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The Village of Winnetka takes great pride in its tree-lined streets and plentiful green space. Preserving the natural beauty of the community’s urban forest remains a top priority. A forestry program has been active in Winnetka for many years. The Village Forester oversees reforestation, tree preservation, and tree maintenance. A packet on Winnetka’s forestry procedures is also available for further information.

The reforestation program is designed to plant trees in existing voids and to replace dead or diseased trees located on public property. The Village Forester, in conjunction with the Environmental & Forestry Commission, has developed a Master Tree Planting List that contains tree species tolerant of urban conditions within Winnetka. Ultimately, the Village Forester is responsible for recommending the tree species best suited to each specific site and will implement watering programs when drought conditions arise.

Tree preservation ordinances were enacted in Winnetka to protect against the indiscriminate removal of trees on private property. Homeowners are required to apply for a removal permit if a tree measures 8-inches or more in diameter at breast height (DBH). When permission is requested to remove a protected tree, the Village Forester will inspect the tree in question to determine its size, health, the reason for removal, and whether replacement trees are required. If removal is permitted, a deposit per diameter inch of tree replacement is required before work is performed; A landscape plan must receive Village Forester approval and be installed coorectly before tree deposit is refunded.

Lastly, the Village’s tree maintenance program consists of removal of dead, diseased, or hazardous parkway trees and regular tree maintenance pruning. Parkway trees are generally pruned on a six to seven year cycle to develop good branching form and to improve tree health. The Village Forester also surveys private properties to identify diseased and/or dead Elm and Ash trees and will contact homeowners if trees must be removed. Winnetka has been designated a Tree City USA Community since 1991. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in cities throughout the country. Today, over 135 million people live in a Tree City USA.

Winter Season Tree Pruning

Timing Advantages:

  1. No foliage means easier to achieve proper tree structure
  2. Winter pruning does not attract insects or disease problems.
  3. Prune weak, dead, damaged branches and reduce crown density, produces a better tree to withstand severe summer storms.
  4. Winter pruning is less damaging to the surrounding landscape plants.
  5. Winter pruning of trees is less stressful on trees.
  6. Proper pruned trees allow air and sunlight circulation during growing season.

If you need a tree inspection or have tree questions please call the Village Forester at 847-716-3535.


Oak Trees Under Attack

The urban forest in 2017 has seen an increase of insect and disease problems.  Many of these problems are associated with changing weather patterns and other issues. Stressed trees are more susceptible to insect and disease problems.

Oak trees are just one of the tree species suffering increasing losses due to weather, insects and diseases.  Like many trees, Oaks suffered root loss due to drought and periodic severe flooding at times the past few years.  Root loss leads to stress on trees and more boring insects like Two-lined Chestnut Borer.  This insect lays eggs in stressed oak trees.  Young larvae feed under the bark and cause girdling of the trees water and food conducting vascular system.  The girdling causes many oak trees to die from the top down in its canopy and eventual total tree mortality in a few years.

A new disease in Illinois from other parts of the Midwest is now having an impact on certain Oak trees, the Bur Oaks.  Bur Oaks have many variations and some may not be affected.  Bur Oak Blight (BOB) is a fungus that enters on leaves.  Cool, wet rainy spring weather conditions as the village has been having the last few years helps promote ideal fungus-growing conditions against trees.  As summer progresses, leaves will discolor, distort and drop prematurely starting in the bottom branches of the tree.  Affected trees over a few years will have branch dieback and can eventually kill entire Burr Oak trees.

Best prevention against all insect and disease of trees is proper tree care.  Water when dry conditions occur, no rain for 2-weeks or longer in growing seasons.  Some insecticides treatments to control borers can be done as a preventative by certified arborists.  Some fertilizers and growth regulators help improve tree root growth.  Fungicide treatments for diseases (BOB) are being used and studied but more research is needed before any guarantees can be issued.

If you have any questions or need further information. Contact the Village Forester at 847-716-3535.




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