Dec. 28, 2016 - When the calendar turns to 2017, a new section of Oak Park will be on the clock for winter tree pruning as the year-round effort to maintain the Village's urban forest continues.
The areas scheduled for pruning this season are between North Boulevard and Chicago Avenue from Austin Boulevard to Harlem Avenue and between Chicago Avenue and Division Street from Austin Boulevard to East Avenue.
Residents are urged to move their cars from the streets when temporary no-parking signs go up to allow private contractors to prune parkway trees quickly and safely as the winter trimming cycle continues through mid-April.
Crews follow the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidelines for tree care to address three key issues — tree health, resident safety and protecting property from damage. Dead or dying limbs are removed and canopies raised to allow for safe vehicle and pedestrian traffic and create appropriate clearances for adjacent structures and signs.
"Pruning is an important part of developing an urban forest," said Rob Sproule, the Village of Oak Park's Forestry superintendent. "While the pruning can seem excessive when no leaves are on the limbs, rest assured crews are working to ensure pruning is just right when leaves return in the spring."
With a program that aims to prune every tree on public property once every four years, plans must consider that the medium-aged trees that compose a sizeable share of those on Oak Park parkways can grow up to two feet each year — or eight feet between pruning cycles.
The Village’s pruning program has proven very successful in minimizing storm damage and reducing ongoing pruning requests. Village Forestry inspectors will spot-check the progress of private contractors. Residents are urged to call 708.358.5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns about the type or quality of work being performed by contractors.
More information on the care of the nearly 19,000 trees on public property is posted at www.oak-park.us/trees.