Forestry Services

With more than 15,000 trees growing in the parkway, the Village of Northbrook has been recognized as a Tree City U.S.A. community since 1994. The Village received the Tree City Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation 11 times since 1998 for replanting parkway trees.

Forestry Concerns or Questions

Contact Public Works at 847-272-4711 or via GONorthbrook if:

  • A parkway tree has died, needs trimming, or a parkway tree stump needs removal.
  • You need advice on tree selection, pruning, or special care.
  • A parkway tree appears to have an unusual problem, disease, or infestation, or is potentially hazardous an needs to be evaluated.
  • You wish to participate in our annual cost sharing tree planting program.
  • You need to report broken or low-hanging tree limbs.
  • You want an arborist to answer questions about trees, identify tree species, identify trimming options for trees on a neighbor’s property, and discuss treatments for common tree ailments.

If a tree poses an immediate danger, you may call the Police Department’s non-emergency line, 847-564-2060.

Tree Removal Permits

The Village places significant emphasis on trees and their environmental, economic, and social benefits and specifically their ability to reduce stormwater runoff, air pollution, and energy costs while increasing property values.

While there is no application fee for tree removals, tree removals completed without a permit are subject to a “working without a permit fee” as outlined in the annual fee ordinance. Additional fees or replacement fees may be applicable depending on the tree illegally removed.

A tree removal permit is required:

  • To remove a tree over six inches in diameter, four and a half feet tall, or with multiple trunks and a combined diameter of twelve inches or more from your property, regardless of the tree’s condition. For private property removals, a Village arborist will consult with you to discuss your plans, possible alternatives, and the approval required before the removing a tree.
  • For tree removals associated with a building permit application. The Village evaluates the lot and issues a separate permit for proposed tree removals. Conditional tree permits carry a replacement guarantee or fee in lieu of replanting.

When replacing trees, applicants should consult the Tree Replacement List.

Heritage and Landmark Trees

Heritage or landmark tree species designated as heritage or landmark (see below lists) typically require additional approval. Trees listed as heritage or landmark include all genius species, varieties and cultivar.

Heritage Trees (removals require Village Board approval)

  • American Elm (36” or greater)
  • Oak (30” or greater)
  • Hickory (16” or greater)
  • Ironwood (10” or greater)

Landmark Trees (removals may require Village Board approval)

  • Bald Cypress (12" or greater)
  • Basswood (American Linden) (12" or greater)
  • Black Walnut (12" or greater)
  • Buckeye (12" or greater)
  • Cedar (including Red/White single stem) (12" or greater)
  • Dawn Redwood (12" or greater)
  • Fir (12" or greater)
  • Gingko (male) (12" or greater)
  • Hickory (6" or greater)
  • Ironwood (6" < 10" in diameter)
  • Kentucky Coffeetree (12" or greater)
  • Norway Maple (including Schwelder and Crimson King) (12" or greater)
  • Oak (8" - 30" in diameter)
  • Red Maple (12" or greater)
  • Spruce (including Colorado, Green, Norway, White) (12" or greater)
  • Sugar Maple (12" or greater)
  • White Pine (12" or greater)

Special Exceptions

In emergencies, hazardous trees posing an immediate threat may be removed after regular business hours (7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) without a permit. You must notify the Tree Preservation Officer the following business day and submit a tree removal application documenting the condition of the tree with photos prior to removal.

Public & Parkway Tree Care

  • Parkway Tree Planting: On average, the Village plants 225 new trees to replace those removed due to death or disease. Information regarding the 2019 cost-sharing program is not yet available.
  • Tree Trimming: Annual tree trimming promotes tree health, protects motorists and pedestrians from low hanging branches, and prevents unnecessary damage during storms. Trimming is performed on a seven to nine year cycle and typically occurs between October and April (when the tree is dormant). Staff completes emergency requests as soon as possible and non-emergency requests within five to six weeks of receipt.
  • Tree Treatments and Pest Removal: As needed, the Village completes necessary pest removal or treatments, including treatments for Dutch Elm Disease, Emerald Ash Borer, scaling, or other nutrient deficiencies.
  • Tree Removal: The Village removes dead and diseased public trees identified by resident request or staff inspections. From removal to final site restoration, the tree removal process takes approximately eight weeks.

Private Tree Care

Trees are your most valuable landscape asset. While lawns are easily replaced, trees are not. Check out these Tree Care Tips and Mulching Tips.

During a DroughtVillage Employee Filling a Tree Gator Bag

Even large trees need help to survive a drought. Stress from drought can impact a mature tree and cause it to die over the next several years. It is recommended that you put a hose out by your tree and allow it to trickle at a slow rate for one to two hours minimum at least once a week in the early morning or late evening. You may also put a soaker hose around the base of the tree, or use a “gator” green slow release watering bag. For larger trees, multiple bags can be placed around the tree. You can find “gator” bags at your local Northbrook garden center or hardware store.

Fertilizers

Do not fertilize trees during a drought period. Fertilizers are salt-based; they will leach water from and “burn” the tree. Wait until after mid-September and monitor rainfall totals. If we have a dry fall, wait until spring to fertilize. Fertilizer should be low in Nitrogen and Phosphorous and preferably time-released. A certified arborist may assist you with a fertilization program.

If normal rainfall returns, you do not need to continue an intense watering schedule. In addition, as days shorten and nighttime temperatures cool, you may cut back on watering to once a week. It’s important to keep your tree watered until fall.

Small Tree Maintenance

Small trees that are less than five years old need more frequent watering than mature trees. Water your small trees at least two to three times per week. Larger trees can be watered once every 10 days. The key is to water slowly and evenly for long periods to promote soaking.

Did you know? Keeping grass around the base of the tree will deprive your tree of much needed water. When grass and trees compete for water and nutrients, grass will win every time.Photo of Properly Mulched Tree (Courtesy of International Society of Arboriculture)

Using Mulch for Care

To allow for ample soil moisture and moderate soil temperature, mulch is best for your tree. A mulch ring to the drip-line of the tree (outer reach of branches) is ideal. However, if you don’t want such a large mulch ring, a minimum of three foot circumference around will suffice. Use a processed hardwood mulch as it decomposes slowly and has a rich, brown color that blends well with most landscapes.

You can pick-up free wood chips at the Public Works Department anytime. The mulch is on the left side as you pull in the main driveway. Remember to bring your own container and shovel.