Morton Arboretum Launches New Tree Initiative


Morton Arboretum Launches New Tree Initiative

“Trees do so many different things. It’s hard to think of anything else that yields so much more benefit than planting trees. So why not do more,” said Gerald Donnelly, CEO of The Morton Arboretum.

New tree initiative

The Morton Arboretum kicked off Earth Day by launching the Centennial Tree Planting Initiative as part of its 100th anniversary celebration. 3,000 trees will be planted in seven counties in the Chicagoland area. About 21 different species will be planted from April 2022 to May 2023 to help add to the diversity of the regional forest and strengthen its resistance to threats such as pests and diseases.

Plant trees for 2022

Lydia Scott, director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, will help organize the planting of the new trees. She talked about the importance of tree diversification.

“We have age diversity in our trees. So this one, we don’t want all the trees to be the same age. So they all die at the same time. But taller trees and older trees store more carbon than smaller trees,” said director Lydia Scott.

Importance of trees

Older trees have died from age, rotting roots and high winds ripping them out of the ground. At Friday’s event, CEO Gerald Donnelly explained how crucial replacing them is, as trees are important to our daily lives.

“They filter pollutants from air and water; pollutants that we would rather not breathe or drink. And they also help reduce stormwater runoff. And of course they add beauty and value to our homes and communities and support a diversity of other living things,” said Morton Arboretum CEO Gerald Donnelly.

More than 300 trees planted through the initiative will be placed in local areas affected by the EF3 tornado in June 2021, including Naperville.


Originally 1,000 trees were going to be planted, but thanks to a large donation from Susan and Stephen Baird as well as donations from residents, 3,000 trees will now be planted this year.

To conclude the event, a lime tree was planted at the arboretum.

For Naperville News 17, I’m Tim Jacobi

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