The City’s Forestry Section is responsible for the planting, pruning, and removal of all trees on City rights-of-way. The Forestry Section also conducts periodic public information workshops to inform citizens of tree-related care, needs, and issues.
October has been officially proclaimed OAKtober- Oak Awareness Month in Illinois
Check out this interactive map to see city owned OAK trees in the City of Champaign.
The interactive map features City-owned trees located in the right-of-way.
If you aren’t sure if a tree is your tree or if it belongs to the City, this map will highlight the trees that belong to the City.
- Type an address into the search bar at the top of the page and click “enter.” The page will zoom into the area you’re searching.
- Each little green circle on the map indicates a City-owned tree.
- Click on the circle and information on the family, species, and common name appear.
- Zoom in and the common names of the trees will appear next to the City-owned trees.
The University Avenue Tree Walk gives participants an opportunity to view over 50 different tree species located in a four-block area. The accompanying guide identifies each tree by address and provides a short species description, as well as leaf, stem, and fruit illustrations.
The interactive map features both City-owned and private trees locations and descriptions. Special thanks to retired City of Champaign Arborist Bill Vander Weit for assistance with updating the guide. Illustrations provided by Champaign Park District’s Jean Burridge.
The walk begins on the south side of the 1600 block of West University Avenue and continues east to the 1300 block. After crossing the street, return to the 1600 block, observing trees on the north side of the avenue.
Please be sure to read the Rules of the Tree Walk section as it relates to traffic safety, tree ownership, and tree species selection.
Why are City of Champaign trees pruned?
Pruning is done for the following reasons:
- Health – to remove dead or diseased limbs
- Structure – to promote a sound tree by removing weakly attached and broken branches, as well as limbs that conflict with each other
- Clearance – to allow for the clear flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic
- Future Growth – to “train” the tree to promote growth which will not conflict with the site
The pruning needs of a street tree are different than those of a park tree or a tree growing in your yard. The biggest difference is the need for pruning lower limbs to provide clearance for vehicular traffic and to prevent tree damage. The lower limbs of street trees need to be raised to a minimum of 14 feet for residential streets and 16 feet for arterial streets. These guidelines reflect nationally accepted standards for street tree clearance. Limbs may be removed above these heights, as many branches have a point of origin higher in the tree that will droop down below acceptable clearance levels. While limb removal may appear excessive, please note that the appearance of a newly pruned tree is temporary and becomes less noticeable over time.
Tree pruning is performed by knowledgeable arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). To qualify as a certified arborist, an individual must pass an examination covering a wide variety of topics dealing with tree anatomy, biology, and proper maintenance techniques. To maintain certification, City arborists attend seminars sponsored by the Illinois Arborist Association and related professional organizations. The continuing education units received from such training and seminars ensure that City arborists keep abreast of new information in the field of arboriculture.
With the growing number of satellite dishes, the City has received requests to prune City trees to provide a clear signal. The City will not prune to promote satellite dish reception. If appropriate, the City may issue a permit whereby the homeowner can employ a certified arborist to prune City trees; however, the City may refuse a permit if it deems this pruning unacceptable.
For more information on tree pruning, go to TreesAreGood.org and click on “Tree Care Information.”
The planting of trees on public right-of-way in Champaign is regulated by the City Vegetation Ordinance. This Ordinance establishes two ways to plant trees: The first is through Champaign’s Share-the-Cost tree planting program; the second is through a permit issued to adjacent homeowners or developers.
In this program, the City provides shade trees for planting on the public right-of-way at a cost of $135 per tree. The City cooperates with the adjacent homeowner to select the tree species, and the City plants the trees. The homeowner agrees to water the tree during dry periods for the first three years after planting. The City plants in both the spring and fall. Cutoff dates for enrollment are in late February for the spring and late August for the fall season. First time tree plantings in new developments are not eligible for participation in this program, as the developer is responsible for new tree planting on the right-of-way.
If you are interested in participating in the Share-the-Cost Tree Planting Program, please contact the Public Works Department at 217-403-4700 or by email to email@example.com.
Through the permit process, the adjacent homeowner obtains a free permit from the City to ensure selection of a proper species and proper location. The homeowner bears all the costs associated with planting. As with the cost-share program, the homeowner agrees to water trees during dry periods for the first three years of planting.
Developers are required to plant trees on the City right-of-way in new developments. Because of the large scale of plantings, adjacent homeowners can not request a particular species or location. The developer guarantees these trees for one year. If the tree dies after the development period, the homeowner may plant using the Share-the-Cost program or the permit process.
Once a tree is planted on City right-of-way, it becomes the property of the City. The City is responsible for all maintenance. Permits can also be issued for tree maintenance. In those cases, the work must be performed by or under the supervision of a certified arborist. To obtain a list of certified arborists, contact the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) at TreesAreGood.org.
Tree Planting Standards
- The planting hole should be 12″-24″ larger in diameter than the diameter of the root ball, and root balls shall be placed on undisturbed subgrade to prevent settling.
- The root flare, where roots spread at the tree base, should always be at the ground line. Often nurseries mound soil around the tree base above the root flare. When balled with burlap, the basal flare is hidden. If the tree is planted with the top of the ball at ground line, the tree will have been planted too deeply.
- The twine holding the burlap around the ball must be cut and the burlap loosened from around the top of the ball. Wire baskets shall be removed from the top one-half of the root ball prior to backfilling.
- The hole should be backfilled and gently tamped so that no air pockets are left around the ball. Backfill soil should not be amended unless planting in building rubble, poor, or severely disturbed soils.
- The trunks should be vertical after planting.
- Excess soil should be removed from the site and a 3″ to 4″ thick layer of wood chip mulch placed around the base of the tree. Avoid placing wood chip mulch directly in contact with the trunk.
- Plants should be watered at the time of planting.
- Protective tree wrap should be removed after planting.
- Staking is not typically recommended; however, when necessary, follow current recommendations of City Forester. Wire in a hose is unacceptable.
- Plants should be pruned after planting only to remove broken or dead branches.
- Planting Criteria: The parkway must be 6 feet or more in width.
- Trees must be 6 feet from driveways, alleys, and fire hydrants.
- Trees must be 20 feet from street lights, stop signs, and traffic signals.
- Trees must be 30 feet from intersections.
- Trees must be located a minimum of 50 feet from adjacent trees.
- The planting site should be free of overhanging crown growth from trees growing off the right-of-way.
The City maintains a list of tree species approved for planting on the City right-of-way. Trees are selected for insect and disease resistance, adaptability to local climate and soils, resistance to ice and wind damage, sound structure, and desirable growth habits.
Some trees prohibited for planting on the City right-of-way are excellent yard or park trees, but are not suitable for street tree use because of an abundance of fruit which may litter streets or clog sewer inlets, or, as in the case of evergreens, because they present visibility problems.
Please note that any planting on the City right-of-way requires a permit, available free from Public Works.
Approved Tree Species List
|Small Trees (Only permitted for use where overhead restrictions exist such as utility lines.)|
|Crabapple (cultivars resistant to apple scab)||Hawthorn (thornless)||Laurel magnolia|
|Corneliancherry dogwood||Hornbeam||Loebner magnolia|
|Kousa dogwood||Japanese tree lilac||Redbud|
|Pagoda dogwood||Amur maple||Serviceberry|
|Paperbark maple||Carolina silverbell||Tatarian maple|
|Tree form viburnum|
|Medium to Large Trees|
|Black alder||Ironwood||Chestnut oak|
|Basswood||Crimean linden||Red oak|
|American beech||Littleleaf linden||Shingle oak|
|European beech||Silver linden||Shumard oak|
|Armur corktree||Cucumbertree magnolia||Swamp white oak|
|Elm (cultivars resistant to Dutch elm disease)||Black maple||White oak|
|Turkish filbert||Freeman maple||Dawn redwood|
|Ginkgo (male)||Hedge maple||Hardy rubber tree|
|Sugar hackberry||Sugar maple||Black tupelo|
|European hornbeam||Bur oak||Yellowood|
|Chinkapin oak||Japanese zelkova|
Trees that may NOT be planted along public rights-of-way in Champaign:
|Apple||Flowering dogwood||Pin oak|
|Arborvitae||American elm||Scarlet oak|
|Blue ash||Siberian elm||Russian olive|
|Green ash||Slippery elm||Osage orange|
|Mountain ash||Empress tree||Peach|
|Chestnut||Silver maple||Tree of Heaven|
|Siberian elm||White ash||Eastern hemlock|
|Honeylocust||Northern red oak||Arborvitae|
|American linden||Eastern white pine||Ginkgo|
|Black cherry||Bur oak||American sweetgum|
|Black locust||Sugar maple||White oak|
|Silver maple||Swamp white oak|
|Pin oak||Littleleaf linden|
|Green ash||Silver linden|
There are over 20,000 trees located on City rights-of-way, consisting of over 150 species. The following list shows the species distribution of all trees over one percent.
City of Champaign Tree Species Distribution
(Unapproved Species appear in Gold Type)
- Red Maple 11.4%
- Sugar Maple 7.6%
- Silver Maple 6.8%
- Red Oak 6.7%
- Swamp White Oak 5.8%
- White Ash 4.3%
- Littleleaf Linden 3.4%
- Crabapple 3.2%
- Freeman Maple 3.0%
- Norway Maple 3.0%
- Bur Oak 2.8%
- Sweetgum 2.6%
- Green Ash 2.5%
- Hackberry 2.1%
- Elm 2.0%
- Pin Oak 1.9%
- Pear 1.9%
- Sycamore 1.9%
- Tuliptree 1.8%
- Honeylocust 1.7%
- American Linden 1.4%
- Chinkapin Oak 1.3%
- Ginkgo 1.2%
- Baldcypress 1.0%
Tree removal occurs when:
- a tree is dead or dying, a tree is considered irreparably hazardous
- a tree is causing an obstruction that is impossible to correct through pruning
- a tree is crowding and causing harm to other trees
- a tree is to be replaced by a more suitable specimen, or
- to allow for new construction
Replacement of removals: When spacing allows, all removals will be replaced at City expense.
Exceptions to this rule are:
- Trees less than 6″ in diameter, which were not originally planted by the City.
- These trees may be replaced through the Share-the-Cost Planting Program, or adjacent homeowners may plant using the City’s approved species list.
- When the parkway is too narrow or existing trees too close to the proposed planting site.
The City is responsible for the maintenance of all trees located on the City right-of-way. Service requests for emergency and hazardous tree requests will be handled immediately. Non-emergency requests are typically completed within 8-12 weeks. Exceptions to this rule are requests for pruning in a section or adjacent section currently scheduled for pruning, or requests for removals, that are not imminently hazardous and can be put on an annual removal contract.
Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an exotic insect that has killed millions of ash trees in the Midwest, was first reported in North America in June of 2002, when it was identified as the agent causing tree mortality in the Ontario and Detroit areas. The beetle probably arrived in solid wood packing material that came from Asia. Infestations were discovered in Illinois in June of 2006, and in Champaign County in September of 2010. As of July 2014, EAB has been found in 27 states and two Canadian provinces.
On June 15, 2012 the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed an EAB infestation along Market Street, just south of Interstate 74. The State of Illinois is under Federal quarantine. This means that EAB regulated articles are prohibited from exiting Federal quarantine boundaries without Federal permits. For a fuller definition of “regulated articles,” a map of quarantined areas, as well as up-to-date information on this pest, visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture Emerald Ash Borer infosite.
Since the spread of this insect has occurred primarily through firewood from infested trees, the City asks homeowners to use caution when purchasing firewood. Do not purchase firewood that has come from infested areas, or move firewood from other states! Since it is difficult to identify firewood sources, limit your purchases to locally obtained firewood.
Please note that there is a native ash borer, as well as many emerald ash borer lookalikes. Check the emerald ash borer information page at www.emeraldashborer.info for positive identification, and also to determine if the tree you are examining is an ash tree.
If you think you have found an emerald ash borer, please call the local University of Illinois Extension office at 217-333-7672, or call the City of Champaign Forestry Section at 217-403-4700, and we will forward the information to the Extension office.
Emerald Ash Borer Action Plan
The following are steps taken by the City of Champaign in order to reduce the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) population.
- All species of ash trees are prohibited from being planted on Champaign rights-of-way.
- The Forestry Section will not prune healthy ash trees through routine section pruning, or fulfill requests to prune ash trees outside of the current section pruning area (with the exceptions of hazardous trees). This strategy will avoid using resources to prune trees that will need to be removed in the near future. In these cases the adjacent homeowner can hire a certified arborist to prune the tree, or, upon request, the City can remove the ash tree and replace with a new tree if there is adequate spacing (a minimum of 50′ between parkway trees).
- If declining or structurally poor ash trees are found, they will be removed, and, if spacing allows, replaced with an alternate species.
- There are insecticide options for protecting trees from EAB; however, these require application on an annual basis for the life of the tree. The City of Champaign has chosen to inject insecticides in order to protect 30 ash trees on City rights-of-way. Adjacent homeowners may apply insecticides to trees on rights-of-way; however, a free permit is required and the cost in these instances would be borne by the homeowner. You can download the permit form and send it to the Champaign Public Works Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to 702 Edgebrook Drive Champaign, Illinois, 61820.
- The Forestry Section continues to examine ash trees for the presence of EAB on a routine basis and responds to citizen calls for information and potential sightings of EAB.
- The City has signed a State of Illinois Emerald Ash Borer Compliance Agreement, and private tree contractors doing work for the City are also required to sign the agreement. Compliance to the agreement will ensure that regulated materials (trees, logs, firewood, and wood chips greater than one inch (1″) in diameter) are not moved outside the quarantined area.
- Ash trees removed by the City will be covered, transported, and processed in accordance with established Federal guidelines. Processing will consist of using tub grinder to convert large logs into chips. The City will only utilize contractors or vendors that are able to comply with established guidelines and will seek competitive pricing.
- The City has designated Capital Improvement Funds for ash tree removal. These funds will be used for the contractual removal of large ash trees.
- Since the development of the City’s EAB Response Strategy in 2006, over 1,600 ash trees have been removed from City rights-of-way.
Frequently Asked Questions on EAB Champaign
What does EAB eat? All ash species and cultivars are potential hosts. EAB larvae feed on the cambium layer directly under the bark and the adult beetles feed on the foliage.
Where is EAB from? This beetle is native to Asia and arrived in the United States sometime before 2002–most likely in wood packing materials.
How did it get to Champaign? Most EAB infestations in the U.S. have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants, or sawmill logs. The adult beetle also can fly short distances (½ to 1 mile).
Should I be concerned about EAB? Yes. There are about 1,400 ash trees in the public right-of-way in Champaign and an estimated two to three times more on private properties.
How do I know if I have an ash tree on the right of way adjacent to my property? One source to check tree identification is to view the City trees map.
Questions about ash trees on the Champaign rights-of-way can be directed to the City of Champaign Public Works Department at 217-403-4700.
How to identify an ash tree? Ash trees can be identified by some of the following characteristics:
Photos courtesy of Dr. David Robert’s MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
How do I know if my tree is infested? Look for the following symptoms:
- Thinning or dying branches in the top of the tree
- Water sprouts (suckers) halfway up the trunk
- Feeding notches on the edge of leaflets
- Woodpecker feeding sites/many bark flakes on the lawn
- S-shaped feeding galleries under dead bark
- D-shaped exit holes (⅛” diameter)
Who can help me determine if my private ash tree is infested? Contact local authorities if you suspect EAB in your tree. Questions regarding ash trees on private property can be forwarded to the University of Illinois Extension at 217-333-7672, or contact your local certified arborist or tree care specialist.
I have removed my ash tree. Where can I dispose of the wood debris? The State of Illinois continues to be designated as an EAB quarantine zone. This means the movement of all “regulated articles” (ash trees and non-coniferous firewood) outside of the quarantine zone is prohibited. For a fuller definition of “regulated articles” please visit: www.agr.state.il.us/eab.
The following options are available for processing infested ash wood to kill EAB or prevent completion of its life cycle and spread to uninfested trees:
- Chipping – ash wood, brush and stump grindings must be chipped or ground down to a maximum size of no more than 1″ in 2 dimensions (two of the three measurements – length, width and depth – must be 1″ or smaller).
- Debarking – complete removal of all bark plus ½” of wood. Note that the removed bark and wood must be chipped down to a maximum size of 1” by 1” in 2 dimensions.
Locally, the Landscape Recycling Center in Urbana can recycle brush and bulk wood. To learn more about drop-off guidelines and prices, visit the Landscape Recycling Center website.
Are chemical treatments an option? Maybe, for more information please visit the emeraldashborer.info website.
What is the City of Champaign doing about the EAB problem? The City’s arborists will continue to monitor and remove ash trees infected by the EAB and assist with the planting of replacement trees of a varied species for impacted areas. The City continues to reduce the ash tree population by prohibiting the planting of ash trees on rights-of-way and ensuring the public is aware of the EAB infestation. Champaign currently has less than 500 ash trees on the right-of-way, which is approximately 2 percent of the street tree population. To date, 30 trees have been chemically treated to help protect them from EAB.
Homeowners and other tree owners can find many additional resources at TreesAreGood.org. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) sponsored website provides everything from educational activities to advice on how to find an arborist in your area.
For more information, contact:
City of Champaign
Public Works Department/Forestry Section
702 Edgebrook Drive
Champaign, IL 61820