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OAKtober – Oak Awareness Month

Oaktober

Celebrate OAKtober With Us!

October has been named Oak Awareness Month in Illinois, also known as OAKtober. Learn more about the importance of oaks in our community and ways you can help! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during October and watch for weekly OAKtober facts and OAKtrivia for a chance to win prizes!

Oaks at the Park District

• Our parks and properties are home to 766 oaks, the most common are white oaks.
• We manage oak groves at several properties:

Value

• Oaks create healthier communities by filtering pollution, purifying groundwater and providing shade.
• 100 mature trees can capture about 139,900 gallons of rainwater a year, reducing stormwater runoff.
• Oak trees and green environments support relaxation, reduce stress and boost overall mood.
• Oaks support more than 500 species of plants and animals including butterflies, bees and birds.
• Oaks cool the ground and diminish wind while helping stabilize soil with its root system.
• 250 species of birds pass through the region each year and have been shown to prefer oaks.

Care

• Clear out weedy trees so oaks receive more sunlight.
• Remove non-native invasive plant species.
• While tannic acids in the leaves and bark guard oaks from fungi and insects, make sure to monitor the tree for both.

Park District Care Program

• Add mulch rings around oak trees.
• Provide oaks with a balanced fertilization program.
• Follow an insect monitoring and treatment program.
• Periodically aerate the soil around oaks.
• Initiate a scheduled replacement program as oaks age or fail.

Future of Oaks

• Threats include non-native invasive plants, lack of sunlight, overdevelopment and aging.
• Oaks have declined 17% of what they were in the 1830s.
• We can help by preserving and caring for the oaks we have and planting more oaks where appropriate.

 

Sources: Chicago Region Trees Initiative/The Morton Arboretum

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