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Projects Updates for Native Plants at Arboretum

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  1. Native Shrub Planting in the Southern Arboretum Woodlands

    Associated Project(s): 

    From: McSweeney, Kevin

    To: Reicherts, Jack; Marsaglia, Julia Raine

    Cc: Lee, Iris; Lynch, Lauren Rae; White, Morgan

    Recipients: ientsjackhr2 at; juliarm2 at; irislee3 at; lrlynch2 at; mbwhite at


    Hi Jack & Julia,


    Thank you for agreeing to follow up on the student-led planting of native shrubs in the Southern Arboretum Woodlands. This will be a valuable addition to the Campus Tree Committees report that will used in support of our application for renewal of our Tree Campus USA designation.


    I suggest you contact:


    1. Lauren Lynch (copied above) to get info about Prof. Jim Miller’s Restoration Ecology class that assisted with the shrub planting as part of the field component of the class. Lauren served as TA for the class.


    2. Iris Lee (Arboretum Staff) who compiled the list of native shrubs and supervised the operation and subsequently supervised Arboretum interns who watered and weeded around the plantings during the summer months.


    Funding from SSC helped support these project activities.


    Let me know if I can provide additional information.


    Best wishes,



    Kevin McSweeney
    Director, University of Illinois Arboretum
    ++608 712 4101 (‘phone, messages, WhatsApp)

  2. Meeting Minutes from Pollinator Call (07-12-2021)

    On July 12, 2021, Adam Dolezal, May Berenbaum, Layne Knoche, Eliana Brown, Morgan White, and Avery Maloto met over Zoom to discuss pollinator efforts on campus. The conversation included topics such as: Bloom Calendar, Red Oak Rain Garden, Dorner Drive Retention Pond, Setting up a BioBlitz, and more.

    See the attached file to view the minute notes. 

  3. continuing work

    Associated Project(s): 

    Red Bison currently works in this area about twice a month when weather permits. A small amount of honeysuckle remains from the beginning of restoration, and herbicide is applied to stumps after cutting. Nearby, along Lincoln Avenue, much of the persimmon has been removed.

  4. Arboretum Site Clearing and Native Plantings (2016) Agreement

    The former forest research area south of the main Arboretum grounds (near Lincoln Avenue and Windsor Road) has been neglected for over 20 years and has largely been overtaken by invasive plantings that have forced out the native flowering forbs and bushes that normally occur in healthy woodlands – leaving instead honeysuckle, which is unpalatable to almost all native insects and mammals.

    This project clears out the invasive species and begins the replanting efforts to restore native species to the area. Not only does this improve biodiversity around campus, but it also serves as an important educational opportunity for current students to witness the restoration process firsthand.

  5. An update from the South Arboretum Woods about the planting projects

    John Marlin (from Illinois Sustainable Technology Center) reported that the planting projects using SSC and ISEE grants are progressing well.

    The majority of the large honeysuckle was removed from the South Arboretum Woods, mostly by the fecon machine at a cost of $20,000. Student workers (mainly NRES and ESE) are taking out the remainder with hand tools and chainsaws and finishing the resprouts and seedlings with limited applications of herbicide. The woods was actually a former research plot where many species of trees were planted in blocks very close together. A number of trees will have to be removed in order to allow for the others to grow well and to let light penetrate to the ground.

    They also spent some time planting and weeding at plots at the Natural Resources Building, Burrill Hall, the Florida Orchard prairie and Lincoln Ave Residence (LAR) Hall. LAR contributed some funds toward planting.

    A Boy Scout Eagle Project was conducted at the woods.  They worked on three occasions removing garlic mustard and honeysuckle.   The Master Naturalists have also put in quite a few hours.

  6. Deer excluders at SAW

    Associated Project(s): 

    Over the weekend student and community members put up 3 deer excluders at the South Arboretum Woods. 

    WE will be continuing with honeysuckle removal and general cleanup. 

    We also now have a decent shed with a lock on site thanks to the Natural History Survey.  We can store items in it including red bison things. 


    John C. Marlin PhD.

    Research Affiliate

    Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

  7. Arboretum Native Plantings Award Letter

    The University of Illinois Arboretum has historically showcased formal displays of annual ornamental plants and selected trees. There is increased interest in developing plots and displays of native plants, especially those that are beneficial to pollinators. This project will introduce a variety of such native plants into several settings at the Arboretum. The Arboretum intends to use the plantings as an outdoor laboratory that will be used for formal and informal education about the role of native plants in provision of ecosystem services such as pollination adn improving soil quality. The experience gained will lay the ground work for future expansion of the concept including large plantings within selected locations and patches of clearly labeled plants that will allow visitors to learn their names and characteristics.
    The plantings will also provide physical examples of how small plantings can be used in personal and commercial landscapes. The use of perennial native plants will help the Arboretum assess the potential to save money and other resources by using more plants that do not have to be repurchased and replanted annually. The native plants along with improved habitat conditions will support a large number of local pollinators and other insect and bird species that are increasingly threatened by loss of habitat, and provide an instructional resource for university classes and local schools.

  8. Layout of Demonstration Plots

    Associated Project(s): 

    Here is the layout of the 4 prairie plots just west of the pollinatarium building and wooded area.  They are designed to give decision makers and homeowners an idea of how prairie plantings of different heights can look.

    The plant mix is good for pollinators and will have something in bloom most of the growing season, it was however limited by what we could get late in the late spring. 

    ~John C. Marlin, PhD, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

  9. Update from Bill Krudienier

    Associated Project(s): 

    There are native plants throughout the Arboretum and in concentrated paces around the ponds - wetland and mezic.  There is also a prairie just south of the Polinatarium, maintained by John Marlin and volunteers.