The first of three landscape companies recently began extensive parkway tree planting efforts in Mount Prospect. Taking advantage of two grants and increasing citizen participation, the Village's contractors will have planted more than 800 new parkway trees by the end of 2012.
Forestry/Grounds Superintendent Sandy Clark said "We're excited to be taking this opportunity to diversify our urban forest with a wide variety of underutilized tree species. These new plantings will help make Mount Prospect's urban forest more sustainable, and less susceptible to widespread losses from diseases like Dutch Elm Disease or insects such as Emerald Ash Borer."
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The last five years have been exceptionally hard on Mount Prospect's trees. The Village lost hundreds of trees during the storms of 2007 and 2011, plus 2012 has seen an exponential increase in the number of ash trees lost due to Emerald Ash Borer. (At last count the Village had lost 588 parkway ashes so far this year.) Additionally, this summer's drought conditions led to the demise of a number of trees of all species.
"Fortunately, a grant we received through the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, as well as Community Development Block grant funds, have allowed us to expand our planting efforts this year and plant many new 1 ½" diameter trees." Additionally, Clark said, "Many Mount Prospect residents have also contributed their own funds this year to upgrade to 2 ½" diameter replacement trees."
Clark noted that the planting crews have been enthusiastically received in the neighborhood just south of Golf Road and Busse Rd. "Some of the streets in this neighborhood lost almost all their trees, and the citizens here seem especially glad to
see the new plantings arriving."
The Village is also encouraging property owners to plant diversified tree species on their private properties throughout Mount Prospect. Citizens can check the Village's website, www.mountprospect.org, for species selection ideas. (Look for Increasing Tree Diversity in the Urban Landscape under the Forestry/Grounds tab.)
Finally, Clark also suggested that, if possible, citizens should continue watering existing and new trees weekly until the ground freezes. "The drought conditions we experienced this year severely stressed many trees and made them far more susceptible to future disease and insect problems. Though air temperatures have cooled, we are still way behind on the soil moisture levels needed for healthy tree root growth. Unless there is ample rainfall, it is best to apply one inch of water to each tree's root zone every seven to 10 days."