Celebrating OAKtober

Planting oaks in the Ladd Arboretum

TreeKeepers joined members of the Ladd Arboretum Committee yesterday to prepare for next month’s planting of a grove of oak trees near the intersection of McCormick Boulevard and Green Bay Road. It’s part of OAKtober, a celebration of oaks and oak ecosystems coordinated by the Chicago Region Trees Initiative.

According to the Chicago Wilderness Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan, “Oaks and oak-dominated ecosystems provide myriad benefits within the Chicago region, including food and habitat for wildlife species, ecosystem functions such as carbon storage and water regulation, and natural beauty for the enjoyment of the people who inhabit the landscape. As a large, long-lived species, oaks are especially useful for climate mitigation via long-term carbon storage. Their vast canopies produce shade, which reduces urban heat island effects and can also reduce energy use in buildings, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The planting follows construction of an asphalt bike path through the arboretum, which brought protests from the community—and consolidated support for renewed efforts to restore and care for the city’s largest natural area.

— Wendy Pollock