One of the hallmarks of Minneapolis’ quality of life is its urban forest, which covers more than 26 percent of the landscape. The natural canopy showcases many shades of green in the summer. In the autumn, the vivid reds, oranges and yellows of the changing leaves contrast beautifully with the muted colors of concrete and metal in the city.
The urban forest of Minneapolis is an important resource for the health and well-being of the city’s environment and residents. Trees lower heating and air conditioning costs, prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitats, and increase property values.
Doing its part to maintain and preserve our priceless urban forest, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Forestry Division is responsible for all City-owned trees. It monitors the planting, pruning and removal of trees on public property. For Minneapolis, that adds up to 200,000 boulevard trees on 1,078 miles of streets, including 6,400 acres of park land, which need care. Since 1974, the city has planted a total of 211,594 trees.
Some things you might not have known about Minneapolis and its trees:
- Minneapolis has been nationally recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation since 1979.
- Minneapolis has won the Tree City USA Growth Award every year since 1994.
- The city has also received National Arbor Day Foundation Arbor Day Awards of Excellence in advertising and celebration categories for 1981 and 2000 respectively.
- The Minnesota Society of Arboriculture bestowed the Award of Merit unto Minneapolis in the years 2006 and 2007.
- Minneapolis has won the Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee Award nine times in the last 15 years: 1992, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007.
- Finally, Minneapolis won the Award of Excellence from the National Roadside Vegetation Management Association in 2005.
And now the MPRB is asking for your help as a Minneapolis resident. Right now, it’s the time of year when hot July temperatures and lack of rainfall are stressing young trees. Accordingly, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Forestry Division is urging residents to water their young trees (five years and under), especially those planted on boulevards this year. As part of the Forestry Division’s maintenance of the 3,500 new trees, crews completed two waterings and placed wood chips at the base of each tree. They also provided property owners with information about continued tree care.
“We really need residents to step forward to help us maintain these new trees by watering them once or twice a week as we deal with dry conditions,” says Paul Domholt, Community Forestry Coordinator.
The Forestry Division has provided these watering tips to ensure new and young trees will stay green and healthy.
- Using a garden hose, turn on the water at a slow rate for two hours. If a garden hose is not available, 20 gallons of water will properly soak a new tree.
- The best time to water is from 10 p.m.-8 a.m. Trees relieve water deficits (refill) overnight. Watering at night allows effective use of applied water and less loss from evaporation, assuring more water moves into the soil and tree.
- Pour left-over ice or water from your picnic lunch or supper beneath a nearby tree.
- Continue watering your tree this fall until the ground freezes, which often occurs in mid-to-late November.
MPRB Forestry crews mulch newly-planted trees each year for five years as needed. Mulch helps preserve root health by holding moisture, reducing weeds and preventing damage from weed whips and lawn mowers.
For trees on private property, place a 4-inch layer of mulch, such as wood chips, around the tree. Young or newly planted trees should have a two-foot radius of mulch placed a few inches away from the trunk of the tree. MPRB provides woodchips at sites throughout Minneapolis.
Also, citizens should watch over their new trees by checking them once a week for any diseases or other problems. Report insect, fungal or other noticeable damage to the Forestry Division and the tree will be inspected.
For more information on caring for trees or locating a wood chip distribution site, visit Minneapolis’ Urban Forest page or call the Forestry Division at 612-370-4900.