Extension Educator, Horticulture
If you need a reason to get your overstuffed body out of your overstuffed chair, why not venture outside to appreciate the native trees of Illinois. Prairies and farm fields are the common images of Illinois landscapes; however, trees are also an integral part of our Illinois heritage.
Just a few facts about Illinois trees:
This is a great time to get outside. Once trees have shed their leaves each bony branch and twisted trunk in the forest tells a story. To make the journey even more fun consider getting involved in the Illinois Big Tree Register to locate and nominate champion trees native to Illinois. Initiated in 1962 The Illinois Big Tree Register fosters appreciation of Illinois trees and provides a format to discover and record the largest native tree species in the state. The Illinois Big Tree Register is part of a cooperative effort between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the National Register of Big Trees.
A few of the state champions are nearby. The largest yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava) is in Danville. State champions white ash (Fraxinus americana), chestnut oak (Quercus prinus) and Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) are in Springfield. State champion green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) is in Clinton and Charleston is home to the state champion hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).
I'm sure there are plenty of undocumented champion trees just waiting for someone to notice their grandeur and nominate them. Everyone is encouraged to submit their nominations to the Illinois Big Tree Register. For a complete list of champion native trees and their locations and how to get involved in The Illinois Big Tree Register http://web.extension.illinois.edu/forestry
If trees as lumber is more your thing, join us for the workshop "Recovering and Utilizing Hardwood Trees" on Thursday, December 1 from 8am-4pm at the Rantoul Recreation Center 100 East Flessner Avenue in Rantoul, IL. The workshop instructs municipal forest managers and arborists on how to obtain the highest possible use for the wood from their urban and suburban trees. This program deals with management issues such as markets, contracts and other removal considerations. A morning of classroom instruction is followed by hands-on outdoor sessions concerning log and standing tree grading, whole log removals, sawmill demonstrations, and insight into the lumber produced by urban trees.
The program is offered thanks to: Illinois Emerald Ash Borer Wood Utilization Team, Purdue University, USDA APHIS and PPQ, IDNR, Illinois Arborist Association, University of Illinois Extension and The Village of Rantoul. 6.75 CEUs available for arborists. Cost is $35 including lunch and materials.