Trees are essential for a beautiful, livable environment and for human well-being. Yet the tree canopy has declined in quantity and quality across the seven-county Chicago region. Simply put, Chicago and the suburbs need more trees -- and more tree champions.
That is why The Morton Arboretum commends the Illinois Tollway for its decision to plant 58,000 trees along the 294-mile roadway system for the myriad benefits they provide to the region. As a partner in this project, we have shared our expertise in tree science and conservation to help the Tollway choose and cultivate trees that are suitable for planting along the roadway used by millions of people.
Further, this partnership provides a means for learning. Trees are living things, and their health matters. Roadside conditions present serious challenges to trees, including compacted soil and other stresses. The Arboretum will conduct scientific tree research at three sites along I-355 to advance knowledge about tree planting and care that will serve the Tollway, as well as other transportation providers and landowners.