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How to request new trees for your block’s parkway

The city will plant trees in your public way free of charge

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Eric Allix Rogers

It’s peak summertime and the city has fully bloomed for the year. Lawns are blanketed with lush green grass and the trees lining the city’s parkways are thick and leafy. However, the hustle and bustle of the city and the area’s extreme weather takes a toll on the trees in the public way. You name it and it’s likely happened—parkway trees take their fair share of abuse in Chicago. Once the tree that was hit by a car or ravaged by the emerald ash borer has been removed, often times all that’s left is an unsightly stump.

While Chicago property owners are tasked with maintaining the parkway in front of their homes, the city will plant new trees along public way free of charge. The arrangement works out well for everyone—trees help abate flooding, provide shade and clean air, meanwhile property owners get a boost in curb appeal. Plus, the trees are happy being outside getting plenty of sunlight and carbon monoxide.

Just like anything in Chicago, there’s a process to request a new tree for your parkway. There’s an online form where property owners can enter their address and other necessary information. Like many other online services, the city’s 311 page is a little clunky. The connection is not secure and doesn’t work well with some browsers—Google Chrome won’t even load the page. But there’s also the old fashioned phone line there for you also. You can request a new tree and provide your address by calling 311.

But that’s not all! The city has also published a comprehensive list of trees that fare well in Chicago’s climate. Not all trees that thrive on private property do well in the public way, but a lot of them do. The list features nearly 200 species and lists their availability and hardiness in a midwestern urban environment.