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Why Does Tree Diversity Matter?

18 Sep, 2023 9
Why Does Tree Diversity Matter?

One of the founding values at is our commitment to the health of urban forests in the Chicagoland area.

Chicago area public park with a diverse selection of mature and new shade trees

Check it out— one of the ways we follow through on this commitment is by encouraging biodiversity in public parks, parkways, and homeowners' yards. This helps our environment, and it looks beautiful too!

Why does diversity matter?

Biodiversity is essential for preserving native species of wildlife, plants, and other natural resources. In case you didn't realize it yet or didn't know... Trees are the foundation of species diversity. 

Robin in a tree with a grub in its beak

Text image with the definition of biodiversity

Imagine having a neighborhood or park full of beautiful trees. The caveat is they are all the same kind of tree. This could potentially be detrimental. For example, some pests and diseases target specific tree species, such as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) that kills Ash trees. Which at one time were seriously overplanted and left depleted tree canopies in many neighborhoods. The same thing happened with Elm trees with Dutch Elm Disease (DED).

Now, let's take an even closer look. Imagine zooming in on a single oak tree. A single oak tree hosts over 500 wildlife species— from lichen to small mammals. What an incredible boost for the local ecology, and that's just ONE tree! 

Oak tree with a butterfly on its leaves

Now imagine zooming out from that single oak tree in a neighborhood with nothing but oak trees. Then, a disease comes through and sweeps out the entire canopy. What a grim reality that would be. These side effects will trickle down to insects, birds, and the human population. Humans rely on trees for resources that allow people to live and work.

We can't continue to lose our earth's tree canopy. If so, without a doubt, we would lose other forms of life.

Now that we understand the big WHY... the solution is simple. Plant more trees and plant different kinds of trees.  

Not to worry, we can help you with this. Check out this Customer Yard Tour video for ideas! You'll see what diversity in a homeowner's yard looks like!

Keep these points in mind when shopping for your new trees →

  • Be sure to use no more than 10-15% of the same species of trees in your tree-planting project.
  • Consider existing trees in your neighborhood. Taking this inventory will ensure any given species is not over-planted.
  • Plant trees that have seasonal interest in different areas of your yard.

Do this, and your landscape and community will thank you!

The good news is many of the trees we plant are grown by our family-partner nursery and are newer and better varieties. These new varieties are less prone to the threat of disease and are more tolerant of urban conditions.

Elm tree in an urban backyard

One of the easiest ways to achieve diversity in your yard is to think seasonally. Plant trees that have seasonal interest in different areas of your yard. Doing this will help achieve year-round interest, and it's good for the local ecology. It's a win-win.

A suburban backyard with a row of different kinds of trees along the easement

We will help you make tree choices you will feel good about. We can't wait to help you grow a diverse & healthy tree canopy.

Contact us to learn more.