We are responsible for all City-owned trees, including boulevard trees, the public trees located between the curb and sidewalk in front of your home. We care for approximately 200,000 boulevard trees.

Tree Planting in MinneapolisWe carefully consider the species and location of each public tree we plant. It will affect the area around it for many years and we want each tree to thrive.

Boulevard Tree Requests

When we remove a boulevard tree, we add it to a replanting list unless something in the environment would prevent the tree from developing properly. It is not necessary to request a boulevard tree replacement.

Request a New Boulevard Tree

Minneapolis residents and property owners are welcome to request a new boulevard tree by calling 612-313-7710 or emailing forestry@minneapolisparks.org.

We will review your request, inspect the location to make sure it is possible to plant a tree, and make sure there is enough money budgeted for the tree planting. We will let you know if we cannot plant the tree you request.

We finalize our spring planting list by November 1 to allow time to purchase trees from commercial nurseries. After November 1, we begin preparing the next year’s planting list, so it is possible that we may not replace a tree we removed in December for 1.5 years.

We will select the type of tree, and plant it during the season that is best for the tree.

Tree Placement Guidelines

We follow several placement guidelines when we plant trees to reduce future maintenance. Before we consider a location, we make sure it is an appropriate environment for the tree.

Tree Size

We keep a list of potential tree species and choose their location based on their mature size.

Small Trees

  • Grow up to 30 feet tall
  • Planted in boulevards wider than three feet
  • Planted at least 25 to 30 feet away from other trees

Medium Trees

  • Grow up to 30 to 50 feet tall
  • Planted in boulevards ranging from 4 to 6 feet wide
  • Planted at least 30 to 40 feet away from other trees

Large Trees

  • Grow taller than 50 feet
  • Planted in boulevards wider than 5 feet
  • Planted more than 35 feet away from other trees

We plant trees that mature to the correct size for the boulevard to minimize interference with surrounding infrastructure such as curbs and sidewalks.

Trees Near Overhead Wires

We carefully select the tree species we plant under overhead wires. Our preference is to plant smaller trees to minimize interference. Alternatively, we may plant trees with a growth habit that allows for directional pruning, where we only prune the branches that grow toward utility lines or other obstructions.

Trees Near Infrastructure

We try to plant trees at least 10 feet away from fire hydrants, driveways or utility poles.  Care is taken to avoid interference with underground utilities.

We also try to plant trees at least 30 feet away from stop signs, traffic signs, traffic signals, street lights or the inter division of curbs from crossing streets.


We notify you in two ways before a tree is planted on the boulevard in front of your property:

  1. We paint a white “T” on the curb to show approximately where we will plant the tree.
  2. We leave a hanger on your door with information about the planting.

Refusing a Tree

If you do not want us to plant a public tree on the boulevard in front of your home, call 612-313-7710 as soon as you see the white “T” painted on the curb or receive the door hanger. This gives us time to find a new location to plant the tree.

If we already planted the tree, we ask that you accept it. Moving a planted tree is expensive and not good for the tree’s health.

Tree Species Diversity

We are committed to maintaining a diverse population of trees. In residential areas, we typically plant two or more tree species on each street. Species diversity helps reduce the losses that may occur from a future insect or disease infestation.

Following the devastating loss of American Elms due to Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s, species diversity was achieved by planting one tree type on each block of a street.  Following the discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in 2010, however, diversification was redefined to include two or more tree species on each block of a street.

Tree Planting Permits

As a Minneapolis resident, property owner or public organization, you may request a permit to plant trees on boulevards, but you are responsible for the cost of planting.

We will decide:

  • What type of trees to plant to increase overall species diversity
  • If your request is in the public’s best interest
  • How many trees to plant
  • Where to plant the trees

If sidewalk panels need to be removed in order to plant a tree, you will also need an approved Encroachment Permit from the Department of Public Works.

If we grant you a planting permit, we may give you instructions for planting the tree correctly and you must let us know when your planting is done. If you do not follow the terms of your permit, we will let you know and you must fix the problem, which may cost you money.

Call 612-313-7710 or email forestry@minneapolisparks.org to request a permit.

Tree Planting Events

Because there may be publicity around boulevard tree planting events, you must include us in your event planning to ensure the trees are planted correctly. We will work with the contact listed on your permit request to determine our level of involvement, and we will outline event requirements in the permit.

Trees Planted Without a Permit

If you plant a tree without a permit on the boulevard in front of your home that is in a problematic location and/or is not an approved species, we will give you a deadline to remove the tree or replant it on private property. If you miss the deadline, we will remove or replant the tree.

We routinely prune to keep our city beautiful and to maintain the health of our boulevard trees.

Reasons to Prune

Protect people

  • Remove limbs that may fall and hurt people
  • Provide clearance for signs, signals or street lights
  • Reduce potential of criminal activity

Protect property

  • Remove limbs that may fall and damage property
  • Remove limbs that rub against buildings
  • Reduce potential of criminal activity

Maintain traffic flow

  • Provide clearance for signs, signals, street lights, and pedestrians

Tree health

  • Remove unhealthy branches
  • Fix growth defects
  • Lower wind resistance

tree with trunk sprouts

Tree Trunk Sprouts

Tree Trunk & Basal Sprouts

When to Prune

It is best to prune sprouts growing from the base or trunk of a tree as soon as they appear in the spring when the growth is soft and you can remove it with your hand. Later in the year, the sprout becomes wood and you will need hand tools to remove it.

How to Prune

Only use your hand or hand tools to prune a boulevard tree. Chainsaws are dangerous and could damage the tree. Cut the sprouts as close as you can to the trunk or base of the tree.

tree with basal sprouts

Basal Sprouts

Why Prune

Sprouts near the ground can get in the way of people walking and block the view of cars. Removing sprouts that grow from the trunk or base of trees improves tree health, appearance and neighborhood safety.

Pruning Requests

Reasons you might request pruning:

  • Branches are rubbing on your house
  • To prevent crime by eliminating hiding places
  • A building is being moved

We will not prune a boulevard tree:

  • To improve a view
  • If it blocks a commercial sign
  • If it interferes with utility lines – call the utility company directly to request pruning

If there is a tree on a boulevard that you think needs pruning, call 612-313-7710 or email forestry@minneapolisparks.org and we will decide if pruning is necessary.

tree removal on lyndaleWe will remove a boulevard tree if the tree:

We pay to remove boulevard trees.

Marking and Notification

If a boulevard tree in front of your home is scheduled for removal, we will hang an information tag on your front door to let you know why the tree was marked.

We mark boulevard trees as follows:

Green Paint Ring
The tree has Emerald Ash Borer and will remain marked for five days. After five days, we will remove the tree as soon as possible.

Green Paint X
We will remove the non-symptomatic tree as part of the canopy replacement plan for ash trees.

Green Ribbon
The tree is not currently scheduled for removal. We wrap non-symptomatic public ash trees with informational ribbons to raise awareness for the canopy replacement plan for ash trees.

We only use green to mark ash trees.

Orange Paint Ring
The tree has Dutch Elm Disease and will remain marked for five days. After five days, we will remove the tree as soon as possible.

Orange Paint X
We will remove the tree for another reason. For example, it is dead or dying.

We make the final decision about boulevard tree removal, but will do our best to answer any questions you have.

Removal Request

If there is a tree on a boulevard that you think we should remove, please contact us at 612-313-7710 or forestry@minneapolisparks.org and we will decide if removal is necessary.

Reasons you might request removal:

  • Construction projects such as building a new driveway apron
  • Tree location interferes  with sewer line repair
  • An ash tree is replaceable
  • A Ginkgo tree drops excessive amounts of fruit

We will not remove a boulevard tree:

  • To improve a view
  • If it blocks a commercial sign
  • Clogged sewer line
  • To allow more sunlight to reach a solar panel
  • To eliminate the need to clean up leaves or seeds that fall from the tree

If your request is approved, you may have to pay for the tree removal and for the value of the tree. If we cannot plant the replacement tree in the same location, you may have to pay to replant the tree in a different location.

winter stumpingWe hire private companies to grind stumps because it is the most cost effective.   Competitive bids are solicited from qualified contractors each year.  The companies with the lowest prices are awarded a contract to grind a portion of as many as 8000+ stumps annually.  The Forestry Department can spend over $500,000 annually on stump grinding.  Contractors grind the stump below the surrounding soil or deeper if we need to plant a new tree in the same location.

Stump grinding is performed according to strict specifications.  The three main descriptions for stump grinding are shallow, regular or deep.   “Shallow” grinds are about 4 inches deep and are mostly performed in parks.  The majority of boulevard stumps are ground 8 inches deep which is a “regular” grind.  “Deep” grinds are 18 inches deep and are performed when the new tree must be planted in exactly the same spot as the stump.

With all stump grinding on boulevards, the wood chips that are generated during the grinding process are picked up and hauled away for recycling.  New topsoil is replaced in the hole.  It is slightly mounded to allow for settling.  We do not apply grass seed to the new soil area due to the seasonable variability of when grinding occurs.  Propertry owners may reseed the boulevard if they choose to do so.  Reseeding should not be done if a new tree is scheduled where a deep grind was performed.   To know where a new tree will be planted, look for a white T on the curb.

All boulevard stump grinding is dependent upon budgeted funds.  Because new stumps are generated throughout the calendar year, it is more efficient and cost effective to wait until annual tree removals are completed before assigning stumps to a contractor.  For this reason, stumps are usually not removed until the year following the removal of the tree.

While there are fewer deep grinds than regular grinds, there is no way to know from year to year what the exact count of each will be.  To ensure that as many regular grinds as possible are completed, deep grinds are typically performed after regular grinds.  If after completing regular grinds enough funds remain, deep grinds may begin in the fall.  If completing regular grinds exhausts the budget, deep grinds will likely be completed in the late winter or early spring of the following year.   Either way, this ensures that stumps requiring a deep grind are removed in preparation for the spring planting season.

The budgeted funds available determine how many stumps we can grind and when.  There are years when we may not have enough resources to grind every stump that is created.  In these cases, such stumps will be completed using funding from the subsequent year’s budget appropriaton.


Water newly planted trees thoroughly once a week during dry periods in the spring, summer and fall.

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. Slowly pour at least four five-gallon buckets of water over the tree roots, or put a hose under the tree and let it run gently for one hour.

This video demonstrates the best ways to water your tree.


Putting mulch at the base of your trees

  • Holds in moisture
  • Reduces weeds
  • Prevents damage from lawn mowing machines

Make sure your mulched area

  • Is four to six inches deep
  • Is made of coarsely shredded bark or wood chips. Finely shredded mulch can stop water and nutrients from getting to tree roots
  • Stays a few inches away from the tree trunk to stop rodent damage and too much moisture at the base of the tree
  • Gets wider as the tree grows
  • Does not have any weeds. Remove weeds with your hands, not with chemicals.

Treating a Boulevard Tree

We do not chemically treat ash trees. If you would like to treat a non-symptomatic boulevard ash tree in front of your home with insecticide, you must hire a licensed and permitted tree care company. These companies know the proper way to apply insecticides in the safest way possible.

You must pay for any and all treatments.

Licensed and Permitted Tree Care Company List

Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

Bartlett Tree Experts: 763-253-8733
Birch Tree Care:
Branch and Bough Tree Service: 651-335-8655
Bratt Tree Company: 612-721-4153
Davey Tree Experts: 612-392-2405
Elijah Tree Care: 612-242-0221
Envirolawn Inc.: 952-888-7623
Meridian Tree Co.:
Morgans Tree Service: 651-210-5118
Northeast Tree: 612-789-9255
Otsvig Tree: 763-479-4090
Precision Landscape & Tree: 651-484-2726
Rainbow Tree Care: 952-922-3810
SavAtree: 952-881-3779
Shadywood Tree Experts: 952-933-0614
Tree Quality: 612-618-5244
Tree Trust:
Treehugger Tree Care, Inc.: 612-444-3494 ext. 4
Urban Foresters: 763-566-0722
Yetzer Tree Service: 612-331-1133

Note: This listing is not meant as an endorsement of a company or method of treatment. The MPRB does not endorse or discourage the treatment of elm, oak &/or ash trees with pesticides for the purpose of controlling Dutch Elm Disease, Oak Wilt &/or Emerald Ash Borer respectively. The companies named on this list are those that received a permit for treating public trees this year. There are other companies licensed by the City of Minneapolis that also provide this service on private property. These companies may be found on the following website: City of Minneapolis Business Licenses & Consumer Services.

Preventing Damage to Trees

Adding Lights to Trees in Business Areas

Before you can add lights to public trees in a business area, you need to obtain an Encroachment Permit from the Department of Public Works.

Then you must request a permit from us. Call 612-313-7710 or email forestry@minneapolisparks.org to make your request.

If we approve your request to add lights to a tree, the lights must not harm the tree in any way.

Fastening Signs to Trees

You may only attach signs to public trees if you do not pierce the bark. Do not use staples, pins, nails, screws or other fasteners that will damage the tree. If you pierce the bark, we may require you to pay for the damage to the tree.

Tree Care Links