Evanston’s forestry chief says there are three reasons some recently planted parkway trees don’t look healthy — and it’s not only because some of them have died.

Assistant Public Works Director Paul D’Agostino says two species the city has increasingly planted over the past several years — Kentucky Coffeetree and the new hybrid London Planetrees — both naturally leaf out much later than most other species.

“So,” D’Agostino says, “they may be mistakenly diagnosed as unhealthy or even dead when compared to other nearby trees early in the season.”

But the city also started planting a new species of Oak in 2011 and 2012 – a native species called Chinkapin.

“Unfortunately, these new trees have not been as successful as we had hoped, and we have since stopped planting them. Many of them did not survive after the second year and are now awaiting replacement,” D’Agostino added.

Third, he said, the combination of the drought in 2012 and the last winter’s extreme condidtions “has placed many of the younger trees under stress, which then makes them more susceptible to other problems.”

A forestry truck on Ridge Avenue this noon with some new trees to plant.

D’Agostino says the forestry staff is “doing everything we can to help the new trees survive, and we believe our survival rate for all newly planted trees will be well above 90 percent going forward.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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