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.
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.
(Download the Ordinance here)
- To maintain and preserve mature trees within the Village on both public and private property.
- To preserve the natural and wooded characteristics of the Village.
- To promote public health, safety and general welfare including, but not limited to, the reduction of noise, air pollution and the preservation of natural resources.
- Trees promote the quality of life environmentally and aesthetically.
- Trees are one of the primary distinctive factors that cause Indian Head Park to be a desirable place to live and work.
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
- The Forestry Division has the responsibility of ensuring the long-term health and safety of the Village's urban forest. Dead, hazardous, diseased, structurally unsound, and declining trees present potential safety problems to Village residents.
- Certified arborists are continually monitoring for diseased, declining, or dead trees throughout the village. Trees that cannot be saved are put on a removal list and removed as soon as possible. Some pests and diseases may cause defoliation, making the tree appear dead, but in some cases it becomes necessary to treat these trees for insects or diseases. While every effort is made to preserve our urban forest, sometimes nothing can be done to save the tree and it is in the Village's best interest to remove and replace it. Plesae review the next section on tree permit requirements and procedures.
- Once a tree is cut down, the remaining stump will be placed on our stump removal list. When enough stumps are accumulated, we will grind out the stumps, add topsoil and re-the parkway where the stump was located. Stumps are removed in the spring and fall when grass seed will germinate and grow. Removing all accumulated stumps at one time is the most efficient use of our resources and your tax dollars.
Replacing Parkway Trees
- The Village of Indian Head Park replaces all removed parkway trees, provided there is sufficient space for a new tree to grow.
- Residents may select the tree of their choice from the Parkway Tree Replacement List, which is released in the spring and again in the fall. The Village will make every effort to accommodate these tree requests. If a homeowner has no preference in the replacement tree, the Forestry Division will pick a species suitable to your neighborhood and the size of your parkway.
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.
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:
- Watering is the key to a new tree's survival. Too much water will drown a tree and too little water will dry it up. During a normal season, a tree should receive 1 inch of water per week. Watering need only be done during the months of May through September and only if adequate rainfall does not occur. It is especially important to keep your tree watered for the first year after planting. NOTE: Extra water may be required during periods of drought and high heat. This is especially true if the tree is planted in the summer.
- To see if your tree needs watering, check the soil by digging a small hole 3 inches deep. If the soil is dry and crumbly, the tree needs additional water. If the soil is moist and sticks together, no water is needed. If water drips from the soil, there is too much water. If this occurs, remove the mulch layer from around the base of the tree to allow the soil to dry.
- Keeping the base of the tree mulched with a 2 inch layer of wood chips is very important. Mulch helps retain mositure in the soil, it reduces weed and grass intrusion, and it protects the trunk from lawn mower damage. Mulch should not be more than 3 inches deep and should not make contact with the bark of the tree, which can cause the bark to rot from being constantly wet. Occasionally check for matting of the mulch and mix it up if needed.
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 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.
HOW AND WHEN TO PRUNE
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.
LACK OF PRUNING RESULTS IN STUNTED GROWTH AND UNATTRACTIVE SHAPING
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.
PRUNING FOR STRENGTH
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.
Branches which rub result in wounds, decay, and notches. One of the offending branches should be removed.
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.
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:
- Water the entire seeded area thoroughly until moist to a 4 inch depth.
- Continue to water for three weeks until grass has reached a 2 inch height.
- Maintain watering for several weeks until fully established.
- Avoid any chemical weed control in newly seeded areas until grass has been mowed twice.
Your cooperation is essential to help the seed establish. If you have any questions, please contact the Public Works Department at (708) 246-1233.
(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.
CONFIRMED IN INDIAN HEAD PARK
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-
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.
Emerald 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:
- Killed more than 20 million ash trees in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Most of the devastation is in southeastern Michigan.
- Caused regulatory agencies and the USDA to enforce quarantines (Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) and fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs or hardwood firewood from moving out of areas where EAB occurs.
- Cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries tens of millions of dollars.
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
The Morton Arboretum
The National Arbor Day Foundation