The Value of Trees to our Community
Trees are important to Aurora’s neighborhoods because they provide environmental, social, economic, and property value benefits. They:
- naturally reduce air pollution by filtering out harmful gasses and replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen
- lower heating and cooling costs
- reduce surface water runoff resulting from storms; tree roots stabilize the soil and prevent erosion
- reduce noise pollution by acting as sound barriers
- increase residential and commercial property values
- enhance economic stability by attracting businesses and visitors
- improve the consumer environment and help increase spending within business districts
- provide food and shelter for wildlife
Tree City USA
Over the past 12 years, the City of Aurora has received the Tree City USA designation.
The Tree City USA Program, sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, encourages better care of community forests by providing technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 93 million Americans call home.
The City owns and maintains all of the Aurora parkways trees. Trees are pruned when necessary throughout the year. We ask that residents help out by watering trees during drought conditions. Newly planted trees need special attention to ensure they become established. It would be helpful if residents water new parkway trees every 10 to 14 days, for two years after transplanting. If there is a problem with a parkway tree, please call Customer Service at (630) 256-INFO (4636).
Spring and Fall Tree planting
The City plants a limited quantity of 2-inch caliper trees each year along city-owned parkways. A majority of the trees are planted in fall; however some tree species are planted in the spring because they respond better to transplanting at this time. Fall planting is usually finished by mid-November while spring planting is completed by mid-May.
The City tries to follow a tree-planting program that insures a wide diversity of tree species is planted throughout the community. Species diversity is an important step to help prevent against substantial tree canopy loss due to devastating diseases like the Dutch Elm disease of the 1950s and 60s, and more recently the Emerald Ash Borer.
2009 Tree Species Selection List
The City recently updated its Approved Street Tree Species List to include more than 70 different species. Many of the selections are trees native to Northern Illinois or improved cultivars bred to handle the tough site conditions and compacted soils found along our urban parkways.
Below are some of the tree selections planted in Fall 2008 and Spring 2009:
- State Street® Miyabe Maple, Acer miyabei ‘Morton’ - Miyabe Maple grows 30' to 40' tall and has a 20' to 30' spread, with a uniformly broad pyramidal growth habit. Fall color is pale yellow but very short in duration. Miyabe Maple adapts to a variety of soil types and site conditions. It is also very tolerant of drought, heat, salt, and pollution.
- Kentucky Coffeetree, Gymnocladus dioicus (Native) - A young Kentucky Coffeetree starts off with an irregular, open-branching structure but ultimately becomes one of our most picturesque specimens; growing 60' to 75' tall and 40' to 50' wide. Kentucky Coffeetree is one of the last trees to leaf out in the spring. The foliage is blue-green, turning to yellow in the fall. Kentucky Coffeetree is adaptable to a wide range of city conditions.
Selected by the Society of Municipal Arborists as 2006 Urban Tree of the Year*
- Bur Oak, Quercus macrocarpa (Native) - Bur Oak is the preeminent tree of Midwestern savannas; it can survive floods, droughts, and even prairie fires, making it one the most urban-tolerant trees. The Bur Oak develops into a majestic, rugged-looking tree that ultimately grows 70' or greater in height and equally wide. Leaves are often lustrous dark green in summer while fall color is dull yellow to yellow-brown.
2001 Urban Tree of the Year*
- Chinkapin Oak, Quercus muehlenbergii (Native) - Chinkapin Oaks grow to become 40' to 60' tall and equally wide, developing a wide, open crown. Leaves have serrated edges like those of a chestnut tree, yellowish-green color during summer, and yellowish-brown color during the fall. Chinkapin Oaks are well adapted to our alkaline soils and become one of our most beautiful shade trees.
2009 Urban Tree of the Year*
- Bald cypress, Taxodium distichum ‘Shawnee Brave’ (Native) - The Bald cypress is actually a deciduous conifer, meaning it is a cone-bearing tree that loses its leaves in winter. The cultivar ‘Shawnee Brave’ develops into a narrow, pyramidal-shaped tree. Bald cypresses grow unique, feathery green foliage that turns coppery-bronze in the fall. Once established, the Bald cypress requires very little care.
2007 Urban Tree of the Year*
- Triumph Elm, Ulmus ‘Morton Glossy’ - Triumph Elm is a hybrid Asian elm developed at the Morton Arboretum in an effort to find a suitable replacement for the American elm. As a young tree, growth rate is up to three feet per year, slowing as the tree matures into upright, arching branches. Ultimately, a Triumph Elm will reach 50' to 60' tall and 40' to 50' wide. Leaves are dark green in summer with a yellow fall color. Triumph Elms have excellent disease and insect resistance, including a resistance to Dutch elm disease and elm yellows.
* The Society of Municipal Arborists conducts an Urban Tree of the Year competition to illustrate the importance of selecting the right tree for a planting site. The intent of this annual selection process is not to indicate that this tree is the perfect tree that can grow anywhere, but is to make municipal arborists aware of this tree and they should use it if a suitable site exists.
Suburban Tree Consortium
To better serve the interests of its citizens, the City of Aurora recently joined the Suburban Tree Consortium, a municipal cooperative created to insure that a reasonable supply and variety of parkway trees are available for planting at a practical cost. The Suburban Tree Consortium has five member nurseries that supply a quality selection of trees to more than 35 municipalities throughout Northern Illinois.