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The original item was published from 10/21/2020 3:24:09 PM to 10/21/2020 3:34:16 PM.

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Posted on: October 21, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Chicago Region Trees Home Landscape Initiative

chicago tree in

The Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) developed the Home Landscape guide to help you take stock of your yard and make plans to improve its health and function.

What would you like to improve on your home landscape? 

  • Water ponding after storm events
  • Eliminate invasive species
  • Stop use of pesticides and fertilizers
  • Improve tree health
  • Create a habitat for wildlife

The way you manage your portion of this landscape makes a difference far beyond your property lines. It affects not only your property values and your lifestyle, but the health of people and pets, the well-being of beneficial wildlife such as songbirds, and the quality of our water and air. CRTI is a regional partnership of organizations, communities, and individuals working together to improve the health of our urban forest and improve our quality of life. For more information on how you can create a Healthy Home Landscape, read the Healthy Homes brochure.

Alien Species Lurking in your Landscape? 

Buckthorn Everywhere

Twenty-eight percent of all of the trees in the Chicago region are the invasive alien species: buckthorn. Buckthorn takes over the landscape and causes long lasting damage to soils, wildlife, and surrounding trees and plants. Because of its negative impact - buckthorn has been designated as noxious weeds in the state of Illinois. In order to stop the spread of buckthorn, CRTI needs your help! 

Identifying Buckthorn

There are two types of buckthorn – Common and Glossy. The species is easier to identify in the spring and fall, keeping its leaves longer than native species in the fall and leafing out earlier in the spring. Identify buckthorn from the features below, and get outside and get rid of these aliens!

  • Size: Small trees or shrubs that grow to approximately 20 ft. tall.
  • Leaves: Opposite or sub-opposite; 2 to 3 inches long; oval in shape.
  • Berries: Dark red to black.
  • Bark: Brown – smooth when young, flaky when older.


Conservation@Home is a program offered by the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the University of Illinois Extension to help property owners improve the health of their landscape. This program features information and resources about the following:

  • Reducing storm water runoff 
  • Eliminating invasive species
  • Improving biological health 
  • Increasing habitat for wildlife 
  • Creating a more sustainable landscape 

Through a grant from the US Forest Service, free property visits will be provided to selected Cook County residents. Representatives from the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) will come to your property to help you identify solutions and opportunities to improve the health and function of your landscape. Property visits will begin in the fall of 2020. Funding is limited, so sign up now. 

For more information on Conservation@Home, go to the Forest Preserves of Cook County website: and contact Trinity Pierce at to sign up. 

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