The City of Bloomington continues to support the enhancement and preservation of our Community Forest both public and private. This is accomplished in a variety of ways such as our annual resident tree sale, our aggressive tree health and tree disease program along with many other programs and information provided throughout the year. Much of that information can be found on this web page. In 2012, the National Arbor Day Foundation recognized Bloomington with the Tree City U.S.A. designation for the 31st consecutive year. This award is given to cities who show an ongoing and active commitment in support of community forestry programs.
Don't grow these trees in Bloomington
Per Section 18.03 of the City Code, it is unlawful to plant any of the following trees within the city:
- Ginkgo – maidenhair tree female only (Ginkgo biloba)
- Boxelder – also known as ash-leaved maple (Acer negundo)
- Eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
- Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra italica)
- Buckthorn – common or European (Rhamnus Cathartica)
- Buckthorn – glossy, including all cultivars (Rhamnus Frangula)
- Ash – all species, varieties and cultivars (Fraxinus All)
Street Maintenance crews trim boulevard trees that interfere with the operation of snowplows and street sweepers. This is done on a time available basis. Bloomington ordinance provides that the care and maintenance of boulevard trees is the responsibility of the abutting property owner. No permit is required for this care.
In the boulevards, dead and dying trees with Emerald Ash Borer, Dutch elm disease, or oak wilt are removed under the City's Tree Disease Management program. Storm-damaged boulevard trees are trimmed or removed depending on the damage severity. Broken branches are removed to prevent damage to the street or walk when they fall. Stumps of removed trees are ground and the site is restored and seeded. No charge is made to the abutting property owner for these services.
New boulevard trees prohibited
Bloomington ordinance, Sec. 18.06, prohibits trees from being planted on the boulevard area between curb/street and property line. It further restricts yard trees from being planted within the first three feet of the private property. In general, trees should be planted more than fifteen feet from the curb.
Bloomington has had a program to manage Dutch elm disease and oak wilt for over twenty-five years. In 2014, Emerald Ash Borer was added to the program. The City marks trees requiring removal. Property owners can choose to use a contractor hired by the City or handle the removal themselves. Every spring the contract is bid so the removal price can be given at the time of marking.
Signs of Dutch elm disease
Prompt diagnosis and removal of diseased trees are the keys to help control the spread of Dutch elm disease. Dead or dying elm trees can become a breeding ground for thousands of beetles that will move about and spread the disease.
Visible signs of Dutch elm disease include leaves on the upper branches that turn from green to yellow, curl, and become brown and brittle. These symptoms are common signs of a diseased tree and could signal Dutch elm disease. If more than a few branches are affected, then the entire tree must be removed. If only small portions of the tree show symptoms, quick and proper action might prolong the life of the tree.
Chemical fungicides are available that are designed to protect the tree, but there is no guarantee that a treated tree won't become infected with Dutch elm disease. Chemical treatments have a greater success rate with healthy trees.
Japanese Beetles are Back
One of the most recent insect pests to deal with is the Japanese Beetles. Turf grass along with many different kinds of trees and shrubs can be attacked by these beetles with sometimes significant damage being done to both turf and landscape plants. The City recommends that residents visit the University of Minnesota Extension Division web page link below for clear and concise information on control methods and the timing of these controls. It must be remembered that control of this insect pest is possible but "eradication" is not possible and should not be our goal.
- Japanese Beetle Management in Minnesota
Oak and elm tree pruning advisory
Because of disease transmission (Emerald Ash Borer, Dutch Elm Disease, and Oak Wilt) these trees should be pruned when they are inactive. Therefore December, January and February are the best months to prune elms and oaks. This is also a good time to prune other shade trees.
Understand that these dates are not "set in concrete." Temperature and moisture can affect when trees should or shouldn't be pruned. The University of Minnesota has created the image to the right which will be updated to represent the current Oak Wilt risk level. You can also find more information at the University of Minnesota's web page by clicking the image or the link below:
Because Bloomington is within the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) quarantine for Hennepin County it is important to know the rules for properly disposing of tree debris and brush. Details of the quarantine and other regulatory information can be found on the MN Department of Agriculture website.
Information regarding to disposal of tree waste, including logs and brush can be found on the MN Department of Agriculture website.
Mowing, trimming or altering vegetation not allowed on City property
The land between residential property and adjacent ponds,wetlands, lakes and waterways is often owned by the City. In these areas, the City works to preserve native vegetation as a means of protecting environmental and water quality, and creating wildlife habitats. City land is held for the enjoyment of all residents and cannot be reserved for exclusive private use. It is the obligation of property owners to know their boundary lines so as not to disturb City property. The City Code prohibits the following in public areas:
- Damaging, cutting, carving, killing or injuring the bark of any tree or plant.
- Disturbing or mowing grass areas.
- Impairing its natural beauty or usefulness.
- Placement of playground or recreational equipment.
- Dumping lawn wastes or other refuse.
To preserve City property for the long-term benefit of all residents, the City will prosecute violations that are subject to misdemeanor penalties of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail.