Library Pathfinder Series

Tree Planting

Content Detail

In April we celebrate Arbor Day, a holiday dedicated to planting, caring for, and celebrating trees. To encourage the planting of trees, the first Arbor Day was organized in tree-barren Nebraska in 1872. The Morton family motto was “Plant Trees,” which inspired Joy Morton, president of the Morton Salt Company in Chicago, to carry on the tradition by establishing The Morton Arboretum in 1922. Today, all 50 states and many countries around the world recognize Arbor Day in honor of trees and their value to us. Arbor Day in Illinois is the last Friday in April, but other states observe Arbor Day on different dates according to their best tree-planting times.

Adding trees that are properly selected and placed to your home landscape can yield economical, environmental, and social benefits. Consider adding a tree to your landscape! For more information on how to plant a tree, view the Arboretum’s webpage How to Plant Trees and explore the resources below.

Matching the tree species to the site where you are planning to plant it is crucial for the tree’s success. Explore the Chicago Region Tree Initiative’s Homeowner Hub for trusted information on selecting, planting, and caring for trees.

The Arboretum’s Selecting and Planting Trees Guide can assist you in selecting a tree that will thrive in our region and give you tips on how to plant your tree.

The Arboretum’s Northern Illinois Tree Species list describes trees that grow well in Northern Illinois with recommendations on planting sites for each species.

For additional guidance, check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to determine if your tree will be a good fit for your region.

Ready to take an even deeper dive? Take a look at some of the resources available through the Sterling Morton Library.

Resources on Tree Selection

Illinois Trees: Selection, Planting, and Care, by Cedric Carter

The Tree Book: Superior Selections for Landscapes, Streetscapes, and Gardens, by Michael Dirr

Pirone’s Tree Maintenance, by John R. Hartman, Thomas P. Pirone, and Mary Ann Sall*

Tree & Shrub Handbook: Selection, Care, Pests, Diseases, by The Morton Arboretum

Urban Trees: A Guide for Selection, Maintenance, and Master Planning, by Leonard E. Phillips Jr.

Native Trees of North America: From the Rockies to the Atlantic, by Guy Sternberg


*Access the Library’s e-book collection by entering the number on the back of your Sterling Morton Library card.

Resources on Tree Care

The Tree Doctor: The Care of Trees and Plants, Profusely Illustrated with Photographs, by John Davey

The Care & Repair of Ornamental Trees in Garden, Park, and Street, by Arthur Denis Carrington Le Sueur

The Care and Feeding of Trees, by Richard Murphy

The Tree Care Primer, by Christopher Roddick and Beth Hanson

Tree Biology and Tree Care: Photo Guide, by Alex Shigo

A New Tree Biology: Facts, Photos, and Philosophies on Trees and Their Problems and Proper Care, by Alex Shigo

Tree Care Handbook, by The Morton Arboretum


*Access the Library’s e-book collection by entering the number on the back of your Sterling Morton Library card.