Think Green


The City of Berwyn has several ordinances established which regulate certain landscaping requirements. These include ordinances for trees, shrubs, gardening or flower beds, grass or turf, weeds and fencing. The ordinances are in place to provide consistency throughout the community. A detailed listing of the various ordinances serve as a guide when you are planning your residential landscaping, and can be found at the following link. See Part 10: Streets, Utilities and Public Services Code


Typically, the preferred time to plant trees is in autumn, between September and mid-October. This time frame allows the tree to take root and fall into it’s natural state of dormancy throughout the winter months. Trees may also be planted in early spring, after the last frost. However, the tree will require additional watering throughout the summer months.

When planting a tree, the first step is size and selection. The size of a tree is dependent upon the location of the tree. If a tree is to be planted in a back yard, obscured from traffic, size is of relative concern. Anything from a seedling on up may be planted. Of course, the smaller the tree, the more attention required and a longer waiting period will be established prior to maturity. If a tree is to be planted in an area where there is a high volume of traffic, a minimum 3” caliper (caliper is the measurement of the width of the tree trunk three feet from ground level) should be considered.

Selection of the tree is also important. Consideration should be given towards maximum height, maximum reach, and whether or not the tree should be ornamental, provide shade, deciduous (leaf bearing), or non-deciduous (needle bearing), and appearance. Keep in mind that ornamental trees are beautiful flowering trees in the spring, yet bear fruit by summer, which could become tedious, yet also attractive to a wide variety of birds. Deciduous trees guarantee a good deal of shade, yet require removal of leaves from the lawn each fall. Appearance of a tree is very important. For example, a tree with a crooked trunk should not be selected or one with non-uniform or low hanging branches. Species are also an important consideration and should be selected in accordance with your the City of Berwyns’ tree ordinance.

Once the tree has been selected, one should consider placement of the tree. Consideration should be given towards the proximity to buildings and other trees as one would not want to have the roots or reach of the tree interfere with other structures. If trees are to be grouped together, like species are recommended as they are more compatible with one another and provide a consistent landscape portrait.

Planting of the tree requires digging a hole and soil preparation. The hole must be dug to exceed the width and height of the ball of the tree just enough to allow the tree to fit straight and snug with the top of the ball slightly below (approximately 6”) ground level. Prior to placement of the ball in the hole, a fertilizer mixture (12-12-12) of one half pound per caliper should be incorporated into the soil. In addition, some folks may wish to consider a moisture retention supplement such as terra-sorb. Once the soil has been prepared, the ball may be placed in the hole and covered with the removed soil. The trunk area should then be mulched at ground level to a height of six inches and a diameter of six feet.

Once planted, the tree may need to be supported with guy wires and a protective wrapping around the bark. If the tree is not stable, and may be swayed from side to side with a firm tug, guying will be necessary. Guy wires may be made from strong twine or wires. These should be wrapped around the lowest firm branches of the tree, with protective coverings, such as an old rubber hose, and anchored into the ground approximately three - four feet from the trunk. Three or four separate guys, at equal distances from one another, should be anchored in a circular area from the tree. Guying will prevent the tree from growing crooked which may be caused by human interference or strong winds. The bark of the tree should be wrapped with a protective wrapping or plastic shield, beginning at ground level, two - three feet up the tree. This will eventually break away as the tree grows, yet prevent the bark from being destroyed by animals or insects during its early stages of development.

Your tree should now be ready to grow and provide the essential elements needed to improve your quality of life. Trees provide oxygen, filter pollutants, reduce erosion, and provide relaxing as well as aesthetic benefits. Be sure to provide ongoing maintenance for your trees as indicated in the tree maintenance area of the North Berwyn Park District’s web site.


Fall is the time of year when leaves turn splendid colors and provide an array of beauty. Unfortunately, this colorful seasonal sensation is followed by a great deal of street and yard maintenance as the leaves fall upon the ground and effect ground coverings and street drainage systems.

The best method to deal with this problem is to rake up the leaves as they fall. The first onset of leaf maintenance will begin in mid-October and continue through the end of November under normal weather conditions. Just as one would cut their lawn every week, one should also rake their leaves. Be sure to utilize a regular leaf rake that will rake through your turf, causing minimal damage. Garden rakes are not suitable for raking leaves as they will cause damage to the existing turf and root systems.

Failure to remove leaves in a timely manner will result in a lack of oxygen and sunlight to the turf. While the grass is going into dormancy, sunlight should not be blocked as there continues to be a growth pattern until freezing temperatures occur. Oxygen should never be blocked as this facilitates the decomposition process of organic nutrients into the soil, as well as allowing the root systems to breathe.

Leaves should never become matted upon the turf. Once matted, the leaves destroy the plant cover and become integrated with the topsoil, leading to bare spots the following Spring when growth regenerates. As long as one picks up their leaves on a weekly basis, this can be avoided. Also, be sure to pick up leaves prior to any rainfall or snow forecasts, as the moisture will soften the leaves and facilitate its ability to blend into the soil. Keep in mind that leaves in the street will block storm sewer drainage grates. Be sure to check the grates in front of your residence and unblock these if needed. The city would certainly appreciate your assistance.

Okay, now that all the leaves have been raked, what do we do with them? Keep in mind that leaves are an organic substance and classified as yard waste. Per State of Illinois mandate, leaves must be collected in yard waste bags or yard waste containers and be disposed of by an appropriate yard waste collector. If one does not desire to purchase this additional service, a compost pile may be prepared which will naturally compose the organic matter. The breakdown of organic materials provides an excellent source of fertilizer and/or ground cover for one’s personal use. Grass and other plants may be placed within the compost pile as well.

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North Berwyn Park District 

Community Center
Address: 1619 Wesley Avenue
Berwyn, IL 60402
Phone: (708) 749-4900
Fax: (708) 749-4966

Monday - Friday: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm 
Saturday: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sunday: Closed
Holiday closures for  2024:  
6/19, 7/4, 9/2, 11/28-29,12/24-25, 12/31
these dates are subject to change.

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