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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Urban Forests
no. 16

Add city tree and plant cover that increases community health, wealth and quality of life.
  Best Practice Action 4      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]       [all actions]

Maximize tree planting along your main downtown street or throughout the city.

  • Ideally, street tree planting is done as part of a main street renovation that achieves cost efficiencies by including stormwater, complete street and utility and business facade improvements.
Street trees are provided on both sides of at least 60% of the main downtown street at intervals averaging no more than about 40 feet, excluding driveways and utility vaults.
Major effort providing or offering residents / businesses trees to plant on private property.
Maximize tree planting/landscaping on the entire blocks along mainstreet by, for example, funneling money from a business improvement district to alley plantings, pocket/corner parks, parking lot plantings behind buildings, a community depaving party, and the like.


Date completed/entered:   04/30/2015

Date updated:   04/30/2015

Implementation details:
Hutchinson works closely with private parties to both identify issues and help promote vigor in its tree population. This is achieved through public education and close working relationships between the Parks, Public Works, and Utilities departments. Our robust boulevard tree program is made apparent by the thick tree cover that is found through the City on both private properties and public right of way. Detailed inventories coupled with intensive planning for tree diversification are used to ensure a sustainable urban forest.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.hutchinson.mn.us/forestry.html             view file

For more information contact:
Mike Bahe (City staff)   |   mbahe@ci.hutchinson.mn.us   |   320-234-4475

View All Hutchinson Actions


Date completed/entered:   09/09/2013

Implementation details:
Rochester's Tree ordinance which was implemented during late 2009 is making great strides to begin maximizing and improving tree planting along all streets and newly developed streets through out the city. The ordinance requires all new development and redevelopment either pay in lieu of or plant trees as recommended by the city forester with in the right of the way on the designated property if trees do not currently exist or meet the new ordinance.

Descriptive links: http://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/planning_zoning/chapter64/64160BOULEVARDTREEPLANTING.asp

View All Rochester Actions


Date completed/entered:   07/22/2015

Date updated:   07/22/2015

Implementation details:
Arlington works closely with private parties to identify issues and help promote a robust tree population. This is achieved through public education and close working relationships between the School, City staff, Parks Committee, Shade Tree Committee and the City’s forester. Our robust boulevard tree program is made apparent by the thick tree cover that is found throughout the City on private properties and public right of way. Detailed inventories gathered by Sibley East students tied with planning for tree diversification are used to ensure a sustainable urban forest.

Outcome measures/metrics:
A clickable "Tree City USA" logo has been placed on the City's homepage as an additional resource for Arlington citizens.

Descriptive links: http://www.arlingtonmn.com/             view file

For more information contact:
Tony Voigt (City staff)   |   tvoigt@arlingtonmn.com   |   507-964-2378

Sibley East High School, City Forester Stephen Nicholson, Parks Committee, Shade Tree Committee

View All Arlington Actions


Date completed/entered:   05/18/2011

Implementation details:
The Local Lions Club, ordered 672 trees (one for each resident) and gave to each resident to plant. These were paid for by the Hoffman Lions Club.

View All Hoffman Actions


Date completed/entered:   03/22/2012

Date updated:   05/01/2015

Implementation details:
The city recently adapted a very comprehensive tree ordinance including requirements of street trees. The city also has a very strong tree rebate program where they will cover 50% or $100 of any street shade tree purchased by residence. In Maplewoods Living Streets policy, a city wide tree plan was created. In this plan, trees were planted during all new construction and renovation projects in the city. This creates cleaner air, a reduction in stormwater, and the interception of rain water through leaves and branches. These trees increase the health of the Urban Forest by creating diversity in genetics and species types.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.maplewood.mn.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1571

For more information contact:
Ginny Gaynor (City staff)   |   virginia.gaynor@ci.maplewood.mn.us   |   651-249-2416

View All Maplewood Actions


Date completed/entered:   07/14/2015

Date updated:   07/14/2015

Implementation details:
The City of Marshall has enacted a landscape ordinance that requires specific green space and tree plantings within developments. A copy is available on the City website. The landscaping ordinance is reviewed with all proposed development submissions. The ordinance specifies the rate of trees per square foot of exposed ground, per foot of lot street frontage, multiple species and disease resistance requirements, etc. The City has its own tree farm that includes a wide variety of evergreen and deciduous species and uses the trees throughout the City for replacements and new developments. Marshall Municipal Utilities invests in tree planting and sells trees at low prices to customers to be planted within the community.

Outcome measures/metrics:
In the five block stretch of Marshall's Downtown Main Street retail district there are 63 boulevard trees with an average spacing of 30 feet between them. Marshall's tree farm has over 600 trees located in three locations in the City. Marshall Municipal Utilities plants between 150 and 200 trees each year and sells and additional 400 per year to its customers for planting. The City of Marshall plants about 300 trees per year.

Descriptive links: https://www.municode.com/library/mn/marshall/codes/code_of_ordinances

For more information contact:
Glenn Olson (City staff)   |   Glenn.Olson@marshallmn.com   |   507-537-6773

City of Marshall; Marshall Municipal Utilities

View All Marshall Actions


Date completed/entered:   06/01/2011

Implementation details:
Since the year 2000, the City of Oakdale's Tree Board has sponsored a tree planting project along the city's main north/south thoroughfare, Hadley Avenue. The Hadley Avenue Streetscape Project has added hundreds of trees, bushes and wildflowers along the entire six miles of roadway, focusing on a different stretch of roadway each year. Also, for the past 37 years the city has hosted the Peter Graske Tree Giveaway each spring, in celebration of Arbor Day. A variety of different trees are provided to Oakdale residents free of charge to plant in their own yards. As a result of this event there are thousands of new trees growing throughout the city.

Descriptive links: http://oakdale.govoffice2.com/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={C49A71AC-6FA4-4F45-99A9-2491149310F1}

For more information contact:
Jen Hassebroek (City staff)   |   jen.hassebroek@ci.oakdale.mn.us   |   651-730-2723

View All Oakdale Actions

Saint Louis Park

Date completed/entered:   07/02/2012

Implementation details:
This list is for 2012 only...we create this type of list every year with a minimum of 225 trees planted throughout boulevards and parks.

Outcome measures/metrics:
-number of trees planted -diversity of trees planted -number of trees planted/ward -number of different streets and parks where trees are planted

Descriptive links: http://www.stlouispark.org/environment-homeowners/tree-replacement.html             view file

For more information contact:
Jim Vaughan (City staff)   |   jvaughan@stlouispark.org   |   952-924-2699

Tree Trust; Local Tree Nurseries; MN NDR

View All Saint Louis Park Actions

Saint Paul

Date completed/entered:   11/19/2014

Date updated:   11/19/2014

Implementation details:
Saint Paul’s urban forest is planted is by the city, with the help of hired contractors, and city residents. While the City of Saint Paul is responsible for public spaces tree planting, the residents of Saint Paul are encouraged to add to and maintain our beautiful urban forest on private property. However, if residents are interested in planting a tree on the public boulevard or on their property, a residential tree planting guide has been developed to assist in the decision-making process along with a permit process for the boulevard space. The City also has a Street and Park Tree Master Plan available online that allows the City of Saint Paul and its residents to plan for and maintain a diverse and vital urban forest. This document outlines the goals, strategies, and criteria that will help guide planning and management decisions through the use of established best management practices and innovative approaches. It is the intention of the Street and Park Tree Master Plan to be used as a comprehensive guide by city staff, public and private developers, and property owners for the selection, placement, and proper maintenance of trees in parklands and along major transportation corridors, thoroughfares, and residential streets within the city. The information found within this document is also intended to assist homeowners with the selection of trees for their own properties.

Descriptive links: http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=403

For more information contact:
Anne Hunt (City staff)   |   anne.hunt@ci.stpaul.mn.us   |   651-266-8520

View All Saint Paul Actions

Apple Valley

Date completed/entered:   03/21/2012

Implementation details:
The City's downtown Ring Route is approximately 2.75 miles long and contains 417 established trees. Trees are planted in 4' by 4' opening in decorative concrete boulevard surface and are spaced approximately 25' apart.

For more information contact:
Charless Grawe (City staff)   |   CGrawe@ci.apple-valley.mn.us   |   952-953-2508

View All Apple Valley Actions


Date completed/entered:   10/13/2014

Date updated:   10/13/2014

Implementation details:
A 2012 revamp of downtown streets included a street scape/ landscape with many street trees included.

For more information contact:
Sarah Hayden Shaw (Community volunteer)   |   sjhaay@gmail.com   |   218-760-6837

View All Brainerd Actions


Date completed/entered:   06/25/2012

Implementation details:
Burnsville's Heart of the City (downtown) has trees on both sides of the street at intervals of 30 feet. Beginning in 2012, Burnsville has a Boulevard Tree Planting Permit program for residents and businesses.

Descriptive links: http://burnsville.patch.com/articles/tree-planting-program-takes-root

For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff)   |   basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us   |   952-895-4524

View All Burnsville Actions

Coon Rapids

Date completed/entered:   10/25/2014

Date updated:   10/27/2014

Implementation details:
The City Forestry Department works to maintain a strong and healthy urban forest by planting trees in boulevard and parks for decades. They work to ensure the correct tree is planted in the right location for the long term survival of the urban forest. Trees are removed and replanted in these areas as needed. Special attention is given to root placement and depth when planting to avoid stem girdled roots which results in premature decline in trees. Species diversity is a major factor when determining which trees to plant. Historically high numbers of elm trees were planted in cities only to be later removed because of Dutch Elm Disease. Similar concerns surround over-planting of ash trees and the current threat of Emerald Ash Borer. The City uses native trees whenever possible and hybrids have proven to do well. Staff also utilizes the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources list of species nature to ecological regions in Minnesota.

Outcome measures/metrics:
In 2009 the city began an inventory of all trees in city boulevards, parks and public buildings. This information continues to be used to determine areas for reforestation, coordinated tree planting and monitoring health of changing urban forests. Staff created the City of Coon Rapids Community Forest Management Plan which is also included in the Sustainability Report attached.

Descriptive links: http://www.coonrapidsmn.gov/recycling/pdf/SustainabilityReport.pdf

For more information contact:
Tommy Schibilla (City staff)   |   tschibilla@coonrapidsmn.gov   |   763-767-6455

View All Coon Rapids Actions


Date completed/entered:   04/30/2014

Implementation details:
The City of Delano recently approved the reconstruction of two thoroughfares in downtown. The reconstruction designs ensure that the sidewalks will be expanded to allow for street trees to be planted.

For more information contact:
Phil Kern (City staff)   |   pkern@delano.mn.us   |   763-972-0565

View All Delano Actions

Eden Prairie

Date completed/entered:   04/06/2012

Implementation details:
The City has adopted a plan to maximize plantings in the Town Center Area within the Major Center Area Street Scape Master Plan.

Descriptive links: http://www.edenprairie.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=350

For more information contact:
Regina Rojas (City staff)   |   rrojas@edenprairie.org   |   952-949-8490

SRF (consultant)

View All Eden Prairie Actions


Date completed/entered:   01/10/2012

Implementation details:
Complete: Trees were planted along the 50th and France shopping district sidewalks on both sides of the street. The tree wells are approximately 40 ft or less apart excluding dirveways and utility vaults. In 2011 the city also planted 21 trees in Creek Valley Park.

For more information contact:
Tom Horwath (City staff)   |   THorwath@CI.Edina.MN.US   |   952-826-0308

View All Edina Actions

Elk River

Date completed/entered:   12/20/2012

Implementation details:
The City’s downtown redevelopment plan identifies street embellishments, including planting containers, trees, benches, lights and banners along its main street and major downtown corridors. The City has developed a plan to improve the major boulevards throughout the city with the introduction of trees. The first of these improvements was completed in 2012, with the planting of Orono Parkway, in front of the civic campus, where over story and ornamental trees were added to the existing prairie grasses, and wildflowers. Groupings of 2-3 trees linearly spaced were planted approximately 50 feet apart along the median totaling around 40 trees. The City has developed a plan to improve the appearance of major intersections throughout the community. The first intersection was completed in 2012, with the improvements to the Highway 169 and Main Street intersection.

For more information contact:
Kristin Mroz (City staff)   |   KMroz@ElkRiverMN.gov   |   763-635-1068

View All Elk River Actions

Falcon Heights

Date completed/entered:   01/27/2011

Implementation details:
In 2010 the City of Falcon Heights completed a major streetscaping project along our major thoroughfare, Larpenteur Avenue. The nearly two mile stretch of county road is the second most heavily traveled raodway in the city (behind Snelling Avenue, a state highway). In addition, Larpenteur is a major gateway for the over one million visitors to the Minnesota State Fair. The project added 116 trees in the boulevards and medians where only concrete was present before.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The project has beautified our main street and created a "sense of place" as people commute through our community.

For more information contact:
Bart Fischer (City staff)   |   bart.fischer@falconheights.org   |   651-792-7600

View All Falcon Heights Actions


Date completed/entered:   09/05/2012

Implementation details:
60% of Mainstreet planted on both sides but theyre not at 40 or less tree planting interval. The City currently has 4 trees per block on each side of the street. This density is maximized as there are signs, refuse containers, lights, etc that must also share space along the sidewalks downtown. Page 14 of the document from the provided link provides more detail.

Descriptive links: http://www.hopkinsmn.com/transportation/pdf/lrt-downtown.pdf

For more information contact:
Steve Stadler (City staff)   |   sstadler@hopkinsmn.com   |   952-548-6350

View All Hopkins Actions

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Date completed/entered:   04/15/2015

Date updated:   04/15/2015

Implementation details:
Where applicable in Tribal Communities, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe installs appropriate plantings.

View All Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Actions

New Hope

Date completed/entered:   04/01/2015

Date updated:   04/01/2015

Implementation details:
The city has a comprehensive landscaping plan for streetscape improvements planned for Xylon Avenue in 2015, including dozens of trees and plants that will be maintained by city staff.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.new-hope.mn.us/eservices/documentcenter/pdf/com_dev/Project%20Handout%202014.pdf

For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff)   |   jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us   |   763-531-5119

View All New Hope Actions

Red Wing

Date completed/entered:   06/05/2011

Implementation details:
The City of Red Wing has a distinct downtown district and a main throughfare with tree planting efforts in each. We do maximize tree planting throught the city, however, we're selective on some of the major roads because they are actually state controled roads. We could put more shade trees along major roads but it's not necessarily in our best interest because we do not want to interfere with the state in any way. On our downtown main street, however, we do try to maximize the tree planting.

Outcome measures/metrics:
In 2008 the City had a sustainability report with mapped out 5,690 trees planted in streets and boulevards. This would serve a base line. The City is also replacing ash trees in parks and open spaces as a separate effort.

For more information contact:
Jay McCleary (City staff)   |   Jay.McCleary@ci.red-wing.mn.us   |   651 385 3674

View All Red Wing Actions

Saint Anthony

Date completed/entered:   05/05/2011

Implementation details:
The City of St. Anthony works actively with residents to plant new trees and replace diseased trees along all main streets.

For more information contact:
Jay Hartman (City staff)   |   jay.hartman@ci.saint-anthony.mn.us   |   612-782-3314

View All Saint Anthony Actions

Saint Cloud

Date completed/entered:   05/12/2011

Implementation details:
The City is commmitted to improving the downtown streetscape with quality design. The direction set in the Streetscape Guidelines and Urban Design Plan is reinforced in the Downtown Framework Plan of the Comprehensive Plan. A number of trees are planted in Downtown following the recommendations of primary, secondary or local street streetscape treatments stated in the Downtown Framework Plan.

Descriptive links: http://ci.stcloud.mn.us/Planning/CompPlan.aspx

For more information contact:
Matt Glaesman (City staff)   |   Matt.Glaesman@ci.stcloud.mn.us   |   320-255-7218

View All Saint Cloud Actions

Two Harbors

Date completed/entered:   04/07/2015

Date updated:   04/21/2015

Implementation details:
6th Street and Waterfront Drive in the city are the main entryways to Downtown Two Harbors. Both roads have trees on both sides of at least 60% of the street.

For more information contact:
Josh Bergstad (City staff)   |   jbergstad@ardc.org   |   218-834-8803

View All Two Harbors Actions


Date completed/entered:   05/01/2013

Implementation details:
The City encourages tree plantings on boulevards in new residential subdivisions, and requires three trees per lot. In addition, Section 24-248 of the Zoning Ordinance requires that enough trees be planted in commercial areas such that at maturity the tree canopy will equal 25% of the site area. Tree species are categorized as small, medium, and large tree canopy trees, and credit is given based on the anticipated size of the trees’ canopy at maturity. In addition planting plans were in place for Lake Road, Valley Creek Road, Radio Drive and Settlers Ridge Parkway. According to the plans, trees were planted at a distance of 30 feet between trees where possible.

For more information contact:
Jennifer McLoughlin (City staff)   |   jmcloughlin@ci.woodbury.mn.us   |   651-714-3522

View All Woodbury Actions

Pine River

Date completed/entered:   05/06/2011

Implementation details:
Getting started. The Pine River GreenStep Task Force has done some initial research on our tree-planting options and is developing a plan for how to move forward with this action.

For more information contact:
John van der Linden (Community volunteer)   |   johnvdl@pinerivergreensteps.org   |   218-587-5001

View All Pine River Actions

greenstep advisor
Ken Holman, Community Forestry Coordinator, MN Department of Natural Resources: 651/259-5269, ken.holman@dnr.state.mn.us, http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/urban