Mount Prospect officials have decided to adopt an urban forest management plan.
The village board approved a resolution concerning the plan at its Sept. 17 meeting.
Mayor Arlene Juracek said the approval is just another step in the village's 20-year history of having a progressive and successful tree management program.
"We took that extra step to adopt a resolution," said Juracek, adding that the board approving the resolution is an indication of how much the village officials appreciate the plan. "We're so proud of what our forestry department has been doing."
According to the plan, the Council of Landscape and Tree Appraisers have valued the village's 23,724 parkway trees by at $118 million and most of those trees are in excellent or very good condition.
The report also states that the village's current program provides a return of $2.29 for each dollar spent on taking care of the parkway trees.
The plan documents past efforts and updates a management plan created in 1993. It was prepared by New York-based Urban Forestry, which served as a consultant for the village.
Sandy Clark, superintendent of forestry and grounds for the village of Mount Prospect, said that every tree is pruned about a year after the planting and then again about three years after the planting.
After that, trees are on a regular five-year pruning cycle. During the pruning process, Clark said, the weak branches are removed, leading to stronger trees in the long term.
"One of the most important things we do routinely is prune the trees," Clark said.
The consultants recommended that the village prune even more aggressively, removing even more branches.
Clark said that, due to factors such as storms and the invasive emerald ash borer, "It's been a struggle to try to plant as many trees as we remove."
In 2008, the village had about 4,400 ash trees on public property, she said. Currently, there are 2,700 ash trees in Mount Prospect.
The village has also been treating about 800 ash trees for several years.
Clark said that, going forward, the plan also recommends continuing to plant a variety of different types of trees, in case insects start to show up that affect a certain type of tree, such as was the case with the emerald ash borer.
"We've been trying, little by little, to plant different species that are not overused," Clark said. "You don't' want to have all your eggs in one basket."
Clark said the economy has also been a challenge in terms of planting trees, but the village has received grants from the state and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus that have been helpful.
The village is also involved in a tree risk assessment program in which every year a consultant looks at the number of trees that are not in good condition and makes recommendations.
"It was such a ringing endorsement for the work the forestry department has been doing over the past 20 years," Juracek said of the plan.
The report also revealed that despite challenges to trees in the village such as those with storm damage and the emerald ash borer, the average longevity of parkway trees in Mount Prospect is significantly above average.