Hordes of female periodical cicadas will be laying their eggs in small tree branches. (Armed Forces Pest Management Board / Flickr Creative Commons)

Young trees could be vulnerable to damage from the emergence of millions of periodical cicadas in Illinois this spring. Here are tips on how to protect your trees.

The tag on a Chicago resident’s new parkway tree clearly shows the species as “Aristocrat” pear, one of some two dozen cultivars of the invasive callery pear tree. (Courtesy of Eliza Rohr)

Just because a species is known to be invasive doesn’t mean it’s officially regulated as such. One Chicagoan learned that lesson the hard way.

Honey locust seed pods blanket the ground in Albany Park, late January 2024. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

In a winter that hasn’t seen much in the way of snow, honey locust pods are picking up the slack in terms of blanketing lawns, parkways and sidewalks, and piling inches deep along curbs.

(Gary Spears / Pexels)

Live and natural holiday trees can be dropped off in a tree recycling corral at one of 27 designated locations in the city from Jan. 6-20.

Trees awaiting planting as part of the Lawrence Avenue streetscape project in Lincoln Square, December 2023. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago has touted the tens of thousands of trees it’s planted in recent years. But the city’s volunteer TreeKeepers say too many saplings die for lack of a maintenance plan.

River Park, Chicago. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The fall foliage season got off to a slow start in the Chicago region but is making up for lost time. We’ve rounded up some resources to help you make the most of Mother Nature’s spectacular, but short-lived, autumnal display.

Lake Michigan, at a high-water mark in 2019. (WTTW News)

Drew Gronewold, an expert in hydrological modeling at the University of Michigan, presented his annual update on Great Lakes’ water levels. Lake Michigan is holding steady, but for how long?

A street tree planted in Chicago in 2022. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

When it comes to alleviating the impacts of climate change, trees have been promoted as the ultimate “green infrastructure.” But trees are living organisms, and they can be sensitive to some of the same climate stressors as people. But just how sensitive?

Cottonwood seed is piling up in River Park along the North Branch of the Chicago River. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Yep, it’s the annual appearance of cottonwood fluff, and if you were thinking this year’s showering seems excessive, you’re right. It is.

(WTTW News)

A dense green tree canopy can reduce the effects of air pollution and climate change. A 2019 study by the city found Little Village was among communities burdened by higher air pollution — and now, the neighborhood is planting the seeds for change.

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Great Lakes was named a global “Hope Spot,” joining the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and the Bering Sea as a place identified as critical to the health of the ocean.

A bur oak, estimated at 250-300 years old, is dismantled at Lincoln Park Zoo, May 2, 2023. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Lincoln Park Zoo said farewell today to a 300-year-old bur oak, but the tree will live on in multiple ways.

Lincoln Park Zoo's ancient bur oak, seen in fall 2022. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Crews are scheduled to begin removal of the ancient bur oak on May 1. The zoo is planning Arbor Day events on April 28 to give the tree a celebratory farewell.

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The board will help ensure the growth, maintenance and health of Chicago’s tree canopy for generations to come, officials said. The group’s first meeting could come as early as February.

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The six recommended appointees to the board, which was created in June 2021, all received unanimous support during a key committee hearing. Next up is a full Chicago City Council vote.

Katrina Quint, director of horticulture at Lincoln Park Zoo, stands in the shadow of the zoo's oldest inhabitant, a bur oak that's 250-300 years old. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

A bur oak has towered over the zoo’s south lawn, opposite the primate house, since before there even was a zoo. It even predates the founding of the United States of America.