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  In the month of February, MPRB Forestry crews removed a portion of the ash trees within the park (marked with green paint) as part of the Emerald Ash Borer driven Ash Canopy Replacement Plan in addition to trees that died as a result of storm damage, flood water immersion or disease (marked with orange paint). 70+ Ash were removed and 225 other species of tree were removed. Stump grinding for the removed trees will be done when the weather cooperates throughout the spring and summer. This spring, additional trees that succumbed to disease as a result of flood induced stress were marked for removal. Smaller trees were removed Friday, larger trees that require bucket trucks will be removed later this summer.

Replacement trees were planted this year, primarily during the month of May. Ralph Sievert, director of the MPRB’s Forestry department described the replanting as follows:

“Our plan is to replant each tree that was removed unless there are site / environmental constraints that prevent us from doing so.  The new trees will be composed of nearly 30 different genera, many of which do well in wet sites.  Some of those that tolerate wet conditions include Larch, Elms, Planetrees, River Birch, Baldcypress, Alder, Bicolor Oak, Aspen / Poplars & Honeylocusts.”

Some of you may have noticed that trees in this list are the same trees that died during last year’s lengthy flooding event. Trees that tolerate wet conditions will still succumb to flooding if these trees do not experience extreme moisture during their development and establishment; which means that even these new trees may die in future extremely wet years if we do not consistently experience wet springs. The park board’s diversification of trees helps to ensure that a stressor or disease that may kill some types of trees doesn’t completely wipe out the urban forest.

You can learn more about our urban forest on the park board’s new website. You can help the forest’s new additions be successful by helping water boulevard trees and get a free beverage and warm fuzzy in exchange – there is a new effort championed by resident Minneapolis foresters called Brewing a Better Forest that is trying to get every new tree planted adopted for watering. This year the MPRB will be planting 8,500 new trees with a significant portion of those being boulevard trees. Trees younger than five years old need one inch of rainfall each week to stay healthy. If there is not enough rain you should water your trees, including any you have adopted ; ). A proper watering involves slowly pouring at least four five-gallon buckets of water over the tree roots, or putting a hose under the tree and letting it run gently for one hour.

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