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Press Release: The Morton Arboretum helping replace trees lost to tornado

The Arboretum has launched a fundraising effort to plant 1,000 trees in the Chicago region as part of its 100th anniversary celebration

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LISLE, Ill. (August 9, 2021)— Private landowners lost hundreds of trees during a tornado that struck the Western suburbs of Chicago on June 20, 2021, and The Morton Arboretum is working to replace up to 300 of them as part of its Centennial Tree Planting Initiative in 2022.

The Arboretum has launched a fundraising effort to plant 1,000 trees in the Chicago region as part of its 100th anniversary celebration in 2022, including providing one free tree for up to 300 private landowners affected by the tornado in Woodridge, Naperville, Darien and unincorporated Downers Grove Township.

Private landowners affected by the tornado may request one tree per address on a first-come, first-served basis by completing this Tornado Recovery Tree Request Form. Only landowners who lost a tree due to the June 20 tornado are eligible to apply. 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.

Longevity and sustainability are key elements of the Arboretum’s Centennial Tree Planting Initiative. “It’s important to select the right trees for each location and ensure the right care so they have the best chance of growing into a mature canopy that will provide benefits to individuals and communities for many years to come,” said Murphy Westwood, Ph.D., the Arboretum’s vice president of science and conservation. Those benefits include cleaner air, energy savings, stormwater management and natural beauty, Westwood noted.

The Arboretum’s Centennial Tree Planting Initiative is a partnership effort involving the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, the ArbNet network of arboreta, schools, communities and organizations. Tree experts will work with each site to determine local tree planting needs, assess site conditions and identify the most suitable trees, with a minimum of five trees per location. Volunteer tree planting events will be coordinated with each site, and planting guidance and tree care resources will be provided. “Adequate watering is especially important during the first three years, a critical time period for new saplings,” Westwood explained.

Large, non-residential property owners such as schools, places of worship, businesses, municipal governments, park districts and other organizations in the seven-county Chicago region interested in requesting trees may complete The Morton Arboretum Centennial Tree Planting Initiative request form. The trees will be planted in spring 2022, fall 2022 and spring 2023.