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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Urban Forests and Soils
no. 16

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

Adopt best practices for urban tree planting/quality; require them in private developments and/or use them in at least one development project.

  • The Minnesota Stormwater Manual has design guidelines for tree quality and planting (tree trenches and tree boxes) as well as methods for assessing their ecologic performance. Note on this page, under design guidelines for soil characteristics (under bioretention soil mixes) that MnDOT compost specification 3890 (p. 715) is recommended.
  • On the GreenStep model ordinances page the Model Landscape Ordinance for a Municipal Zoning Code covers key best practices for private landscaping and construction projects. One design practice Eagan requires is that sites adding 10,000 sq. ft. or more of disturbed/graded/compacted soils must assure 5% organic matter remains, typically by adding compost so the soils allow water infiltration.
  • City Trees: Sustainability Guidelines & Best Practices (MN Tree Trust, Bonestroo: 2007) were specifically developed to work in conjunction with and build on the MN Green Communities Criteria and the accompanying Minnesota Overlay. See also resources in action 16.3 for growing trees in a gravel-bed nursery to save money and increase transplant survival.
Adopt MN Tree Trust Best Practices, MN Stormwater Manual tree design guidelines or the like for city projects; report use of compost as a soil amendment to mitigate soil compaction.
Use guidelines in at least one city development project; document that the development achieves an excellent or better Tree Trust rating; use a gravel-bed tree nursery; assess the performance of tree trenches and tree boxes.
Incorporate adopted tree planting best practices in development ordinances; show with data that 'plant once' practices are decreasing the number of dying boulevard trees that must be replanted.

Golden Valley

Date action report first entered:   12/20/2016
Date of last report update:   12/20/2016
Year action initially completed:   2011
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The Golden Valley Forestry Department follows industry tree and shrub planting best management practices and uses MnDOT specifications for all street reconstructions and projects such as the Highway 55 Lilac Project. Golden Valley also uses aerial photos and digital inventorying to determine where more cover or more diverse cover is needed in the City. Planting projects are monitored for success and practices are re-evaluated as needed

Outcome measures/metrics:
Continued monitoring has generated the percent survival for the following projects: A 2010-2012 planting project funded by a MN DNR Community Forest Bonding Grant (100 trees in 2011, 82 trees in 2012) showed an estimated 90% survival after two years. A 2013 Met Council Environmental Services Reliever Project (47 trees) showed 89% survival. A tree planting project in city parks in response to a 2011 tornado (funded by MCES grant and Trees for Tyrol group) (57 trees) had 86% survival. A 2014 Tree Trust project in Brookview Park (35 trees) had 89% survival. 2014 and 2015 City Fall planting projects (14 and 50 trees respectively) each had 100% survival.

For more information contact:
Al Lundstrom (City staff)   |   alundstrom@goldenvalleymn.gov   |   (763)-593-8046

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Date action report first entered:   01/17/2018
Date of last report update:   01/17/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
On public projects Bloomington’s engineering division uses MN DOT standards to develop specifications to ensure proper soil composition and plant installation. Guidelines for tree and shrub planting on private development projects are in Chapter 19 section 52 of the City Code. Bloomington City staff maintains a gravel bed nursery with a diverse mix of 15 tree species. This system allows staff to plant trees during optimal seasons and encourages extensive root growth that leads to successful establishment and long term survival. The diversity is intended to add resilience to the urban forest and reduce the impact of future invasive pests.

For more information contact:
Steve Gurney (City staff)   |   sgurney@BloomingtonMN.gov   |   952-563-4606

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La Crescent

Date action report first entered:   04/03/2017
Date of last report update:   04/04/2017
Year action initially completed:   2014
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
On page 153 of the zoning ordinances for the City of La Crescent, it outlines substantial best practices for tree planting, maintenance, and preservation. We also have a tree board which has been working on our Tree City USA recognition. Being the Apple Capital of MN we have a commitment to trees and preserving them for future generations.

Descriptive links: https://www.cityoflacrescent-mn.gov/wp-content/uploads/Zoning-Ordinance-Book-PDF.pdf

For more information contact:
Shawn Wetterlin (City staff)   |   SWetterlin@cityoflacrescent-mn.gov   |   507-895-4409

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Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   11/19/2014
Date of last report update:   11/19/2014

Implementation details:
Saint Paul uses a number of strategies to fund annual tree planting, including a regular annual CIB Citywide tree planting budget of over $300,000; an Emerald Ash Borer Management Program that replants a minumum 1:1 for every ash tree removed; replanting as a part of public works and other parks reconstruction projects; thousands of smaller seedlings/sapplings planted as part of park restoration projects; and annual outreach partnership planting projects--some on private property--using innovative gravel bed tree stock. Best planting practices are used in all cases, for example, from the use of tree growth tubes in planting sapplings for restoration projects, to the construction of the Central Corridor Light Rail Green Line where 1000 new trees were planted in an innovative tree trench using C.U. Structural Soil that doubles as storm water quality/infiltration green infrastructure.

For more information contact:
Kurt Schultz (City staff)   |   kurt.schultz@ci.stpaul.mn.us   |   651-266-6590

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Albert Lea

Date action report first entered:   07/22/2016
Date of last report update:   07/22/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Albert Lea Forestry Department follows industry best management practices.

For more information contact:
Jerry Gabrielatos (City staff)   |   jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us   |   507-377-4316

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Fergus Falls

Date action report first entered:   01/14/2016
Date of last report update:   01/14/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Fergus Falls has both a Dutch Elm and an Emerald Ash Borer program to monitor and remove effective and diseased trees. We annually plant 180 – 200 boulevard trees to replace affected areas.

For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff)   |   len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us   |   218-332-5418

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pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Valerie McClannahan, Community Forestry Coordinator, MN Department of Natural Resources: 651-259-5283, valerie.mcclannahan@state.mn.us, http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/urban