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Projects Updates for Tree Campus Higher Education

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  1. Article: Preservation of Century-Old Trees Near Siebel Center

    Associated Project(s): 

    Julie Wurth, iSEE Communications Specialist, released an article highlighting the preservation of century-old trees during the construction of the new Siebel Center for Design. These trees are rooted in the university's early history and serve as "remnants of a windbreak that protected a vast experimental orchard planted there in the late 19th century by botanist Thomas Jonathan Burrill, a pioneer in plant pathology and the third University of Illinois President (1891-94)."

    Read the article as a PDF in the attachments or proceed to its posting in iSEE's News Releases!

  2. Master Naturalist Native Tree and Shrub Sale

    Associated Project(s): 

    Interested in expanding the use of native flora in your yard or garden? East Central Illinois Master Naturalists (ECIMN) is hosting a native tree and shrub sale. Our soil and climate have tested these plants for 8,000 years, it's a good bet they will work for you! The way it works is that you have August 1 - September 28 to research, plan, order, and pay for your selection of native trees and/or shrubs and we will have them available for pick up in October when it is the perfect time for planting.


  3. Tree Campus USA Celebration - Zoom Meeting

    Thank you to everyone who joined us live or watches later on the CCNet Facebook page!  We enjoyed a great turnout for the Tree Campus USA Celebration, with about 35 people on the Zoom call and a reach of 365 on Facebook.

    This event included a review of the five years that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been designated as a Tree Campus USA, by Brent Lewis. Senior in Integrative Biology student, Maddie Smith, presented the results of her diversity analysis for the campus' urban forest, and the F&S Tree Surgeons, Dustin Reifsteck and Sky Drewes, answered tree-related questions.  At the end of the hour, community announcements included Arbor Day and Earth Month events coming up.

    Celebrate National Arbor Day next week on April 24, 2020!

    Links from announcements and presentation

    The event concluded with a round of thanks, and several were captured in the chat log.

    12:56:43     From  Eliana Brown : Thank you to the Grounds Dept!
    12:58:28     From  Samantha Fisher : Thank you for this presentation! I really enjoy your monthly presentations.
    13:00:02     From  Stacy Gloss : Thanks CCNET for a great presentation today. Awesome collaborative effort.  Everyone have a great day!
    13:00:33     From  ekamarah : Thank you everyone for these interesting presentations and conversations. Have a great day.
    13:00:37     From  Brent Lewis : Yes, thank you everyone!
    13:00:49     From  Eliana Brown : Thank you, everyone! Great job!
    13:01:08     From  pattsi : Stay well everyone
    13:01:12     From  Marya Ryan : Yes, great presentations! So glad to reconnect with CCNet after a few years away.
    13:01:24     From  Miranda Vieson : Thanks!
    13:01:25     From  Marcus Ricci : It was a great presentation, with all of the different presenters nicely tying in to the theme. The Q&A was cool.
    13:01:26     From  Jenna Kurtzweil : Thanks, everyone!!
    13:01:26     From  Kate Gardiner : Love CCNet, thanks Morgan!

  4. Arbor Day Celebration to be alternate format

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hello Tree Campus USA Committee,

    Thanks to those of us who were able to join the web-call this morning.  Here are brief notes about our discussion and next steps:

    • I shared that the Arbor Day Foundation has removed the requirement for a proclamation and celebration this year.  We discussed options and decided to still do something online for Arbor Day.
      • Andrew is going to talk with Mike Brunk about the process he had gone through for the proclamation, and let us know if he thinks we should proceed this time with trying to get a proclamation signed by the mayors and chancellor.
      • I am going to take the lead on identifying something that we can do online this spring.  Please send me any suggestions you have. Here are some we discussed this morning:
        • Jay suggested an infographic
        • Meredith suggested a connection to the Earth Month Bingo event that iSEE is hosting
        • I suggested sharing information about how to plant a tree
        • Kevin suggested including information about how to trim trees for private property
        • The Arbor Day Foundation sent the note below after our call, and they intend to provide some resources for ideas
    • Kevin and Ryan shared that their staff are not at work now, with the exception of a few employees watching the trees for safety purposes.

    Our next group meeting is April 27 at 9am, but we will be in touch during the next few weeks to finalize plans for April 24th.

    Thank you,

    Message from the Arbor Day Foundation:

  5. Eco Talk: The perils of the Bradford pear tree


    Eco Talk: The perils of the Bradford pear tree

    Bradford pear trees

    Bradford pear trees. Deposit Photos

    Judy Wright Special to The Citizen Jan 23, 2020 Updated 16 min ago

    As I write this column today, I am thinking about spring and looking forward to the flowering trees when spring does arrive. I am hopeful, as the up-and-down temperatures of this winter have caused some trees that bloom early to have their flower buds start to swell. I am sure we can remember some springs when the flowering trees either did not flower or their flowers were fewer in number than normal because a hard cold snap that damaged the swollen flower buds.

    One of the trees I used to look forward to seeing is now considered by some, and justifiably so, to be an invasive species. Unfortunately, the Bradford pear, also referred to as a callery pear, was planted just about everywhere in the 1990s because of its dense cone shape and white flowers. I recall seeing them everywhere, and how pretty the trees were when flowering. These trees were also chosen, at one time, as the urban tree of the year!

    Since then, we have learned that these trees, in spite of their visual appeal, did not come without problems. Imported from China in the 1960s by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an ornamental tree, they produce an unpleasant scent when flowering. Also, the branches and even the trunks are very weak and can break under snow, ice and even a strong wind. To counteract this weakness, other varieties of the Bradford pear were quickly introduced.

    At the time of their introduction as an ornamental tree, it was assumed the Bradford pear trees were sterile and would not produce any fruit. Part of that was correct, they do not produce fruit. however, as the newer, stronger varieties were introduced, it was later learned that they would cross-pollinate with the older varieties, and now they have become an environmental threat in eastern forests. Apparently, the newer varieties of Bradford pears would produce fruit that birds would eat, carry into the forest and deposit the seeds, which would grow.

    As the seeds grow into seedlings, the new plants carry the older genetics of the older callery pears, which produce thorns measuring up to 4 inches. It is reported that these thorns are very sturdy and can even destroy tractor tires! Once established, the thickets take over native forest trees like dogwoods, maples, oaks and redbud. Many of these native tree species produce fruit that is nutritious and palatable to birds and other animals, while the callery pear fruit has little nutritional value.

    So now you may realize you have a problem growing in your landscape and want to get rid of it. Suggested steps are to first cut the tree down and grind the root out. They will produce shoots or suckers from any remaining root pieces, so you will need to be vigilant and mow them off. They will continue to send shoots up for at least two years before all the root reserves are exhausted. Be vigilant!

    Once the shoots have stopped, consider replanting something more environmentally beneficial, such as maple or other shade trees. Redbuds or serviceberry will provide spring flowers, and Japanese maples are visually appealing. Many landscapers realize the damage the Bradford pears are causing and will not plant them. Recognizing the serious environmental problems the Bradford pears were causing, the state of Ohio passed legislation in 2018 stopping the sale or distribution of any callery pears by 2023.

    By the way, there are reported to be about 3,000 species of pear worldwide. Pears are relatives of apples and are a member of the rose family. They are native to Asia and Europe, and are reported to have arrived in America with the colonists when New England was settled in the 1600s.

    Unfortunately, this is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that I will write about an invasive species that we should be aware of. Invasive species are a significant problem all around the world. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlif/e Service, invasive species are costing the U.S. billions of dollars in damages each year.

    While this is staggering, if we each take time to learn about invasive species and then take steps to control those we can manage, such as removing Bradford pear trees even though they are pretty to look at when flowering, we may be able to stem the loss of valuable native species.

    Judy Wright is the senior agriculture specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Seneca County. For more information, visit or call (315) 539-9251 ext. 109.

  6. Message from IDNR, Mike Brunk

    Associated Project(s): 

    University of Illinois Home Yard and Garden newsletter is a great way to stay up on Illinois weed, disease and insect problems and management guidance.  With the below link you can sign up for direct emails notifications as well.


    Issue no. 9 of the Home, Yard & Garden Newsletter is now available on the Web. Point your browser to:


    White grubs

    White grub is a common name for the larvae of June beetles, chafers and Japanese beetles that feed on the roots of turfgrass.  The grubs can be found in the first 8 inches of soil beneath turfgrass.  They are white, C-shaped larvae, about 1 inch long and have 6 jointed legs attached close to their small brown head capsule.  Excessive root feeding by white grubs can leave turfgrass poorly anchored to the soil and can result in brown patches in a lawn that can be pulled back like a rug.  This can impact the aesthetics of a lawn and, in some cases, can make sports fields less safe for children and athletes.

    Nimblewill Noticeable During Hot Dry Conditions

    There have been a few recent calls about nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi).  With the hot, dry conditions we have had  lately, our cool-season turfgrass growth has slowed, making warm-season  nimblewill growth more noticeable.  While  cool-season turfgrasses are dormant, nimblewill is actively growing and  enjoying the lack of competition.  This  unbalance can allow nimblewill to be a serious weed problem.

    Fire Blight

    I have received a few reports and questions regarding fire  blight on ornamental pears. Fire blight is a bacterial disease that infects  approximately 75 different species of plants, all in the Rosaceae family. Apples,  pears, crabapples, and ornamental pears are the most seriously affected  species. Other rosaceous hosts include cotoneaster, hawthorn, quince,  firethorn, and mountain-ash.

    Bacterial Leaf  Scorch – New Molecular Service Available

    It’s the time of the year that we start seeing bacterial  leaf scorch symptoms develop in central Illinois, and several samples have been  submitted that appear to be infected in the last few weeks. We are now offering  a molecular test for this pathogen, which will reduce the turnaround time, and  because it’s more sensitive than the previous ELISA test, ca be used any time  during the growing season when symptoms appear.




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  7. Arbor Day Celebration

    Associated Project(s): 

    Arbor Day Celebration: If you've never met a state champion tree, now is your chance! The largest Yellowwood Tree (Cladrastis kentukea) in Illinois is on our campus, and it will be officially recognized by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on Friday, April 26, 2019, at noon. Please join Senior Associate Chancellor Mike DeLorenzo for the reading of the Arbor Day Proclamation, and the tree recognition ceremony in the green space to the north of Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall.

  8. Social Media Coordination between Red Oak Rain Garden and Tree Walk

    Hort Club is going to host an event on the April 25th (Thursday of Earth Week) for campus community members to try out the walk. Basically, we are just setting up a table on the quad and inviting everyone to come out, get the brochure/explore TreeKeeper, and do the self-guided tour. If you would like to share this event with your colleagues, that would be wonderful! I think it would be great if we had as many students, faculty, and CU community members as possible invited. I've attached a digital flyer to this email, and the link to the Facebook event: Illinois Earth Week Quad Tree Walk.


    -- Maddie Smith

  9. Chancellor Jones sends congratulations letter

    Associated Project(s): 

    Chancellor Jones sent a congratulatory letter to the Tree Campus Advisory Committee, in recognition of their efforts to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA. That letter, as well as the letter from the Arbor Day Foundation, are attached here.

    "Congratulations to all of the Campus Tree Advisory Committee on your efforts that led to Illinois being recognized as a Tree Campus USA for a third consecutive year! This is a very visible example of what our campus commitment to environmental sustainability looks like in practice. I also know that this recognition is not simply a paper honor handed out to every university that applies, but only goes to universities that meet the exacting criteria set out by the Arbor Day Foundation. Thank you for all your hard work. The new tree on the Quad planted to celebrate this latest honor is going to be a great addition to the campus skyline."

    Robert J. Jones, chancellor
    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  10. Campus Tree Inventory Recommendation - unit approval

    The ALUFS SWATeam recommended that F&S complete an update to the campus tree inventory.  This recommendation was supported by the iCAP Working Group, and the Campus Tree Advisory Committee.  During spring 2017, Director of iSEE Evan DeLucia and Interim Executive Director of F&S Helen Coleman both approved using Carbon Credit Sales funding to complete the inventory.  Campus Landscape Architect Brent Lewis will be responsible for initiating the inventory and working with Superintendent of Grounds Ryan Welch to oversee the progress.

    See iWG ALUFS002 Assessment.

    See SWATeam ALUFS002 Recommendation.

  11. Arbor Day Celebration planned for April 28, 2017

    Associated Project(s): 

    Five trees will be planted on the South Quad of campus, for the Arbor Day Celebration, on April 28, 2017. The agenda includes a welcome, a reading of the proclamation, an educational speech, the tree planting, and a trivia game.  Attendees will each be invited to add a shovel of soil to the newly planted trees.