October 9, 2023 at 12:10pm

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Elena Ferrarin

Article by Elena Ferrarin

Communications Coordinator
Northbrook Park District


A celebration in honor of a centuries-old bur oak tree that has died will take place Sunday in Northbrook. The goodbye event will feature crafts and activities, along with a chance to learn about the tree’s history, from noon to 2pm on October 15 at Village Green Park, at Shermer and Meadow roads in downtown Northbrook.

The bur oak is likely about 250 years old and had been showing signs of decline — such as early dropping of leaves and thinning of the canopy — for the past two to three years, said Northbrook Park District Grounds Supervisor Chris Ryerson. As part of its plant health care program, the park district contracts a tree care company to assess the condition of trees. The certified arborist determined that the bur oak had reached the end of its life and needed to be removed for safety purposes.

The tree is located west of the park’s baseball/softball diamond, near the restrooms. It was scheduled for removal October 9, but the stump and the main section of the truck will remain onsite. People will be able to count the tree’s rings to determine its exact age.

The tree’s life will be highlighted with a timeline of local historical events during its lifespan.

There will be oak-related crafts and activities that will include acorns collected from the park. Oak trees don’t start producing acorns — which are fruits, not seeds — until they are about 20 years old, Ryerson explained. “One tree can make 2,000 acorns every year, but only about 1 in 10,000 will become a new tree. Long odds!” he said.

Participants will be able to take home a bur oak sapling, while supplies last. The saplings will be coming “bare root,” meaning without soil, so its roots will need to be placed in water for three to six hours before being planted and watered frequently, Ryerson said.

For more information, visit nbparks.org/events/farewellmightyoak.