Getting Our Ash Clipped

CDOT chopping down trees

CDOT chopping down trees

It’s sad to see any urban greenery go, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Recently I was walking along Taylor Street and saw several City of Chicago crews pretty-much clear-cutting all of the trees along the sidewalk.

At first I was dismayed by what appeared to be a bit of urban gardening gone horribly wrong.  The I heard one of the man call to another, “No!  Just the ash trees!”

That explains it — the city is cutting down the trees before they can be infected by the dreaded emerald ash borer.  The frisky little beetle has been chewing a path of destruction across the midwest for the last decade or so.  It popped up in the suburbs a few years ago and is now in the city.

While it’s a shame to see the trees go, I’m not a big fan of ash trees.  Their skinny little leaves turn yellow in the autumn and that’s about it.  They’re kind of one trick ponies.  I’d like to see the city plant more maples and other broad-leafed trees that turn varying colors in the fall to give the city more of a tapestry look, rather than a yellow pall.  But then, I’m no tree surgeon.  Eveything I know about trees comes from sitting under them.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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