As Lake Bluff removes ash trees infested with the emerald ash borer, community gardeners want to do their part to replace the bare spots with healthy trees.
But trees cost money, and the village has allocated funds to replace 25 to 30 trees each year, which won’t keep pace with the estimated 700 trees that will be cut down on village-owned land.
That’s where the Lake Bluff Garden Club comes in. The organization, composed of about 40 local women, has teamed with Lake Bluff Brewing Company to stage a community event Saturday night that will raise money to purchase more trees.
Lake Bluff holds Tree City USA designation, and “we take that very seriously,” Lake Bluff Garden Club member and event co-chair Julie Morse said.
“As these diseases come up, the best defense is a great offense, and that is plenty of diversity of disease-resistant trees,” Morse said.
The event, “Trees on Tap! An Oktoberfest for Lake Bluff,” will take place from 6-10 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Lake Bluff Golf Course tent. The Oktoberfest-themed celebration will include a bratwurst buffet, dessert, two drink tickets for beer or wine, a souvenir beer glass and entertainment, which will include music by the Mike Schneider Polka Band and a silent auction.
The fundraiser has attracted strong support from the local business community, Morse said. Sixty businesses, mostly in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, have donated $10,000 worth of silent auction prizes.
Event-goers can bid on such items as a BMW children’s pedal car, salon and landscaping services and a dinner for four prepared by a master chef with entertainment provided by a violinist, Morse said.
Tickets are $65 apiece and must be purchased in advance. As of Monday, about 150 people had registered. Morse said she hopes 200 will attend.
“Our hope is just to raise as much money as possible,” Morse said.
Event co-chair Daun Roth said the club aims to purchase more mature and hearty trees to bring even more diversity to the village’s forestry and help prevent future infestations from wiping out a large percentage of trees.
“It’s estimated that 50 percent of trees in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff are ash,” Roth said.
In addition to its focus on beautification, the Lake Bluff Garden Club also aims for education, Morse said. Information about disease-resistant trees and tips on planting will be provided by Morton Arboretum representatives, who will staff a free education booth at the event.
Trees on Tap is open to those 21 and older. To reserve a ticket, call (847) 337-2922 by Sept. 27.