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40 Trees Planted: How new trees fill gaps in Elmwood Park since losing hundreds

Posted at 9:09 AM, Nov 07, 2023
  • 40 newly planted trees in Elmwood Park
  • Diana Failla, president of the Midtown Neighborhood Alliance explains the need in the park
  • Volunteers with Midtown ReTree Program planted trees

Hundreds of trees like this big one – have been in Elmwood Park for years, but now there are 40 newly planted trees helping to fill the gaps of hundreds lost in previous years.

Along a busy walking path and street, now sit various new trees.

"We planted swamp oaks; we planted this one right here is a Fall Fiesta," said Diana Failla, president of Midtown Neighborhood Alliance and executive director of the Urban Bird & Nature Alliance.

A variety to make up for trees lost.

"Here at Elmwood Park, Elmwood has lost over 150 ash trees in the last probably 3 to 4 years," Failla said.

Nearly 200 total, due to age, wind storms and disease.

"The windstorm just really just was disaster in the park, because we already has a lot of old trees, so they are down to one limb,” Failla said.

The volunteer group behind the planting is -- Midtown ReTree program.

"Neighbors come to us and they say we'd like to have trees for this park in our neighborhood or for our neighborhood blocks,” Failla said.

They learn where trees are missing.

"You'll see a tree like this grow about 2 feet each year,” Failla said. "By the time it is giving shade, about three to four years, we'll see it really flourishing."

They follow a 3 to 1 ratio. This means with every tree lost, three should be planted.

"Right along here where we planted, will have shade for the heat islands basically the ratio of concrete to green space,” Failla said.

Also planting across the street — to reduce heat island in parking lot.

"In the future we'd really like to have the funding to label our trees or have a QR code that you just put right up to the tree," Failla said.

But for now, the flags will stay with the tree's name listed.

Saturday was the last tree planting for the fall. For information on how to get involved, check out Midtown Neighborhood Alliance on Facebook.