Rose Tileston, Manager of Urban Forest Programs
DUTCH ELM DISEASE (DED) is known as one of the most lethal shade tree diseases in the United States. To date, it has killed hundreds of thou- sands of elm trees across the country. Chicago is one of the cities that has experienced a significant loss of elm trees to this disease. In response, scientists at The Morton Arboretum worked for decades to create a hybrid elm that could withstand DED. Today, we now have the Triumph™ elm thanks to their hard work.
This spring, American Forests partnered with The Morton Arboretum’s Chicago Region Trees Initiative to plant trees in the village of Elmwood Park. Thanks to sponsorship from Enablon, we were able to help restore the area’s urban tree canopy with several different tree species, including elm. We gathered at Elmwood Park Bible Church where we met Pastor Sean Stevenson, who was delighted that we would be planting an elm tree in front of his church. As we worked under gloomy skies, attempting to plant 25 trees before the rain would set in, Dino Braglia, director of public works for the Village of Elmwood Park, shared with us how as a child, he had watched the elm trees in Elmwood Park die. He spoke about how meaningful it was to him to be a part of replacing those trees so that future generations could enjoy and experience the beauty of an elm tree. We finished our tree planting with students from Elmwood Elementary School. The students learned how to plant trees, and we triumphantly planted an elm that they could all watch grow, together.