Visit Wooded Island Restoration Background, Summary and Overview (in Birds and Birding folder)-with links there to much more on Wooded Island and Jackson Park natural areas). THAT PAGE ALSO HAS THE 2011 WOODED ISLAND WORKING GROUP PLAN UPDATE.
To Locator map of new trees and shrubs.
Jackson Park homepage

2008 Habitat Restoration Schedule and Removals/planting Template for Wooded Island in Jackson Park Chicago

Much of what is below has been superseded by the GLFER Army Corps Habitat Restoration Project- see page ACE2014.

In spring, 2012 surveys were conducted with Openlands and our site stewards and many volunteer groups, inventorying, measuring, and putting into GIS the trees in Bobolink Meadow and Wooded Island. This will greatly aid planning for trees naturally and unnaturally dying and for a healthy habitat for the long run.

Here is the link for the newly completed interactive webpage.

Follow the instructions above the legend to utilize the map features.


The following was adopted by the Wooded Island Working Group (including the Chicago Park District and the Working Group under convenence of Friends of the Parks) and endorsed by Jackson Park Advisory Council. It has been the basis on work done since (2009, 2010 and more in spring 2011) under supervision and walk throughs by the Working Group.

A prospectus and progress map is kept by the Department of Natural Resources of Chicago Park District (attn. Zhanna Yermakov). Inquiries are being made (November 2010) on having this scanned online, if possible in this site.


Template and assessment for Wooded Island restoration, Notes of Site Visit September 17, 2008. Removals and plantings will continue checkerboard style through several seasons.

Attendees: Ross Petersen, JPAC; Dick Riner, Bird Conservation Network; Rebecca Blazer, Friends of the Park; David Wachtel, ARAMARK; Becky Schillo, CPD; Jerome Scott, CPD; Zhanna Yermakov, CPD.

The purpose of the site visit was to discuss and see the progress that has been made in 2008 and plan the fall 2008 planting. Depending on plant availability, some plants might be planted in spring 2009.

Summary of removals:

  1. All of the sections planned for invasive removal for 2007-2008 have been completed; some sections for 2008-2009 have been started.
  2. CPD Forestry has cleared the sections of storm damage that were planned for 2008.
  3. CPD Forestry staff is also removing larger invasive trees in the 2007-2008 sections and some in the 2008-2009 sections. Buckthorn and tree-of-heaven of all sizes is being removed. Selected larger mulberries are being removed, but not at the expense of losing canopy or compromising structure.
  4. Non-native, non-aggressive shrubs will not be removed to maintain vegetation cover.
  5. Where necessary and as time allows, dead branches will be removed off the trees.
  6. If a non-native tree is impeding growth of a more favorable tree, it will be removed. Example: oak struggling under mulberry.

Summary of planting:

  1. Wooded Island is currently defined and will be managed to maintain three different habitats. The Inner Loop of the wooded island is defined by the prairie on the south end, and a savannah on the north end; the transition between these two habits, or the edge, will have a more dense vegetation cover; the Outer Loop of the Island is a woodland. All these habitats are currently more defined by the structure of the vegetation within the habitat, than by the species present.
  2. The group agreed on the following planting strategy:
    a. Plant and maintain a good shrub layer.
    b. Create a diversity of plant flowering times. "
    c. Create a four-layer vegetation structure: herbaceous, short-stature shrubs, mid-level trees and shrubs, canopy trees.
    d. Savanna

    i. Trees will be planted to attain 50% average canopy tree maturity; natural regeneration of oaks will likely increase future canopy cover; habitat will be managed as savanna, not to exceed 70% canopy cover.
    ii. Shrubs will be planted in clumps on 3' centers on average, on average 100 feet apart from each other.
    iii. Perennial grass and flower seed will be added to the ground layer, as necessary.
    iv. If a mature, undesired tree is present, a shade-tolerant tree will be planted next to it to plan for future tree replacement.
    v. There is an area just west of the prairie that is currently turf; this area will be planted as a savanna.

    e. Woodland
    i. Trees will be planted to attain FULL canopy closure at tree maturity.
    ii. In areas that are open, full-sun trees will be planted.
    iii. In areas in shade, shade-tolerant trees will be planted to help create a growing mid-story, and to eventually replace older trees currently in the canopy.
    iv. Trees will be planted as a combination of canopy and mid-structure (i.e. redbud, ironwood, hawthorne, crabapple).
    v. Shrubs will be planted in clumps on 4' centers on average, 10-20 ft apart."
    vi. Short-stature shrubs will be planted by the edge of the path and taller ones in the middle to allow easier viewing of the birds.
    vii. Shrubs wil be planted by the edge of the water (i.e. buttonbush, dogwoods) to create more overhangs.
    viii. Perennial grass and flower seed will bed added to the ground layer, as necessary.

Below is a plant palette for trees and shrubs for Wooded Island. This is a suggested list of species to choose from for the planting, depending on the habitat and plant availability. The focus is to plant in such a way as to create the most vegetation structure and increase the length of flowering time, using as diverse plant palette as possible. In terms of trees species, the majority will be mid-level trees (hawthornes, ironwoods, etc), oaks, hickories, and possibly American elm (but only the cultivar, which is not prone to disease).


Aesculus glabra (Ohio Buckeye)
Asimina triloba (Paw Paw) mid level
Betula nigra (River Birch) water's edge
Carpinus caroliniana (Blue Beech) mid level
Carya cordiformis (Bitternut Hickory)
Carya microcarpa
(Pignut Hickory)
Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory)
Carya tomentosa (Mockernut)
Celtis occidentalis (Hackberry)
Cercis canadensis (Redbd) mid level
Comus alternifolia (Pagoda Dogwod) mid level
Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington Hawthorne) mid level
Crataegus mollis (Downy Hawthorne) mid level
Fraxinus quadrangulata (Blue Ash)
Juglans cinerea (Butternut)
Juglans nigra (Black Walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (Easter(n?) red cedar)

Malus ioensis (Prairie Crab) mid level
Morus rubra (Red Mulberry) mid level
Ostrya virginiana (Ironwood) mid level
Populus deltoides (Cottonwood) water's edge
Prunus americana (American Plum) mid level
Prunus serotina (Black Cherry)
Ptelea trifoliata (Wafer Ash) mid level
Quercus alba (White Oak)
Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak)
Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinquapin Oak)
Quercus rubra (Red Oak)
Quercus velutina (Black Oak)
Sassafrass albidum (Sassafras)
Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock)
Ulmus Americana (American Elm - cultivar)


Amelanchier arboarea (Serviceberry)
Amelanchier interior (Serviceberry)
Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny Shadblow)
Aronia arbautifolia (Red Chokeberry)
Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey Tea)
Celastrus scandens (Bittersweet)
Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush)
Cornus racemosa (Gray Dogwood)
Cornus rugosa (Round-heaved Dogwood)
Cornus seicea (Red-osier Dogwood)
Corylus americana (Filbert)
Diervilla Ionicera (Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle)
Eunoymus atropurpureus (Wahoo)
Hamamelis virginiana (Witchhazel)
Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea)
Hydrangea quercifolia (Oak-leaved Hydrangea)
Hypericum kalmianum (Kalm's St. John's Wort)
Hypericum prolificum (Shrubby St. John's Wort
Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)
Lindera benzoin (Spicebush)
Lonicera prolifera (Yellow Twig Honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper)
Physocarpus opulifolius (Ninebark)
Phus aromatica (Fragrant Sumac)
Pibes americanum (Black Current)
Ribes missouriense (Wild Gooseberry)
Rosa blanda (Early Wild Rose)
Rosa carolina (Pasture Rose)
Rosa setigera (Illinois Rose)
Rubus odoratus (Purple Flowering Raspberry)
Sambucus canadensis (Elderberry)
Sambucus pubens (Red Elderberry)
Spiraea alba (Meadowsweet)
Spiraea tomentosa (Hardhack)
Staphylea trifolia (Bladdernut)
Symphoricarpos albus (Snowberry)
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (Maple Leaf Viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood Viburnum)
Viburnum lentago (Nannyberry)
Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw)
Viburnum rafinesquianum (Downy Arrowood)
Viburnum trilobum (American Cranberry)
Xanthoxylum americanum (Prickly Ash)