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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Urban Forests & Soils
no. 16

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

Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:

a.  Having trained tree specialists.
b.  Supporting volunteer forestry efforts.
c.  Adopting an EAB/forest management plan or climate adaptation plan for the urban forest.
  • Details on becoming a MN Certified Tree Inspector from the MN Dept. of Natural Resources; recertification happens at the annual March Minnesota Shade Tree Short Course.
  • Emerald ash borer resources from the MN Extension, including details on certified Forest Pest First Detectors. A "5-10-15" tree-diversity rule-of-thumb for reducing the risk of catastrophic tree loss due to pests is to aim for city tree canopy with no more than 5% of any one species, 10% of any one genus, and 15% of any one family.
  • Regional Resource Directories to assist MN cities in taking action to protect and enhance their urban trees.
  • See the Model EAB Management Plan (MN Shade Tree Advisory Committee: 2015), which provides background and direction to cities on how to deal with EAB through adopting landscape-based management policies and practices. The Plan is based upon minimizing total life-cycle costs of the EAB infestation by 'saving the best [about 20%, with emamectin benzoate], replacing the rest,' and enlisting private owners of ash.
For smaller cities: at least one volunteer is a Minnesota Certified Tree Inspector or a Minnesota Forest Pest First Detector.
At least one city staff member is a Certified Forester, a landscape horticulture professional, or holds Tree Inspector and First Detector certification; city staff provide free assistance to residents/businesses, or support volunteer forestry efforts.
City has written and begun implementing a community emerald ash borer preparedness plan/climate change adaptation plan for urban forests; city tree canopy goal aims for a "5-10-15" rule-of-thumb.


Date action report first entered:   03/18/2013
Date of last report update:   06/17/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Bemidji has four Parks and Recreation staff members that are certified Tree Inspectors. The Parks Department is also currently working on an emerald ash bore preparedness plan, with the help of Gary Johnson from the Dept. of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota. They conducted a volunteer-driven tree inventory this summer and are currently waiting for the analysis.

For more information contact:
Marcia Larson (City staff)   |   marcia.larson@ci.bemidji.mn.us   |   218-333-1860

Department of Forest Resources at University of Minnesota

View All Bemidji Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/25/2012

Implementation details:
Four city staff members are certified Tree Inspectors. Burnsville has an Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan.

            view file

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

View All Burnsville Actions

Coon Rapids

Date action report first entered:   10/25/2014
Date of last report update:   07/05/2017
Year action initially completed:   2013

Implementation details:
The City Forester works to maintain city programs and also serve as a resource to residents. Coon Rapids also has four park staff member that are First Detector Certified through the Department of Forest Resources. Their knowledge is specific to invasive species that effect Minnesota’s trees specifically urban forests. Additionally six park staff members are certified tree inspectors. They provide a free service to residents who request three inspections related to possible tree disease, insect problems, proper planting and pruning techniques. These staff members help to educate the community about relevant tree concerns and recommendations for resilient species.

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

View All Coon Rapids Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/24/2014
Date of last report update:   01/17/2017
Year action initially completed:   2014

Implementation details:
City of Duluth has four certified arborists. The City Parks Department has written a community invasive species guide and plan that includes the emerald ash borer.

For more information contact:
Erik Birkeland (City staff)   |   ebirkeland@DuluthMN.gov   |   218-730-4435

View All Duluth Actions

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 an active Master Gardner’s group and also a Beautiful Fergus Falls Committee with a wide variety of expertise in horticulture and native plants. We also have two certified foresters on our Park, Recreation and Forestry staff.

For more information contact:
Lynne Olson (City staff)   |   lynne.olson@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us   |   218-332-5404

View All Fergus Falls Actions

Golden Valley

Date action report first entered:   12/20/2016
Date of last report update:   12/20/2016
Year action initially completed:   2010
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
Golden Valley has two full time staff with Forestry and Horticulture degrees. One staff member is additionally a Certified Arborist and has a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification from the International Society of Arborists. Per Section 10.50, subdivision 2 of the City Code a tree inspector, certified by the Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture, administers the Shade Tree Pest Control Program for Dutch Elm disease, oak wilt, and other pests for the City. The City is responsible for removing diseased trees from public property within 20 days of disease confirmation. Property owners are responsible for removing condemned trees from private property. A list of recommended trees is provided for residents on the Golden Valley website. Recommendations for native and/or resilient species are made to residents who request tree replacement advice. Residents are also directed towards the MnDOT Plant Selector online tool to pick plants based on site characteristics and to the Plymouth Tree and Shrub sale where native, diverse species can be purchased online and picked up every spring. The City began developing an Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan 2010 and updated it in 2012. The intent was to provide city staff and community with a dynamic pest management guide that could easily be updated as new pest management technology evolves. The plan calls for staff to work with residents who have boulevard ash trees and remove trees in poor condition by request. Forestry generally uses 10-20-30 rule of thumb (no more than 10% of any one species, 20% of any one genus, or 30% of any family in an urban tree population) for replacing varieties of shade trees.

Outcome measures/metrics:
In 2011 city staff removed 200 low quality ash trees. In 2014, 30 ash trees were removed from parks and boulevards and 67 shade trees were planted in city parks and rights-of-way. Each year low quality ash trees are removed as needed and replacements are made based on available funding.

For more information contact:
Tim Teynor (City staff)   |   tteynor@goldenvalleymn.gov   |   (763)-593-3976

View All Golden Valley Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/02/2016
Date of last report update:   03/02/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Hutchinson employs a full-time arborist Starting in 2014, the City of Hutchinson started implementing a forestry management plan in response to the threat of emerald ash borer. The plan, better known as the Forestry Diversification Project, consists of several small tree removal and replacement projects that will occur on an annual basis, increasing tree species diversity to reduce the risk of loss to our ash tree population. Here is a general project overview: 1.Projects will target ash trees in the publicly-owned right-of-way; 2.Priority project areas – areas in which a project will occur – have ash populations above 20% and are areas of high visibility, i.e.) parks, main thoroughfares, playgrounds, etc.; 3.All publicly-owned, ROW ash trees have been identified and inventoried. Project areas that are found to have more than 20% ash will have a certain percentage of ash trees removed and replaced with an alternative species known to do well in Hutchinson. Trees found to be in poor condition will be prioritized for removal; 4.Projects will occur on an annual basis until the desired ash population has been reached, or until emerald ash borer arrives in Hutchinson, whichever comes first.

View All Hutchinson Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/22/2012
Date of last report update:   05/01/2015

Implementation details:
The contracted city forester is a licensed arborist and a certified tree inspector. The city has 2 staff members who are certified tree inspectors. The City also passed a EAB management plan in 2011 and has started implementing the plan with boulevard trees.

            view file

For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City staff)   |   shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov   |   651-249-2304

View All Maplewood Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/31/2014

Implementation details:
In addition to the Minnetonka’s City Forester being a licensed arborist and certified tree inspector; the city employs two additional certified tree inspectors. For several years, Minnetonka has participated in the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s voluntary early detection program of the emerald ash borer. To date the emerald ash borer has not been detected within the city, the city has a comprehensive emerald ash borer protection plan that is currently being implemented. The plan includes sections pertaining to the prioritization of ash tree removals on public property, budget impacts, replanting and wood waste considerations. The draft plan was presented to the city council in 2013.

Descriptive links: http://www.eminnetonka.com/public_works/natural_resources/community_forestry/emerald_ash_borer/Minnetonka_preparations/Minnetonka_prepares_emerald_ash_borer.cfm

For more information contact:
Drew Ingvalson (City staff)   |   dingvalson@eminnetonka.com   |   952-939-8293

View All Minnetonka Actions

New Brighton

Date action report first entered:   05/04/2016
Date of last report update:   05/04/2016

Implementation details:
New Brighton has a City Forester. New Brighton began removal and treatment of existing Ash trees following the discovery of Emerald Ash Borer. Emerald Ash Borer in the City of New Brighton In November of 2013, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed the discovery of ash trees infested with emerald ash borers (EAB) on residential property in the City of New Brighton. EAB is a serious invasive pest. Consequently, a quarantine has been placed on Ramsey County to slow the spread of EAB to other areas. The City of New Brighton began treating boulevard and selected park ash trees for EAB in 2010 and continues to follow the recommended treatment guidelines. For the benefit of the residents, the City has taken preventive steps to establish criteria for contractors treating EAB. The criteria will make sure residents will receive services from a competent contractor at a fair price. For example, each contractor has been in business a minimum of 5 years and has agreed to a per-tree charge of no more than $10 per diameter inch, with a $100 minimum charge. The City’s website provides specific information on what services the contractor has agreed to and what the property owner can expect from the contractor. Visit www.newbrightonmn.gov and click on the following links: Departments/ Parks and Recreation/ Forestry/ Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Tree Contractors. In addition, citizens can access informational article’s regarding EAB on the City’s website. Residents can also obtain a brief history of EAB, how it spreads, symptoms of EAB, what to look for in your ash trees, options for treating trees and how the City is responding to save ash trees by watching a video on the City’s website. Residents who suspect they or a neighbor has EAB should call the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at (651) 201-6684 (press 2) and follow the voice prompts. Also, if you want to become a Forest Pest First Detector go to University of Minnesota website: http://www.myminnesotawoods.umn.edu/forest-pest-first-detector/

For more information contact:
Craig Schlichting (City staff)   |   craig.schlichting@newbrightonmn.gov   |   651-638-2056

View All New Brighton Actions


Date action report first entered:   07/31/2012

Implementation details:
The City of Oakdale employs a full-time City Forester, who is a certified arborist and tree inspector. The city's Urban Forestry Management Plan addresses emerald ash borer, as well as buckthorn removal and tree planting expectations.

            view file

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

View All Oakdale Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/19/2016
Date of last report update:   02/19/2016

Implementation details:
The City’s Forestry Division of Public Works includes certified arborists and other tree professionals who provided tree inspections for public and private properties: 4 staff are MN Certified Tree Inspectors; 1 staff is an ISA Certified Arborist; 3 staff are First Detectors; and 1 staff is ISA Certified, MN Certified, and a First Detector. City arborists conduct daily monitoring of public and private property for tree diseases and pests.  The City has had an EAB comprehensive prep/response plan in place since 2009. Since then, forestry team members are actively treating boulevard ash trees with products to prevent the infestation of Emerald Ash Borer consistent with the City's Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan.  Team members also periodically treat the 300+ oak trees at Augsburg Park to control the native pest, the two-lined chestnut borer.

For more information contact:
Jim Topitzhofer (City staff)   |   JTopitzhofer@richfieldmn.gov   |   612-861-9394

View All Richfield Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/13/2015
Date of last report update:   02/11/2015

Implementation details:
The city has an employee who is a Minnesota Certified Tree Inspector. The city also has an Emerald Ash Borer Plan in place.

For more information contact:
Ryan Johnson (City staff)   |   Ryan.johnson@cityofroseville.com   |   651-792-7049

View All Roseville Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/26/2013

Implementation details:
The City has approximately 5 staff certified as MN Tree Inspectors, and several volunteers are First Detectors or retired foresters from the Minnesota DNR. The City Council adopted the Shoreview Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan in March of 2012 (attached).

            view file

For more information contact:
Ellen Brenna (City staff)   |   ebrenna@shoreviewmn.gov   |   651-490-4665

View All Shoreview Actions

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 has two certified arborists and four certified tree inspectors on staff.

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

View All Albert Lea Actions

Brooklyn Center

Date action report first entered:   02/09/2015
Date of last report update:   03/03/2015

Implementation details:
The City of Brooklyn Center has a Certified Forester and an ISA Certified Arborist. The City also provides information in regards to tree questions to residents upon request.

For more information contact:
Andrew Hogg (City staff)   |   ahogg@ci.brooklyn-center.mn.us   |   763-569-3327

View All Brooklyn Center Actions

Columbia Heights

Date action report first entered:   12/19/2014
Date of last report update:   12/22/2014

Implementation details:
The Public Works Maintenance Superintendent is also a Certified Forester (see attached certificate). He inspects City owned trees as well as private hazardous and diseased trees and manages the City's diseased tree management program (see link).

Descriptive links: http://mn-columbiaheights.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=250             view file

For more information contact:
Jesse Davies (City staff)   |   Jesse.Davies@ci.columbia-heights.mn.us   |   763-706-3706

View All Columbia Heights Actions

Cottage Grove

Date action report first entered:   04/12/2013

Implementation details:
Cottage Groves staffs a licensed forester and recently hired a landscape horticulture professional.

View All Cottage Grove Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/01/2015
Date of last report update:   06/01/2015

Implementation details:
Three park staff members including the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department are certified tree inspectors. The city has a budget set to provide free trees in all residential area as well as replace damaged or dying trees.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The city has planted approximately 40 trees per year in residential areas alone.

For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff)   |   oconn587@Umn.edu   |   701-330-5226

View All Crookston Actions

Eden Prairie

Date action report first entered:   04/06/2012

Implementation details:
The City has Forestry Division within the Parks and Recreation Department. The division is responsible for the following: "Identifying and removing trees with Dutch elm disease or oak wilt. "Sponsoring the Annual Arbor Day celebration. "Sponsoring annual Spring Park Cleanup. "Enforcing the City's tall grass/weed ordinance "Enforcing state/county noxious weed requirements. "Work with City Environmental Coordinator to monitor private native grass/flower plantings "Investigating, overseeing and resolving city/private boundary interface conflicts. "Forestry and natural resources related consultations. "Managing the City's conservation areas, which includes oak savanna, remnant prairie, remnant "Big Woods" forests and the riparian zones along creek and river watersheds. The City Parks and Recreation Department has on Staff, Jeff Cordes--Forestry Technician: He holds the following certifications: International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist. Minnesota Certified Tree Inspector. EAB First Detector trained.

Descriptive links: http://www.edenprairie.org/index.aspx?page=237

For more information contact:
Tania Mahtani (City staff)   |   tmahtani@edenprairie.org   |   952-949-8413

View All Eden Prairie Actions

Grand Rapids

Date action report first entered:   01/03/2013

Implementation details:
The City Of Grand Rapids currently have two certified tree inspectors on is also a member of International society of Arboriculture..Kelly Morris Mn. Dept. of Natural Resources Certified Tree inspector.#20064920 Kelly Morris International Society of Arboriculture #MN-4041A Jim Columbus Mn. Dept of Natural Resources Certified Tree Inspector #20073056

View All Grand Rapids Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/27/2016
Date of last report update:   04/27/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Hastings employs a City Forester.

For more information contact:
Melanie Mesko-Lee (City staff)   |   mmesko_lee@hastingsmn.gov   |   651-480-2326

View All Hastings Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/30/2014

Implementation details:
Mankato maintains two staff members which have MN Certified Tree Inspector status. One staff member (Natural Resources Specialist) is also an ISA-Certified Arborist. The Natural Resources Specialist has designed and written an Emerald Ash Borer Preparedness Plan, which is in the review process but not yet formally adopted. City staff monitors USDA Hardiness Zones to ensure Mankato has not been classified as a warmer climate zone. Once official records reflect Mankato as a warmer climate zone, the City will actively begin planting tree species which are only hardy to zone 5. The City also looks for new tree species on annual basis which can be tried and evaluated in the Mankato area.

For more information contact:
Molly Westman (City staff)   |   mwestman@mankatomn.gov   |   507-387-8571

View All Mankato Actions

New Hope

Date action report first entered:   04/01/2015
Date of last report update:   04/01/2015

Implementation details:
The city's tree replacement program only includes native species and the city provides residents with a list of recommended boulevard trees.

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

View All New Hope Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/25/2014
Date of last report update:   06/25/2014

Implementation details:
We have three certified tree inspectors on staff and they are supervised by lead tree inspector TJ Heinricy.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The City can more efficiently manage our urban forests by having trained inspectors on staff.

For more information contact:
Tim Behrendt (City staff)   |   tim.behrendt@ci.northfield.mn.us   |   507-645-3027

View All Northfield Actions

Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2013

Implementation details:
The city's public works department has two staff members certified as well as a consultant forester and we work directly with a community organization thats primary goal is to protect the city's trees and to keep the city green.

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

View All Red Wing Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/15/2014

Implementation details:
Our Tree Board in conjunction with the U of M completed a survey of all trees in Royalton and established a gravel bed nursery to provide trees for the community. Two of the board members are MN Certified Tree Inspectors and monitor emerald ash borer activity in the city.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The tree survey helped identify trees that were possibly infected with emerald ash borer, and

Descriptive links: http://www.royaltonmn.com/vertical/sites/%7BF29AE369-80CF-4CFB-BE87-851B6F04B18E%7D/uploads/March_April__2013.pdf

For more information contact:
Andrea Lauer (Elected official)   |   mayor@royaltonmn.com   |   320-630-2229

U of M Profess Gary Johnson Urban and Community Forestry

View All Royalton Actions

Saint Louis Park

Date action report first entered:   07/02/2012

Implementation details:
St. Louis Park employs an ISA Certified Arborist on staff.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Increased number of grants, trees ID'd with "issues", increase diversity of trees planted and heightened educational initiativess.

Descriptive links: http://www.isa-arbor.com/faca/findArborist.aspx             view file

For more information contact:
Shannon Pinc (City staff)   |   spinc@stlouispark.org   |   952-924-2191

International Society of Arboriculture; Minnesota Society of Arboriculture

View All Saint Louis Park Actions

Saint Paul

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

Implementation details:
Saint Paul Foresty has employees who work on outreach to increase tree planting in neighborhoods, especially where canaopy has been deficient. Examples are efforts working with the community of Frog Town, "Tree Frogs" to increase tree planting on private property.

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

View All Saint Paul Actions

White Bear Lake

Date action report first entered:   05/15/2013

Implementation details:
Three city staff are MN Certified Tree Inspectors.

For more information contact:
Connie Taillon (City staff)   |   ctaillon@whitebearlake.org   |   651-429-8564

View All White Bear Lake Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/27/2013

Implementation details:
The city has a certified tree inspector on staff.

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

View All Woodbury Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/28/2016
Date of last report update:   04/28/2016

Implementation details:
City has a "Tree Board" that manages city owned trees. One member on the Board, a local botany professor, provides technical assistance on tree management. Bill, another local expert, consults the City on invasive species such as buckthorn and other water based invasive species.

For more information contact:
Harold Langowski (City staff)   |   elyod@ely.mn.us   |   218-226-5474

View All Ely Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/14/2017
Date of last report update:   02/14/2017
Year action initially completed:   2016
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
In 2016, nine Citizen Pruners donated 153 hours to prune 258 young trees planted in Newport as part of the Hwy 61 reconstruction (111 trees were pruned during the winter, as reported in April, and 147 during the summer pruning season). Citizen Pruners also thinned over-crowded dogwood shrubs in the pedestrian bridge parks.

For more information contact:
Travis Brierley (City staff)   |   tbrierley@newportmn.org   |   651-459-5677

Residents of Newport

View All Newport Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/26/2017
Date of last report update:   04/26/2017
Year action initially completed:   2008
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
One of the Public Works staff is a certified tree inspector.

For more information contact:
Nate Keller (City staff)   |   nate.keller@sartellmn.com   |   320-258-7316

View All Sartell Actions

Inver Grove Heights

Date action report first entered:   05/24/2016
Date of last report update:   07/05/2017
Year action initially completed:   2010

Implementation details:
The City of Inver Grove Heights' Parks Superintendent is a certified Arborist. In 2010, the City adopted a 10 year Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan. This plan states how the City is going to treat Ash trees, which is by removing the Ash trees from public land and right of way areas based on tree condition. The City will replace the removed ash trees within the public land utilizing a tree replacement fund. This fund is generated by developers who pay the City for trees they are unable to replant on their property. No new ash trees are allowed to be plants in public land or right of ways.

For more information contact:
Ally Hillstrom (City staff)   |   ahillstrom@invergroveheights.org   |   651-604-8511

View All Inver Grove Heights 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