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A Quick Guide to Happy Trees

Arborist Ellie breaking up a large oak tree with a chainsaw.

The 10,000+ trees in our parks are in good hands with the Arbor Crew in our Operations Department.

One of our arborists, Ellie McGrew, took some time to help you with your trees at home by creating A Quick Guide to Happy Trees. Check it out below!


Planting A Tree

  • Pick the right tree for the right location.
  • Dig hole 3x wider than root ball.
  • Remove basket/wrap/container
  • Prune encircling roots
  • Locate natural root flare >>
    • Root Flare should be even or 1-2″ above soil grade.

  • Backfill with soil removed from hole
  • Water tree with deep slow watering
  • 2-4″ organic mulch covering root ball

After Planting Care

  • Use broad flexible material for staking.
  • Remove tree supports and stakes after 1-2 years so they do not grow into tree.
  • After planting a new tree, fertilizing & pruning are not recommended for 1 year.
  • Keep mulch off trunk. NO MULCH VOLCANOES!
  • Needs 1″ of water per week
    • Slow gentle soaking of the root zone

Signs of Disease

If you have any concerns about the health of your tree, please contact an arborist. But here are some signs for you to pay attention to:

  • Leaves falling during unusual times.
  • Curling or wilting leaves.
  • Oozing wounds on the trunk

For more tips, check out The Morton Arboretum Tree and Plant Care page. >>

CPD Tree Programs

The Champaign Park District currently plants over 100 trees per year, most of which have been donated to celebrate the birth of a child, honor the passing of a loved one or simply to recognize a special life moment. Visit our Tree Programs page for more information.

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