Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

I love trees.  Ever since I was a young girl, trees were always special.  I climbed in them all the time.  I’d go all the way up to the tip top and feel the tree sway from side to side. I guess I could’ve fallen from a lot of the trees I climbed, but I didn’t.

When we moved to Hoffman Estates, I was happy to see trees in the parkway and several trees in my front and side yards.  All the trees were so small.  Not many leaves to rake in the beginning.  In later years it was fun to rake and have the kids hide and jump in the piles.  Now my trees, maples and elms, have grown much higher than my home and give the yard and house a cool shade all summer long.

Soft MapleWhen F & S Construction built the homes in Hoffman Estates in the early years, they planted maples.  They’re soft maples, some are shag bark maples, and they’ve broken easily in really high winds over the years.  We’ve also had years were we had cottony maple scale on our trees.  They’ve come through in spite of storms and disease.

When they planted the green ash trees in later years, they were wonderful trees.  They grew quickly and we loved them.  I had one in my parkway and it was a columnar green ash, just the right shape for the parkway.

When we had those dry summers over the past few years, I’d be more worried about my trees than my lawn.  I’d set out the sprinkler and give them a good soaking.  As my trees grew larger, my air conditioner bill grew smaller.

The leave raking wasn’t as much fun since the kids were getting older. They were too big to hid or jump in them anymore although the piles were bigger and could have hidden a teenager very easily. The kids weren’t too interested in racking them either.

Now as I drive around the village, I’m sad to see all the trees that have been killed by the Emerald Ash Borer.  It’s thought that they arrived from China in packing materials.Emerald Ash Borer

The village has been working so hard to remove the diseased trees.  It’s a major undertaking to get new ones planted and our job to care for them.  Many neighborhoods will have to wait for the newly planted trees to grow and thrive and once again provide beauty, shade and homes for the birds and squirrels.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

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