We are responsible for planting and caring for trees in Minneapolis parks, both in parkland areas (where we mow grass), and in woodland areas (natural areas). This includes approximately 400,000 park trees.

The information on the tabs below describes our parkland area practices unless otherwise noted.


We determine the locations and the number of trees to plant in parks. We select types of trees that will help increase urban forestry diversity, and we plant during the season that is best for the tree. Tree Planting in Minneapolis

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 at least 25 to 30 feet away from other trees

Medium Trees

  • Grow up to 30 to 50 feet tall
  • Planted at least 30 to 40 feet away from other trees 

Large Trees

  • Grow taller than 50 feet
  • Planted more than 35 feet away from other trees

We plant trees that mature to the correct size for the park setting to minimize interference with surrounding infrastructure.

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.

Tree Species Diversity

We are committed to maintaining a diverse population of trees. 

Following the devastating loss of American Elms due to Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s, species diversity became an important consideration when determining new trees to plant. This is why we typically plant a wide variety of tree types in each park.

Species diversity helps reduce the losses that may occur from a future insect or disease infestation.

Trees We Plant

Planting in Woodland Areas (Natural Areas)

We do not actively plant trees in woodland areas.These areas regenerate and new trees grow naturally on their own. If we must remove trees in a natural area to control an invasive species, we will plant new trees and speed up the natural regeneration process.


We routinely prune to keep our city beautiful and maintain the health of our trees in parkland areas.

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

Pruning in Woodland Areas (Natural Areas)

We only prune in woodland areas to make them safe for the public and to provide clearance for pathways, roads, signs, and street lights.


We will remove a park tree if the tree:
  • Is dead or dying
  • In structurally hazardous
  • Is infested with an invasive species like Emerald Ash Borer [EAB]
  • Has a disease like Dutch Elm Disease [DED]
We pay to remove park trees.

Marking and Notification

We will mark park trees we need to remove 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.

Tree Stump Removal

We hire private companies to grind stumps because it is more cost effective. They grind the stump below the surrounding soil or deeper if we need to plant a new tree in the same spot.

We first grind stumps in locations where we need to plant new trees (referred to as “deep grinds”). Then, we remove stumps on a street-by-street basis (“regular grinds”). We may remove a stump the same year the tree was cut down, or the next year.

The budgeted funds available determine how many stumps we can grind and when. We may not have the resources to remove every tree stump each year.

Removal in Woodland Areas (Natural Areas)

We do not remove trees from woodland areas unless they are dangerous or diseased. If a tree has the potential to fall, or is located where it could cause harm to people or property, we will remove it. For example, a tree near a path could be dangerous, but a tree in the middle of a natural area away from paths or roads is not dangerous.

If there is a fallen tree wedged between other trees or resting on a weak branch, we may need to make it safe. We will not remove the tree from the site, but will rest it safely on the ground. The tree will naturally decompose and will not damage nearby trees.

We may remove diseased trees from natural areas to protect the trees around them.

Park Trees Near You

Use these interactive maps to find cool trees, learn tree types and discover the value of trees in your parks.

The maps are a good representation of park trees, but may have some inaccuracies because the trees in our parks change constantly. We update the tree data yearly.