Major Tree Planting Initiative After a Decade of Neglect
May 10, 2014
Indian Boundary Park is headed for a restoration of its tree population this summer, head of the Chicago Park District’s tree-planting operation told the IBP’s Advisory Council on Thursday.
Barbara Wood, deputy director of natural resources for the CPD, said the planting of more than 100 shade trees will begin in May and be completed in June, raising the census of trees in the park to about 500 -- the thickest tree population in many years. Planting of ornamental trees was deferred to future years.
Indian Boundary lost more than 20 trees in recent years to disease and old age, but didn’t receive replacements.
“A park without trees is just a lawn,” said Ms. Wood, who holds BS and MS degrees in horticulture and landscape design, and has 25 years experience in planting trees throughout the CPD.
Indian Boundary’s trees will be drawn from 11 species, measure about four inches in trunk diameter, and stand 12-to-16 feet tall. They will reach much taller mature size in 25-to-30 years.
Among the species that will be planted are sugar maple, horsechestnut, Kentucky coffeetree and red oak.
Jane Pranga, president of the IBP Advisory Council, questioned whether the restoration will change the character of the park or create other problems.
Ms. Wood said that while that variety and size of the new trees will make a major visual impact on the park’s appearance, they won’t change the family-friendly way in which the park is used.
She also explained that the lowest branches of the trees will be about six feet above the ground, and thus won’t impede long vistas of the park or provide cover for graffiti artists or mischief-makers.
Key to her planting strategy will be enhancing pathways in the park and around open areas. She was insistent that Indian Boundary remain an area where low-impact recreation -- Frisbee tossing, catch, volleyball, etc. -- can flourish without obstruction from the new trees.
“The more people are engaged in a park,” she said, “the more the park is kept up.”
Of the 11 species Ms. Wood will plant, several were suggested by Daniel Ebel, an Advisory Council member and moderator of the Facebook page for People United to Improve Indian Boundary Park. For a full list of the species and their scientific names, see the People United page on Facebook.
The view of IBP looking north from the fieldhouse will look markedly different when trees are planted along the paths heading north toward the spray pool and west toward to the new Nature Center.