Please click here to view the Ordinance Chapter 8.3 for Trees and Weeds which outlines the provisions for care and planting in public and private property.

Foresty Division Links



























































































































































































































































FORESTRY Division Tree

Indian Head Park is a Tree City USA. Trees are one of our community's most important aesthetic assets, providing a sense of grace and charm, adding shade in the summer, color in the fall, and enhancing property values all year long. Trees also provide very important functions in cleaning the air we breathe and cooling the Village we live in during the hot summer months with their shady canopy.

Our Forestry Division maintains our urban forest for the Village. We are involved in planting, trimming, and supervising removal of all parkway trees and the spraying and fertilizing of the trees and bushes around town. Our Public Works personnel install all the flags in town, according to the event or season. They also mow and maintain the village parks, village grounds, parkway turf and common areas.

NOTE: The Village of Indian Head Park takes pride in the quality and quantity of trees throughout our community. Homeowners need to exercise proper care in watering, mulching and pruning the trees around their property and in the parkway. This page provides homeowners with guidance for planting, watering, and mulching the trees. When it comes time to prune the trees it is important to hire only licensed and reputable contractors that know when and how to prune your trees. For example, oak and elm trees should never be pruned in the summer. Contractors not understanding the importance of timing for these trees have been known to inadvertently kill the trees by pruning them at the wrong time.

Indian Head Park is a Tree City USA

Tree City USA

The Village of Indian Head Park has been named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for more than ten years. The Tree City USA Program is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service. To become a Tree City USA, a community must meet four standards: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program, and an Arbor Day observance.

Purpose and Intent of the
Village Tree Preservation Ordinance

(Download the Ordinance here)

Parkway Tree Removal and Replacement

The Forestry Division only removes parkway trees when they have been determined by the certified arborist to be dead, declining or hazardous. If your tree has been removed, the following information may be of some help.

Why We Remove Trees

Removal Procedure

Stump Removal

Replacing Parkway Trees

Tree Removal Permit Requirements and Procedures

The removal, replacement and/or impacting of trees in the Village of Indian Head Park is prohibited and unlawful.

A tree permit, issued by the Village of Indian Head Park, is required for all trees removed from the village.

To remove trees that are irreversibly declining, in danger of falling, may be too close to an existing structure, interfere with utility service, or provide unsafe clearance, the permit fee may be waived by the Village.  

Protective fencing must be installed within fifteen (15) feet of any trees on a subject property where construction activity is taking place.

Applications for a tree permit can be obtained at the Administration Office during regular business hours or downloaded here.

Caring for Your New Parkway Tree

Please help the Village of Indian Head Park to nurture and promote the growth of new parkway trees in our urban forest by following these care instructions:

If you have any questions regarding the care of your new parkway tree, please contact the Public Works Department at (708) 246-3154.

Pruning your Trees

Pruning your newly planted tree at the right time and in the right way can make the difference between having a tree which is badly misshapen with stunted growth or having a tree that stands tall and proud and is a pleasure to see and own.

The Village of Indian Head Park has a comprehensive tree trimming program which assures that every parkway tree is trimmed once every seven years. This regular pruning provides trees with structural strength and form and eliminates unhealthy branches. Occasionally, the amount of branches requiring removal exceed the recommended maximum 1/3 of the total branches on the tree. Such major pruning is done only when circumstances require it and is usually the result of storm damage or disease. The extensive pruning is done in an attempt to save the tree.

Some trees may need pruning during years in between the cycle trimming program. The Forestry Division accepts service requests year-round for parkway tree pruning or inspections. If you have any questions about trimming or to initiate a service request, please contact the Public Works Department at (708) 246-3154.

Following are guidelines for pruning trees should a homeowner wish to prune trees on their property.


At Planting

All branches should be left intact for the first year after planting. A newly planted tree needs as much leaf surface as possible to aid in food manufacture while the tree is adjusting to its new home. The only time branches should be pruned during the first year after the tree has been transplanted is if the branch is broken or has been damaged by insects.

3-4 Years after Planting

Root growth should be well on its way to anchoring the new tree and expanding to the size necessary to nourish the growing branches.  Root suckers and sprouts in the crown should be pruned. Other excessive branches should be thinned to reduce competition for light, water, and nutrients. A few of the lower limbs may also be removed. Branches growing in undesirable locations should also be removed at this time.

5-7 Years after Planting

Lower limbs should be pruned off to raise the bottom of the crown well out of the way of people's heads. The lowest limbs are now the permanent lowest limbs. Branches do not move upward as the tree grows taller. The center of a branch at five feet will always be at five feet. Branches protruding from the crown should be pruned to give the crown a graceful outline, and branches should be removed as necessary for even spacing.

15 Years after Planting

Proper pruning will give strength to the branches over a period of years, aiding the tree's ability to withstand ice and wind storms. Dead and damaged limbs should be cut off each spring. With proper care through the years, the tree will become an asset to the property.


Some newly planted trees often have branches which are awkwardly spaced or protrude at an unattractive angle. While the tree may not look its best, it is wise to avoid pruning the branches in order to leave the maximum possible leaf surface in order to manufacture food which will build a larger root system.  Both the roots and the top of the tree will be larger after one year if the tree is left un-pruned.

3-4 Years after Planting

By the time the tree has been in its new home for two to four growing seasons, sprouts and suckers often appear. The root suckers protruding near the base of the tree have been sapping strength from the tree, thereby stunting its growth. They should have been removed. Your tree may also have sprouts which are disproportionately vigorous and weakly attached to the tree. The broken limb which has sprouted new branches of its own should have been pruned. The tree's unattractive shape will only grow worse with time.

5-6 Years after Planting

The results of failing to regularly prune through the years for tree health and shape are quite apparent by the time the tree is five to seven years old. The form of the future crown is already being determined by the lack of pruning and shaping in the trees earlier, formative years.

15 Years after Planting

The tree which should have been a source of pleasure and beauty is lopsided and dense. The narrow branch angles and multiple leaders have resulted in a weak top. The broken branch not only attracts insects but may break off under the weight of too many sprouts. Decay has entered the trunk where a bent branch tore off many years ago. The tree has become a liability instead of an asset to the property.


Branch Sizes and Angles

Narrow angles signal a point of future weakness, whether in the trunk or in the crown. As the two branches grow, neither has sufficient space to add the wood needed for strength. Instead, they grow against each other. The effect is similar to hammering in a wedge. To prevent this and the expensive problems which are sure to follow, simply remove one of the two branches. For strength, the ideal branching angle approximates ten or two o'clock.

Center of Gravity

Young trees deformed by wind may be corrected by pruning. Move the tree's center of gravity to a point more central over the trunk by cutting back the leader and laterals on the downwind side (or direction of lean) to more upright branches.

Water sprouts and Suckers

These "parasite" sprouts can occur at the base or inside the crown. They are rapidly growing, weakly attached, and upright. Usually they use more energy than they return to the tree. It is best to remove them as soon as possible when it is obvious they are vigorous sprouts.

Rubbing Branches

Branches which rub result in wounds, decay, and notches. One of the offending branches should be removed.

Temporary Branches

Branches below the lowest permanent branch can protect young bark from injury from sun and add taper and strength to the trunk. Particularly in lawn plantings where lower limbs do not block passage or tempt vandals, the temporary branches may be left for three to four years after planting. Then remove the temporary limbs over the next two to three years, beginning with the larger temporaries. Don't let the temporary branches become large and vigorous.

Caring for Your Newly Seeded Parkway

Due to a water main break, sewer main break, snow plow damage, or other problems, the parkway turf in front of your home may be damaged or destroyed. To maintain an attractive appearance of the parkways and the Village as a whole, restoration work will be performed on your parkway to repair damaged turf areas. After the seed and topsoil has been applied, we ask for your assistance in helping the new seed to become established. The following steps should be taken for best results:

Your cooperation is essential to help the seed establish. If you have any questions, please contact the Public Works Department at (708) 246-1233.


Tree plantingTree Planting Techniques

(as suggested by the National Arbor Day Foundation)

Instructions for containerized trees

If a tree is planted correctly, it will grow twice as fast and live at least twice as long as one that is incorrectly planted. Ideally, dig or rototill an area one foot deep and approximately five times the diameter of the root ball. The prepared soil will encourage root growth beyond the root ball and results in a healthier tree. In transplanting trees, be sure to keep soil around the roots. Help prevent root girdling by vertically cutting any roots that show tendencies to circle the root ball. After placing the tree, pack the soil firmly, but not tightly around the root ball. Water the soil and place a three foot protective circle of mulch around the tree.

Instructions for bare root seedlings

Unpack the tree and soak in water for three to six hours. Dig a hole wide and deep enough so that the roots will not be crowded. To promote root growth, turn the soil in an area up to three feet in diameter. Fill the excavation area with soil packing the area lightly. Newly planted trees need plenty of water. After a thorough watering at the base of the tree, place a 2" layer of mulch around the base. During dry weather, water the tree generously every week or ten days during the first year of growth. 



The Village of Indian Head Park received official confirmation from the Illinois Department of Agriculture of the Emerald Ash Borer’s presence in Indian Head Park.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a small, metallic green, non-native invasive pest whose
larvae feast on the trunks of ash trees thereby cutting off their ability to transport nutrients
and ultimately causing the tree’s decline. Ash trees can be infested with EAB for a few years
before the tree begins to demonstrate any signs of EAB infestation. Symptoms of EAB
include canopy dieback, D-shaped exit holes, shoots sprouting from the tree trunks and S-
shaped larval galleries underneath the bark.

Ash tree owners may ask about treatment options in order to avoid removing their trees;
however, the only guaranteed method to control Emerald Ash Borer is to remove the host
tree(s). When considering usage of insecticidal control, one should weigh the value of the
tree against the cost of treatment.

“The Illinois Department of Agriculture certainly supports a tree owner’s right to determine
for themselves whether a pesticide treatment is appropriate in their specific circumstances,”
Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau Manager of Environmental Programs Warren
Goetsch, said. “Tree owners are encouraged to thoroughly research the various treatment
options currently available and carefully weigh the costs associated with the required
repeated treatments. Please be advised, however, that treatment of an Ash tree will not
guarantee that a specific tree might eventually be required to be removed.”

A computerized inventory of all parkway and public property trees indicates that the Village
of Indian Head Park has approximately 100 Ash trees, which makes up about 4% of the
Village’s total canopy. The majority of these Ash trees have been treated with a systemic
insecticide through the soil. Please click here for the Indian Head Park Ash Tree Inventory Report as of 2015.

If you think your Ash tree has been infested, please call the Public Works Department at (708) 246-

EAB Adult Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients.

EAB LarvaeEmerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. Emerald ash borer is also established in Windsor, Ontario, was found in Ohio in 2003, northern Indiana in 2004, northern Illinois in 2006 and eastern Pennsylvania in 2007.


Since its discovery, EAB has:

Emerald Ash Borer Poster


Helpful Tree Information and Links

Please be aware that the following links will take you outside the Village's website.
Please see our disclaimer for further information.

Emerald Ash Borer Information Network


General Tree Planting Information

Illinois Department of Agriculture


Joint Utilities Location Information for Excavators

JULIE logo

The Morton Arboretum

Morton Arboretum Logo

The National Arbor Day Foundation

Arbor Day Logo