovers.
  • If it rains one inch or more in a week's time period, you do not need to water.
  • Do not fertilize the young trees.
  • Be very careful when using a lawn mower and weed eater around the tree. They can cause mechanical damage that can kill the tree.
  • Do not plant grass tight to the base of the trunk; leave the mulch bed intact.
  • Do not use gravel, lava rock, stones or other inorganic mulch around the base of the tree. Organic mulch will be provided at the time of planting.
  • Do not install tree rings around the base of the tree.

If you should choose to add plants to the area around the tree, remember that the tree’s health comes first.
  • Use plants that do not need a lot of water so they do not compete with the tree.
  • Use small plants and bulbs – large plants require large planting holes, which can damage tree roots.
  • Do not plant bamboo, ivy, vines, woody shrubs or evergreens around the base of the new tree. They are all major competitors for water and nutrients and can stunt or kill a tree.

Great Lakes Restoration Grant for EAB Replacement Plantings
In 2015, the Village was awarded $30,000 in funding through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Great Lakes Restoration grant program, administered by the Morton Arboretum.
 
The primary focus of this grant program is to provide assistance to communities to plant trees as replacements to those lost as a result of emerald ash borer (EAB) and to encourage planting diverse tree species to reduce impacts from potential future problems.

This funding helped provide 87 public trees at the 80th Avenue Metra train station. The Village is grateful for this partnership with the grant funders and will be re-applying for future rounds of similar funding programs.