Since the Hobson Oak was cut down for safety reasons in November of 2016, the Naperville Outdoor Alliance has made a mission out of continuing the tree’s legacy lasting over two centuries. Part of that was done with the help of the Morton Arboretum.
“So they collected the acorns in the fall, got them to me, we refrigerated them over the winter, and then they were sewn the following spring and they sprouted. We had almost 100 percent germination rate of the 300, and those have been growing out in the green house,” said Beth Corrigan, the community trees program specialist at the Morton Arboretum.
Now these 300 burr oaks stand a foot tall in their second season of growth, and some have already been auctioned off into the community.
“In my opinion in the Hobson Oak you’ve won not only the ability to benefit a not-for-profit, you’ve not only won a seedling or a piece of creativity, you’ve got a piece of the heart, you’re part of the legacy moving forward,” said Mary Lou Wehrli, the secretary of the Naperville Outdoor Alliance.
The Naperville Outdoor Alliance hopes to hold many more auctions this fall through early next year, to distribute the seedlings and various other creations made from the tree.
“There are so many folks out there that love to get involved in things like this and so many groups that need the seedlings,” added Corrigan. “Our oak ecosystems aren’t regenerating like they have in past times, so planting an oak where you have a sunny spot, is even more important now than it’s ever been.”
Keep an eye on the Naperville Outdoor Alliance website for the next auction event where you could win a piece of Naperville history and let the next generation of the Hobson Oak live on for years to come.
The Morton Arboretum also made this special partnership with the Naperville Outdoor Alliance to raise awareness of their “Tree-mendous Trees” program. You can learn more about it on the Morton Arboretum website.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.