The Skokie Park District’s Allan Weissburg Park was recently awarded a Level I accreditation by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program for achieving standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens.
The park is now one of only 559 accredited arboretums in the world and is also recognized as an arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world’s arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants.
Weissburg Park, established in 1964, is located on an ancient sand ridge, the soil conditions making it an incredibly uncommon site in Skokie, perfect for growing a wide assortment of trees.
When the park’s neighbors made it clear in the early 1990s that they were not interested in sports amenities or a playground in the small 1.75-acre park, district landscape staff began a slow, deliberate widening of the tree gene pool, making for a more beautiful park and a healthier ecosystem. Three decades later, Weissburg is a picturesque passive park, with a walking path, benches –– and is now an accredited world class arboretum.
“We are proud of the 78 trees growing here which represent 46 unique species,” said Jim Hallm, Skokie Park District landscape supervisor. “From red maple (Acer rubrum) to variegated sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) to a Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonicus), Weissburg Park illustrates the great breadth of what can be done in arboriculture.”
Future plans for the park include tours, as well as classes in pruning and tree care. Eventually, landscape staff plan to move the park to arboretum Level II status, which will mean more than doubling the number of species to 100 or more.
For more information about Weissburg Park trees, contact Jim Hallm at firstname.lastname@example.org.