What We Do:
The Forestry Division is responsible for the care and maintenance of over 20,000 trees in the City of Wheaton’s urban forest. The City’s urban forest is made up of 65 different Genus and 167 different species, the largest percentage of which are Maples, making up 40%, followed by Honeylocusts at 12% and Oaks at 7%. Trees range in size from a newly planted 2” diameter tree to the largest tree, an Eastern Cottonwood measuring at 71” in diameter.
Our forestry division is made up of a Superintendent, a Supervisor, three Maintenance Specialists, and one Maintenance worker. There are five International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists on staff, which means that our crew has been specifically and rigorously trained in the arboriculture field. The skills needed to earn these certifications are: proper pruning techniques, job safety, regulation knowledge, tree identification, proper removal methods, tree planting operation and maintenance, rigging methods, and pest control; all along with hands-on training and experience.
Our Forestry Division continues to improve the urban forest with a 7-year pruning cycle. Each year, one of the 7 pruning zones undergoes a strict inspection and pruning to a healthy and aesthetically pleasing standard. This process removes dangerous or hazardous branches, dead wood, and eliminates possible future accidents. This pruning ensures a long and healthy life for all the trees in the City. The following link will take you to the City’s Pruning Zones Map.
The Forestry Division is also responsible for the removal of hazardous and dead City-owned trees in the parkways, ROW’s, and City-owned properties. This has become a cornerstone for this department over the last several years due to the devastation from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). 6,500 or 28% of the City’s urban forest was made up of Ash trees, all of which were infected with the borer and needed to be removed. As of the fall of 2021, there are just a few dozen Ash trees still in our inventory. Any person wishing to remove a City-owned tree must first obtain a Parkway Tree Planting and Removal Permit (No-Cost) from the Superintendent of Forestry before any work is started.
Another large role of the Forestry division is that of adding new trees to the City’s urban forest. Each year this division plants new trees around the City as part of the Shared Cost Parkway Tree Planting Program. If a resident wants to plant their own parkway tree, a Parkway Tree Planting and Removal Permit (No-Cost) must first be obtained from the Superintendent of Forestry before any work is started.
Our Public Grounds division is made up of a Superintendent, a Supervisor, two Maintenance Specialists, and one Maintenance Worker. All five crew members are State of Illinois Department of Agriculture licensed pesticide applicators. This means that our employees are specifically trained in the correct application, handling, purchase, safety, and storage of herbicides and pesticides used around the City.
The Public Grounds division is responsible for the care and maintenance of over 1,600 street furniture assets within the newly enhanced central business district (CBD). Tasks performed by the crews entail daily pick up of trash on all CBD walks, plazas, and CBD parking lots, while at the same time monitoring those furniture assets for any damage or wear that needs to be addressed at that time.
The Public Grounds division is also responsible for turf management and seasonal color for 27 acres of open spaces, right-of-ways, and Adams Park. This entails spring and fall clean-ups, weekly mowing, fertilizer applications, weed control, and seasonal color, in an effort to maintain the aesthetics of each area. In Adams Park, crews also maintain the water feature located within it. They perform start-up and shut down to the fountain, as well as weekly cleaning, which includes skimming and water clarification via methods of chlorination and filter operations.
During the winter months, Public Grounds staff, when not plowing snow, is tasked with any repairs or replacement of damaged mailboxes as well as turf caused by snowplows. They also use this time to go back through the acres of mowing areas to cut back and eradicate invasive and unwanted plants that have sprouted. Crews also use the winter to bring in any furniture assets from Adams Park or the CBD to make any cosmetic repairs that are needed.