Trees make money

  • For ever dollar spent on urban forestry, cities can achieve 500% return.
  • Trees can increase home values by up to 15%.

Trees save energy

  • Shade trees reduce cooling costs by 20-25% or $20 per month.
  • Wind break trees can reduce heating costs by 10-15%.

Trees cool the air

  • One tree has the same cooling power as 10 residential air conditioners.
  • Trees can reduce the ambient air temperature by 6℉-8℉.

Michigan City Forestry

In 2016 the Chicago Region Trees Initiative conducted a regional canopy study and found Michigan City’s tree canopy had declined to 23%.

The Forestry Department is planting trees in neighborhoods across the city to reverse this trend so our communities can experience the many benefits of trees and a healthy urban canopy.

Additionally, a GIS based tree survey for all city right-of-ways will be conducted this spring to help us identify more plantable spaces.

Meet Your New Neighbors

In the Spring of 2020, Michigan City Forestry will be planting 200 hundred new trees from the following native species. Look out for the trees and they will take care of you too.

American Beech

American Beech is a sturdy, densely canopied tree with simple alternate leaves with sharp, incurved teeth on the margins. It provides a lovely golden bronze fall color and produces edible beechnuts, which are important sources of food for local birds, chipmunks, and squirrels. Beech trees can grow to heights of 70ft or more, and live over 300 years.

American Hornbeam

The American Hornbeam is a native forest understory tree. New leaves emerge reddish-purple, before turning green over the warmer months and finally orange-red in the fall, providing a kaleidoscope of color year round. Growing to heights of 25-40 feet, it features alternate oblong leaves with serrated edges that turn bright red, scarlet, and orange in the fall.

Bur Oak

The Bur Oak is a hardy native species populating our Lake Michigan dunes landscape. It can grow to over 70 feet tall with a crown spread of up to 80 feet. It offers dense shade, is pollution and heat tolerant, and produces large acorns that serve as preferred food for wood ducks, wild turkeys, white tailed deer, rabbits, mice, and squirrels.


Recently designated as the 2020 Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists, the Hackberry is defined by its light gray, raised, corky bark and simple, alternate light green leaves. A tough tree, tolerant of a variety of soil types and moisture conditions, it is valued by wildlife for its small berry-like fruits called “drupes.” Growing to heights of up to 100 feet in ideal conditions, it is considered both a shade and an ornamental tree.

Pin Oak

The Pin Oak is a fast growing oak tree reaching heights of 70 feet with a crown spread of up to 40 feet. Its distinctive branching pattern, in which the upper branches are upright, middle branches are horizontal, and lower branches slant gracefully toward the ground, make it easily identifiable even in winter. It provides stunning scarlet and bronze fall color, and its acorns are eaten by many songbirds, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, squirrels, and ducks.


Known for its profusion of rosy pink flowers every spring and the transition of leaves from red to green and finally yellow, the Eastern Redbud makes a bold landscape statement despite its short stature of 25 feet. The bright, early blossoms are a favorite among nectar-seeking insects, especially butterflies. Songbirds, such as chickadees enjoy the seeds, and it provides a nesting site as well as nesting materials for birds and animals.

Red Maple

The Red Maple is an aptly named tree that provides color year round with green stems turning red in winter, and features simple, opposite leaves with 3-5 lobes that are red-tinged as they emerge in spring and turning green as the season progresses. The fall color is deep red to yellow, and the flowers are also red. This tree also has the largest north-south range of any tree species living entirely in the eastern forests.

Red Oak

The majestic Red Oak features a height of up to 75 feet and a crown spread of 45 feet at maturity, bristle tipped simple alternate leaves with 7-11 waxy lobes. It is a strong tree suited to urban environments due to its tolerance of pollution and compacted soil, and it provides beautiful red fall color. Acorns from this tree are preferred by blue jays, wild turkeys, squirrels, deer, raccoons, and black bears.

River Birch

The flashy, curling, peeling, multicolored bark of the River Birch is hard to miss on this tree that can grow as tall as 70 feet with a crown spread of 60 feet. Additionally, with simple, alternate, glossy leaves and tell-tale catkins in the spring, this tree is certainly unique. As the name suggests, this tree enjoys growing along river banks and in marshy areas, and the catkins, seeds, and foliage are enjoyed by a number of songbirds and other forest critters.

Shingle Oak

The atypical, unlobed leaf of the Shingle Oak confuses many observers as to its classification in the Quercus genus, however acorns will certainly give away their identity. This tree can reach 60 feet tall and proudly displays a crown reaching up to 70 feet in spread, making it an important source of shade in urban environments and provide an important source of food for many birds, squirrels, and chipmunks.

Sugar Maple

Sugar Maples can be spotted from miles away in the fall due to their brilliant yellowish-orange foliage, making this tree a well known landscape standout. Growing to 75 feet, these trees feature large, simple, opposite five-lobed leaves, small greenish-yellow flowers in spring, and pairs of winged seeds in September or October. These trees are commonly browsed by white-tailed deer, moose, and snowshoe hare in the wild, but provide important food sources for squirrels in the urban environment.

Swamp White Oak

As the name suggests, the Swamp White Oak prefers low-lying, swampy areas and the moist bottomlands of river banks while also growing well in urban settings with a high tolerance to compacted soil and (surprisingly!) drought. A stout shade tree, this tree can live more than 300 years to heights of up to 60 feet with a crown spread nearly as wide as it is tall. Its simple, alternate, lobed leaves turn shades of yellow, bronze, and red-purple in fall and its acorns attract a variety of bird species.


Another tree known by its unique, white, brown, tan, and bronze spotted bark, the American Sycamore can grow up to 80 feet tall with a 60 foot spread making it an attractive shade tree. It’s broad, simple, alternate, leathery leaves feature 3-5 lobes and a broad toothed edge. This tree is a favorite among birds, pollinator insects, and squirrels.


Designated as the State Tree of Indiana in 1931, the Tuliptree is a fast growing tree with bright green leaves that resemble tulip flowers. This tree also sports it’s own greenish-yellow flowers with aromatic stems, and can grow up to 90 feet tall. Standing proudly, the Tuliptree is also known for its straight trunk and even branch pattern, with leaves turning bright yellow in the fall. Providing food for many types of animals, this tree attracts white-tailed deer, rabbits, hummingbirds, finches, cardinals, quail, mice, and squirrels.


A medium to large tree growing up to 50 feet, the Yellowwood features smooth bark, large hanging clusters of white flowers, and clear yellow fall color. As its namesake suggests, it features yellow colored wood that remains a favorite among woodworkers for small specialty items and was a prized material for making gunstocks. Additionally, the root bark was an important dye ingredient for American Indians and early settlers. It is an excellent shade tree with alternate, oddly-pinnate compound leaves that grow up to 12 inches long.

Make Them Feel at Home

Here are some things you can do to help them settle in

Make sure the root flare is always visible
Report broken branches, damage, or other concerns immediately
Keep string trimmers and mowers away from the trunk
Small scratches will cause rot and eventual death

Adopt a Tree

If you would like to help out even more, you can adopt a tree. For more information and a tree care contract, contact the City Forester, Jessica Arnett.

Responsibilities include:

  • Watering the tree 20-25 gallons each week (one long, deep soaking)
  • Maintain a “donut” of mulch extending to the drip line of the tree
  • Gently pull any weeds around tree by hand to protect the trunk

Please feel free to contact the City Forester with any questions, concerns, or to adopt your tree!

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1801 Kentucky St.

Michigan City, IN 46360