Centennial Tree Planting Initiative

Planting 1,000 trees for the next century

Trees for the next century

To celebrate its 100th year in 2022, The Morton Arboretum will plant 1,000 trees throughout the seven-county Chicago region.

The Arboretum’s Centennial Tree Planting Initiative will provide trees that will grow and spread their branches, making communities more beautiful and improving people’s lives for the next century and beyond. In the midst of a changing climate and other threats, the trees are essential to improve the urban forest and provide a multitude of benefits to people and the environment: cleaner air, energy savings, stormwater management, increased shade, improved mental health, greater support for wildlife and natural ecosystems, and more sheer beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Landowners in the impacted communities of Woodridge, Naperville, Darien, and unincorporated Downers Grove Township may request a free tree on a first-come, first-served basis. Information will be provided to help plant and appropriately care for the new trees.

  • One free tree is available to each landowner only in the communities affected by the June 20, 2021 tornado.

  • Qualified property owners will be notified of their selection at the end of October 2021, and trees will be delivered to communities for pick-up by landowners in spring 2022. Landowners are responsible for planting and caring for the trees.

  • Schools, municipal governments, park districts, and other organizations in the seven-county Chicago region interested in requesting trees as part of the Arboretum’s Centennial Tree Planting Initiative may complete this application form. Each site needs space for at least five trees. The requesting organizations are responsible for the care of the trees after they are planted.

Trees for the Next Century

The Centennial Tree Planting Initiative exemplifies the Arboretum’s commitment to planting the right tree in the right place, and providing the right care for trees to survive long-term. Arboretum experts will choose the right species of trees to thrive in each of the many, varied planting sites. The Arboretum will provide training and resources to help partners plant and care for the trees during the first three years, a critical time for new saplings. The knowledge that is spread through this effort will improve the care of trees and the regional forest for years to come.

Stronger Together

The plantings will be a partnership involving the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, the network of arboreta known as ArbNet, schools, communities, and organizations. Arboretum experts will work with planting site partners to determine local needs, assess site conditions, and identify the most suitable trees for each location. Planting partners will provide ongoing care to maintain the trees, with knowledge and training provided by the Arboretum.

Apply to be a planting site


Planting trees that will provide benefits to individuals and communities for many years to come. Make a gift to support the Centennial Tree Planting Initiative.

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