On the GreenStep model ordinances page see Landscaping and Maintenance of Vegetation, Natural Resources Performance Standards and Model Landscape Ordinance for a Municipal Zoning Code. The zoning code language, developed by ORANGE Environmental and reviewed by state organizations, regulates the review process for new developments. Based upon Burnsville and Minneapolis code, topics covered include soil and tree health, biodiversity, water infiltration, irrigation, sun and wind orientation, parking lots, and industrial buffer yards.
For example, in 2005 Bemidji adopted an ordinance that requires tree planting in parking lots, and some cities have a replacement policy for cut/lost trees, such as replacement at a 3:1 ratio, and specify the replacement tree caliper.
For example, in 2022 Edina adopted an ordinance that include “heritage trees” (a protected deciduous tree above 30” dbh or coniferous tree taller than 30’) in the Tree Protection Ordinance which requires the tree to be replaced at 100% of the dbh or feet or a payment fee of $500 per dbh/feet below the 100% removed.
MN Dept. of Natural Resources community forestry web pages include Guidelines for Developing and Evaluating Tree Ordinances and Conserving Wooded Areas in Developing Communities.
See the City of Edina’s Stormwater Ordinance (4.34.F.1.f.) that includes soil management strategies for construction projects with sites greater than 10,000sf of land disturbance.
For resources related to compost use, see BPA 17.5.
Enact an ordinance that preserves/replaces trees and soils and encourages resilient, non-invasive landscaping. Report protection of large wooded areas by means of zoning or development review under BPA 10.3, report landscape-level resilient plant cover under BPA 10.6, and pollinator-friendly landscaping ordinances under BPA 18.5.
Address tree preservation and soils conservation on both public and private lands; require amended soils in post-construction or reconstruction areas with compost; enact requirements such as removing requirements to establish turf grass (this does not refer to removing maintenance standards for turf grass) and permitting climate-resilient, non-invasive, diverse native landscaping throughout the city.
Adopt quantitative performance metrics; require approval of a tree preservation plan before development (tree inventory, tree saving zones, soil preservation measures, tree replacement for damaged/destroyed trees at a 2:1 ratio or greater).
Who's doing it
Arden Hills - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2008
The City adopted a Tree Preservation Ordinance in 2008. The purpose of the ordinance is to identify trees that are to be saved when development or land disturbing activity is occurring. It is the City's intent to protect, preserve, and enhance the natural environment of Arden Hills and to encourage a resourceful and prudent approach to development. A Tree Preservation Plan is required as part of any Building Permit, Grading and Erosion Control Permit, or subdivision application and replacement tree plantings are required if a certain amount of significant trees are removed. The mitigation rate is 1 caliper inch for every 2 caliper inches removed. Unapproved tree loss requires a replacement of 2 caliper inches for every 1 caliper inch removed. The City Code allows for homeowners to install native meadow vegetation in place of turf grass if certain standards are met.
In the late 1980's, the city of Chanhassen adopted a Tree Preservation Ordinance that placed an emphasis on protecting existing trees during development. The ordinance sets minimums for preservation during development and enacted penalties when the minimums were not met. Over the years the city has refined the ordinance to reflect best practices for tree preservation.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The ordinance requires a percentage of the site to have tree cover thereby distributing canopy cover. Species selection is also factored in, helping to guarantee long term viability. Preservation violations are penalized at a 2:1 ratio and inspections are done throughout the construction in ensure proper implementation.
The City of Delano’s Subdivision Code provides a section for the preservation and enhancement of the city’s trees. Delano requires that a tree preservation plan be submitted and approved by the City before any development begins. The plan must include a tree inventory, designated tree saving zones, measures proposed to protect significant trees and a plan for tree replacement for any damaged or destroyed trees at a 2:1 ratio.
Section 50-25 of Duluth's Unified Development Code details City standards for landscaping and tree preservation during all development - this includes the protection of existing vegetation during construction, "credited" trees when large trees are preserved during construction, percentage tree cover requirements, and a percentage of the sum of removed DBH to be replaced by the sum of planted DBH (rather than removal/replacement standards on a per tree basis).
The City has adopted a tree preservation ordinance that coincides with the City’s subdivision ordinance, that recognizes that the preservation and replanting of trees is important in maintaining a healthy and desirable community and finds that it is in the best interest of the City to protect, preserve, and enhance the natural environment of the community. The City encourages a resourceful and sensible approach to development, redevelopment, and alteration of trees and / or wooded areas. The City also recognizes that a certain amount of tree loss is an inevitable consequence of the development process. The City Council finds that tree preservation regulations will help to establish a balance between an individual’s rights to develop a parcel(s) and the needs of the community to protect aspects of the natural environment. The tree preservation ordinance provides provisions on tree surveys, protective measures, replacement ratios, and removal of diseased trees.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The City monitors trees that have died or become diseased and notifies the property owner of the need to remove and replace the tree.
The City has adopted a tree preservation ordinance that requires owners/developers to prepare a tree preservation plan for each graded lot. The plan must be certified by a licensed forester or landscape architect. Trees that are identified in the plan that were destroyed or damaged must be replaced with two replacement trees from nursery stock of a specified height and diameter.
An Urban Tree Ordinance was adopted by the Marine on St. Croix City Council (Oct 2018). It is the purpose of the ordinance to promote and protect the public health, safety, and general welfare by providing for the regulation of the planting,maintenance, protection, and removal of trees, shrubs, and other woody vegetation within the City to the extent found by the City Council to be practical within available resources. The provisions of the ordinance are enacted to implement the City’s Comprehensive Plan, the City Forestry Plan, and to:
A. Establish and maintain a sustainable amount of tree cover on public and private lands in the City;
B. Maintain trees in a healthy and non-hazardous condition through good arboricultural practices; and
C. Establish and maintain appropriate diversity in tree species and age classes to provide a stable and sustainable community forest.
In 2007, the City updated its tree preservation ordinance to change the focus on preserving trees rather than simply replacing them. Developers are responsible for conduct a tree inventory prior to approval of any new subdivisions.
Since 2004 the city has made an effort to minimize its turf maintenance activities, increase ecological diversity and reduce invasive species. The city requires the planting or seeding of native vegetation around stormwater ponds and wetlands, uses native plantings in landscaping features and uses county work crews to remove invasive species, such as buckthorn, from open space areas. The city is also using modified turf designs that require lower maintenance and less irrigation. The City has a policy in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan in chapter 8 page 8-15: “native plants, such as prairie plantings, will be used in parks and open space to reduce landscape maintenance requirements, to provide food and shelter for wildlife, to buffer shorelines, to control runoff and to discourage invasive and nuisance species.”
The municipal code, chapter 27, division 4, section 27-40 is titled Tree Protection Standards for Developing Properties. In order to preserve trees the City adopted this ordinance stating allowable tree removal and requiring a tree preservation plan be submitted from applicant.
Chapter 27, Division 6, Landscaping and Lawn Care establishes the guidelines by which residents can plant native species in their yards. The purpose of this section of the ordinance is to protect those who wish to plant native species from complaints from neighbors who want a more consistent manicured look throughout their neighborhood.
Bloomington’s ordinance pertaining to tree preservation during single family residential development can be found in Chapter 19 Section 53 of the City Code. The ordinance outlines many varied ways that preserved trees protect the natural environment following development.
Native Landscaping is covered in Chapter 10 section 38 of the City Code where it is allowed as part of an approved landscape plan or on a residential lot it does not exceed 50% of the pervious surface and is set back from the property line. Maintenance in the form of annual mowing or prescribed burning is also required under the ordinance.
The intent of this ordinance is "to encourage landscape and vegetation throughout the City that is friendly to pollinators and encourages the use of native plants, while respecting existing community values in landscaping, to include well-maintained yards, compatibility with structures, and maintaining safety sight lines, visibility, air movement, and light transmission."
The City has also implemented a buckthorn removal program with the public/residents. The city owns four weed wrenches, which are very effective tools in removing buckthorn. Residents can borrow these at no cost by contacting the City Forester. Buckthorn that is removed from private property can be placed at the curb for the city to pick up free of charge.
The City now also has a native landscaping ordinance, allowing residents to plant native areas on their property. At the same time, the city has been adding more native planting areas in city park projects.
The City has an ordinance on the preservation of trees and other vegetation for new subdivisions. It requires existing healthy trees and native vegetation on the site to be preserved to the maximum extent feasible and be protected by adequate means during construction. For new construction or expansion of an existing use a tree preservation plan should be submitted to the city prior to removing trees or commencing construction. Landscaping requirements for multifamily districts and nonresidential uses in residential districts state that the number of trees on the lot, tract, or parcel shall not be less than three plus the perimeter of the described area as measured in feet divided by 40. The total number of required trees may be offset by the provision of native grasses and wildflowers. Planting or preservation of native planting communities will receive credit for one tree per 500 square feet of native grass area.
Sec. 30-415. - Preservation of trees and other vegetation; tree planting requirements
Sec. 30-934. - Landscaping
Sec. 30-936. - Tree preservation plan
The City of Forest Lake implemented a woodland preservation ordinance in accordance with Forest Lake’s zoning code, that identifies that the value of natural resources, specifically the local forests and trees for community health and future sustainability. The City strongly encourages a practical yet innovative approach to growth, redevelopment, and the alteration of significant trees and/or woodlands. Likewise, the City acknowledges some loss of trees and woodlands can be an unavoidable result of land development and natural health trends.
The City Council concludes that this woodland preservation ordinance asserts the correct balance between private property rights and conservation of local flora and fauna. The woodland ordinance establishes regulations on landscape plans, tree surveys, and preservation thresholds per district, overlying preservation, replacement thresholds/monetary fees, and permitted tree removals.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
(A) A Woodland Preservation Plan is required when the subject property is three acres or greater in size and: (1) Preliminary subdivision plan is required within Subdivision Regulation (2) A project is proposed for which a city grading permit is required by City Code and significant woodlands exist on-site; or (3) An application for a single-family residential building permit when significant woodlands exist on-site.
(B) All properties located within the Shoreland Overlay District must comply with provisions for vegetation alteration as required
(C) City Code incorporate restrictive threshold per zoning district
The City of Maple Grove established a Tree Preservation Ordinance in 1994. The City utilized Steigerwaldt Land Services, Inc. to catalog all existing forest stands and rate them based on the quality of the trees within. From this analysis, specific, legally described areas were designated as a Tree Preservation Overlay district.
The city purchased outright some of the highest quality forest land (approximately 65 acres of forest land) and restricts the amount of tree removal that can occur on private land covered by the district.
In coordination with River Keepers and the Audubon Society, the City has implemented several urban woodland prairie initiatives along the river corridor. The attached file contains the most recent 2017 legacy grant and the map shows all the urban woodland prairie areas. Additionally, the City plants 800-1600 whips in the river corridor area annually with River Keepers so the river corridor serves as a tree preservation.
The city adopted a tree preservation ordinance in 2015. Section 4-3 (d) (4) of the City Code protects and preserves trees when new commercial, industrial, multiple family, and institutional development takes place.
The city has a tree replacement policy on both public an private property.
As a policy, we do not let the public do work on city owned/planted trees. We also inspect private trees and can ask people to do repair/remove trees, but if they don't, we do have jurisdiction over the private trees if they are potentially harmful to others or the environment.
We have ordinances in place for weeds and grass height in residential yards that would get in the way of the growth of natural vegetation.
The City of Rogers has had a tree preservation section in the Zoning Ordinance since 1980. The ordinance requires that:
(1) Structures shall be located in such a manner that the maximum number of trees shall be preserved.
(2) Prior to the granting of a building permit, it shall be the duty of the person seeking the permit to demonstrate that there are no feasible or prudent alternatives to the clear-cutting of trees on the site and that if trees are cut, the person will restore the density of trees to that which existed before development but in no case shall the person be compelled to raise the density above ten trees per acre.
(3) Forestation, reforestation or landscaping shall utilize a variety of tree species and shall not utilize any species presently under disease epidemic. Species planted shall be hardy under local conditions and compatible with the local landscape.
The Zoning Ordinance also requires that there is at least one tree and landscape island for every 12 parking spots in all parking lots.
Reference to tree preservation can also be found in the following parts of city code:
Highway Corridor Overlay District: http://library.municode.com/HTML/14443/level4/PTIILADERE_CH125ZO_ARTIVDIRE_DIV3OVDI.html#PTIILADERE_CH125ZO_ARTIVDIRE_DIV3OVDI_S125-225HICOOVDIHC
Subdivision Design Standards: http://library.municode.com/HTML/14443/level3/PTIILADERE_CH121SU_ARTIIIDESTREIM.html#PTIILADERE_CH121SU_ARTIIIDESTREIM_S121-57SUDEST
Shoreland Protection: http://library.municode.com/HTML/14443/level3/PTIILADERE_CH109SHWEPR_ARTIISHPR.html#PTIILADERE_CH109SHWEPR_ARTIISHPR_S109-21AD
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The uploaded document shows that at least 2 trees (4 for corner lots) must be planted in the front yard of each new house that is built. In 2013, 140 new houses were built in the city; therefore, more than 280 trees were planted.
Saint Paul has Chapter 176 for the Preservation and Protection of Trees in the public realm and Ordinance, Section 67.20 regarding for protection of private property trees in the Tree Preservation Overlay District (the Highwood area of the city).
Nuisance ordinance has been modified to allow native vegetation where appropriate and under specified conditions.
The City allows residents to have a Planned Landscape Area (Native landscape). The landscape area must meet setbacks, and maintenance standards but does not require a permit. The City also has an Environmentally Sensitive Ordinance which helps protect wooded areas.
The City Development code establishes standards for woodland and tree preservation that requires a preservation plan for plats and minor subdivisions, establishes replacement standards for significant trees, and establishes protective measures to be taken.
For new development or redevelopment, a Tree Preservation Plan is required as part of the City's Municipal Code, section 209: Environmental Standards. A tree preservation plan shall be submitted. This plan shall identify the trees to be preserved on the site and the methods to be employed to insure that the identified trees are not damaged during construction. These methods must be acceptable to the City. A Tree Replanting Plan, acceptable to the City, shall also be submitted. This plan shall provide for at least a one-for-one replacement, up to a maximum of 15 trees per acre, for any healthy tree(s) in excess of 4 inches in diameter, except the replacement threshold for boxelder, cottonwood, and willow trees shall be eight inches of diameter and except as required elsewhere in this Section for landmark trees. The replacement trees shall comply with the standards in Section 206.010(J). Trees preserved on the site shall count toward the 15 trees per acre maximum replacement requirement, except any trees required to be replaced to compensate for the removal of a landmark tree [Section 209.050(B)(2)(c)] shall be in addition to the requirements of this section.
In 2012 the City's vegetation Code was updated to allow for native landscaping.
In 2015, the City Council passed Resolution 2015-181-“Endorsing the Protection of Pollinators and Enhancement of Pollinator Habitat” which states that the City is committed to promoting pollinator health through several measures including using pollinator-friendly plantings (aka native plantings) in public places such as City parks.
In 2020, City Staff decided to take this a step further by passing a native plant landscaping ordinance to clearly solidify the place of native plant landscaping. Up until this point, native plant landscape areas in residential or commercial areas lived in a grey area where they were not expressly allowed or prohibited but were subject to the standard weed nuisance height requirements. The new ordinance exempts native plant landscape areas from the weed nuisances rules, clearly defines that native plant landscape areas as allowed in residential districts and creates performance standards for native plant landscape areas.
The city has a tree preservation ordinance. The two main aspects are that it establishes a tree commission and requires that trees removed during development are replaced by the developer on-site or by a fee-in-lieu payment to the City tree fund.
Willmar's landscape ordinance includes public and private requirements to develop a tree preservation plan in order to retain tree as part of urban development. Parking areas are required to be landscaped in order to breakup the barren effect of hard surface parking areas.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
New developments are better shaded and more visually appealing. Natural vegetation improve storm water quality. More existing trees are preserved during new development.
(b) Apple Valleys Tree Preservation Ordinance (Sec 152.46) regulates tree removal and applies when >10% of significant trees are proposed to be removed from site. Tree replacement consists of replanting 10% of diameter-inches removed.
(c) When buffer zones are required around water bodies, Protective Buffer Zone Ordinance (Sec 152.57C.3.b.) requires native plants be used to establish buffer. Adopted City Ordinances do not specifically list native plants as an alternative to turf grass, but they do not disallow use of native plants or rain gardens as alternatives to turf grass. One commercial property in Apple Valley is planted entirely in big bluestem, which was approved during the development/plan review process. Additionally, Apple Valley has a cost share program for installation of rain gardens, native plant gardens, and shoreline restorations using native plants.
§ 11.71 Tree Preservation
§ 7.06 Regulation of Grass, Weeds, and Trees in Streets - Subd 3. Duty of Property Owners to cut grass and weeds and maintain trees and shrubs: If the grass or weeds in a place attain a height in excess of six inches, it shall be prima facie evidence of a failure to comply with this subdivision. Every owner of property abutting on any street shall, subject to the provisions herein requiring a permit therefor, trim, cut, remove and otherwise maintain all trees and shrubs in unhazardous and healthy condition, from the line of the property nearest to the street to the center thereof.
§ 10.13 GRASS AND WEEDS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY - It is unlawful for any owner, occupant or agent of any lot or parcel of land in the city to allow any weeds or grass growing upon any such lot or parcel of land to grow to a greater height than six inches or to allow such weeds or grass to go to seed.
The City had adopted a Tree Preservation Ordinance that requires the replacement/mitigation of significant trees or woodlands removed during development in excess of an allowable removal limit of approximately 20-40%, as determined by the development type. The number of mitigation trees installed is determined by a formula based upon the size and type of the tree removed and size of the replacement. The ratio for replacement to removal ranges from 1:1 to 12:1.
An ordinance calling for the protection of mature trees in Edina was passed in March of 2015, and officially went into effect on July 1st, 2015 where the main purpose of the ordinance, as stated, is to preserve and grow Edina’s tree canopy cover by protecting mature trees throughout the city, and protect and maintain healthy trees in the development and building permit processes as set forth in the ordinance document; and prevent tree loss by eliminating or reducing compacted fill and excavation near tree roots.
In the text 'protected tree' is defined as well as 'critical root zone', which is "the minimum area around a tree that is left undisturbed". With this definition, the ordinance states that If the critical root zone must be disturbed for construction or construction activity, a plan for the disturbance shall be submitted subject to review and approval of the city forester to minimize damage.
The City adopted a revised landscape ordinance in 1998 to promote the addition of landscape materials in the City with tree requirments on boulevards at 1/40 ft. The ordinance also provides for screening requirements for incompatible uses.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Additional landscaping is provided in the community and the ordinance requires screening though landscaping between incompatible uses.
Our city's zoning ordinance contains a tree preservation standards to promote the maximum possible preservation of woodland during land alterations. Replacement standards in this ordinance require woodlands to be replaced with species in accordance to the zoning districts' requirements. This states that planting diversity and tree disease susceptibility should be considered when choosing replacement tree species. Additionally, our Northwest Area Ordinance encourages landscaping with native vegetation within common areas, while requiring 50% of open space area in PUD to be planted with native vegetation.
The city passed a native plant landscape ordinance. Previously native landscape fell under the the standard weed nuisance height requirements. The new ordinance allows residents to plant a native landscape in their front and/or back yards and defines the rules for them to follow. It provides direction on what plants are and are not allowed and in what instances signage is required to let the public know it is a native landscape.
The City has adopted a Woodland Preservation Ordinance which limits development impacts to any defined woodland area within the community, and requires that impacted trees be replaced at a 2:1 ratio. Tree preservation ordinance applies to both public and private lands, and for building permit and/or zoning action approval tree clearing and replacement plans are required for review. Scroll to Section 12 of linked ordinance.
The City also requires provision of perimeter landscaping for upon new development, and redevelopment of properties. Requirements call for planting of shade (deciduous) trees every 50 feet along frontage and parking lot perimeter, and planting of evergreen (coniferous) trees every 25 lineal feet. Credit is given for preservation of existing trees when feasible. See Mankato City Code, Section 10.88.
Mankato has been granted "Tree City USA" status.
Rochester has an ordinance that allows and encourages native species to be used for landscaping. 48.05
Natural landscape permits are available and required from the Park Department if the proposed landscape includes planting of native grasses that exceed 10 inches in height.
Rochester also has a very extensive tree ordinance.
In an effort to protect the community's abundance of natural beauty, St. Cloud created the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Ordinance to help protect natural lands while allowing for development. Based on solid ecological information and written input from local developers, the ordinance is implemented by the City with the help of a local team of scientists. The success of the ordinance can be seen through the completion of over seventeen developments that balance protection yet see a return in investment.
St. Cloud has recently also implemented changes to the Disease Tree Ordinance allowing for condemnation of tress for the looming threat of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)