Welcome to the second edition of the City of Pittsfield’s newsletter.  We hope you will find the information contained in this newsletter to be both informative and helpful.   In this edition as well as future editions we hope to either inform or remind you of new ordinances or change in ordinances.  Full versions of all existing ordinances can be found on the City web site at  Go to the Government Page and scroll down to City Ordinances.

Tune into WBBA 97.5 the third Wednesday of each month at 1:00 pm for the Spotlight Show with Mayor John Hayden and Jack Hull for an update on the City Council meetings.

Tree Board News –  Following is information about tree diseases and the process to find out the disease.

Sampling for Tree Diseases?  You’re Barking up the Right Tree!


Proper sampling of woody tissue for fungal vascular disease diagnosis can save you a lot of time (and money!)  If you have a tree with a problem that you want diagnosed by the University of Illinois Plant Clinic, or another diagnostic clinic, there are the some things you should know before climbing up that ladder.

Observations: The first symptom you should check for on your tree is cankers.  Cankers are usually seen as sunken, dead areas on trunks, branches, or even twigs. Symptoms caused by cankers can be both vascular and foliar, and cankers are fairly easy to spot.    If you find a canker on your tree, it would be ideal to send a branch sample containing the canker to the Plant Clinic for diagnosis.  If the canker is on the trunk, it might be easier to submit portions of twigs and branches with leaves and include a picture of the canker.

If you see foliar symptoms that don’t include wilting, you might be able to get an adequate diagnosis by just sending some leaf samples.  However, in most cases (especially if there are wilting symptoms) including branch samples is highly recommended.  This simple step can save you time and money and allows us the means we need to figure out what is wrong with your tree most efficiently.

Example of wilting symptoms on oak

Sampling: When sampling branch tissue, the best samples are 8-10″ long from a symptomatic branch that is around 1″ in diameter (about the diameter of your thumb).  We can rarely do successful culturing with the tissue that comes from twigs smaller than 1″.  Also note that sending a branch that is way more than 1″ thick isn’t twice as good for culturing, it’s in reality twice as hard for us to get a good culture. The branch sample should come from an area of the tree that is still alive, but beginning to show symptoms.  Sampling from an area that is completely DEAD rarely ever yields a successful diagnosis.

Examples of branch sample sizes that are between 8-10″ in length and around 1″ in diameter. The sample with part of the bark shaved off is part of our diagnostic regime when we receive samples.

Shipping: The procedure you use to ship your sample can make or break the chances we have of recovering whatever pathogen is causing disease in your tree.  It is very important to ship tree branch samples with ice or an ice pack in insulated packaging such as Styrofoam containers since the summer heat compounded with delivery truck heat can kill pathogens that are in the branch and leaf samples.  Another important thing to consider is what weekday you send your sample.  It is important to not send a sample at the end of the week since that increases the chances of the sample taking longer to get to us and sitting in hot delivery trucks for extended periods of time.

When sending samples of trees it really helps us if we can see the big picture, literally.  Sending pictures of the entire tree and of the affected area helps show us how the disease is affecting your tree. Use this email for that purpose, refer to the sample and species you are having delivered when emailing .jpg files. This is not required, but recommended.

Waiting for a diagnosis: After we receive your sample, we culture it on growth media that favors fungal growth.  Recovering the fungus that is causing the disease on your tree from the branch tissue can take as long as 2 weeks depending on the fungal pathogen we are trying to recover.  So patience is a must after sending your sample.  We promise to do our best to figure out what is harming your tree so we can give you proper recommendations for management. (Chelsea Harbach and Suzanne Bissonnette)

Authors:Chelsea Harbach &Suzanne Bissonnette

Tree Planting 2014 – If you are interested in having a tree planted on City property in front of your home please call City Hall.  The Tree Board in cooperation with the Pittsfield High School Vo-Ag Department will be planting trees in April 2014.

Brush Pick-Up – The City’s Street Department will pick up brush and yard waste the first Monday of each month.  The brush needs to be placed on the curb.

Building Permits – Building Permits are required for any structure changes whether new or an addition.  The cost of permits is being reviewed by the Ordinance Committee.   A change will be forthcoming.  There is a penalty for not obtaining a permit prior to construction.

Attention Two Rivers Recipients – Assistance provided by the Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials is for GAS USAGE ONLY. You will still be responsible or your water and sewer portion of the bill.  Our computer system will deduct it from your credit but will be  added to your credit when you pay your bill.  Water service will be shut off  if payment is not made by the due date shown on the bill.  Please call City Hall with any questions regarding your bill.

After Hours Emergencies – For gas or water emergencies Monday through Friday between the hours of 4:00 pm to 7:00 am please call the Sheriff’s office at 217-285-5011.  For weekends emergencies, call 217-285-6850.

Remember to call J.U.L.I.E at 1-800-892-0123 before digging on any project.