Are the marked trees the only ones infected with Dutch elm disease?
The city will mark elm trees that show signs of Dutch elm disease. Trees within 50 feet may be connected by roots and may have the fungus in its root system, but not show symptoms. At the time of removal, check for signs in nearby trees. Hire a qualified arborist to inspect trees or ask the city to re-inspect anytime up to the date of removal. View information about Emerald Ash Borer.
Because trees and shrubs block my view, I can’t see oncoming cars at the intersection in my neighborhood. What should I do?
Talk to the property owner, tell the owner about the problem and ask for him/her to fix it. By putting the property owner on notice, he/she can’t claim ignorance if an accident does occur. If the owner refuses to correct the hazard, contact the Forestry Division for an independent assessment.
Can I keep the elm wood?
You may keep the wood if the bark is removed. However, the purpose of tree removal is to destroy the wood, which is habitat for the beetles responsible for overland spread of the Dutch elm disease fungus.
Can I keep the wood from a tree that has been cut down because it is structurally unsound?
Yes, you may keep wood from structurally unsound trees.
Does the city trim boulevard trees?
Yes, the city does trim trees within the public right-of-way. Tree trimming is usually done in the winter to avoid potential pest problems.
Does the city trim trees for power line clearance?
No, the responsibility of trimming for clearance rests with your utility company. They usually subcontract the required work to a qualified tree care company.
How do I determine if my tree is within the public right-of-way?
Most right of ways extend 8-13’ behind the curb, depending on the width of the road. Please call the Forestry Division if you are not sure.
How do I know if a problem caused by a tree was due to neglect or an "act of God"?
To qualify as an "act of God", all of the following elements are needed.
The accident must have happened from a force of nature that was both unexpected and unforeseeable.
The force must have been the sole cause of the accident.
The accident could not have been prevented by using reasonable care.
How do I know which trees the utility company will trim?
There are two common situations that involve utility companies are:
Pole to Pole – For poles located along property lines and involving more than one residence, utilities prefer to trim by removing as much of the tree as necessary to prevent damage to lines and avoid power arching.
Pole to House – For lines from the service pole to your house, the utility often disconnects the service lines to allow you and/or your contractor to safely remove troublesome branches.
How do you determine the boundary line?
A survey is the sure way to know where a boundary line is, assuming that you can locate the survey markers.
Is tree debris considered a nuisance?
No. The courts have basically said, "leaves happen." Healthy trees drop debris, like acorns, sap, leaves and twigs.
What about trees that fail and cause damage or injury?
Typically, tree owners are legally responsible for damage caused by their unsound trees. The test is whether the tree owner knew or should have known that damage was likely. A tree owner is not expected to be a tree expert, but he/she is expected to recognize obvious symptoms of a problem, such as visible decay, stem cracks, a dead limb and a trunk with a dangerous lean.
What can the city do about hazardous intersections caused by sight obstructions?
The city will inspect the intersection and corresponding sight triangle (30 feet). If there are sight obstructions within the triangle, the property owner will be notified and requested to correct the situation.
What can you do when a boundary tree has become a nuisance?
Here are the dos and don’ts of legally abating the nuisance.
Prune overhanging branches up to the boundary line at your own expense. Property owners have the right to use self-help to prune branches or roots of a neighbor’s tree that encroaches onto their property.
Prune, but don’t harm or destroy the tree. Don’t remove too much of the canopy, so as to jeopardize the tree’s capacity to photosynthesize. Don’t cut so many of the roots that the tree may become unstable. Don’t prune oaks during the high-risk period of April to July. If you don’t know what may harm a tree, consult a tree expert before cutting.
Do not trespass onto your neighbor’s property to trim a tree or shrub. Technically, that means don’t lean over the property line to make the pruning cut, without your neighbor’s consent.
Do not cut down a tree whose trunk is on the boundary line without the consent of the adjoining property owner. Minnesota law provides for an assessment of treble (three times) damages awarded in court for intentionally cutting down a tree without the owner’s permission.
What happens to logs brought to the city's yard waste site?
Logs and brush are ground every three weeks during the Dutch elm disease season. Brush is hauled away for disposal. Logs are used for landscape mulch. Grinding elm trees into small pieces makes the wood uninhabitable for elm beetles.
What if I don’t believe trees that the city has deemed hazardous are located on my property?
If you believe the trees are on a neighboring property, please locate and flag your survey markers and let us know. The city will use landscape cues and plat books when the corners are not identified. The city cannot be responsible for surveying all properties.
What if I trim my own boulevard trees or have special considerations/concerns?
Before neighborhood trimming, you will be notified by a door hanger. Please contact the Forestry Division so that special arrangements can be made in advance.
What if the owner of a defective tree won’t address the problem?
Talk to the tree owner. Tell him/her about the problem and ask for it to be fixed. By putting the owner on notice, the owner can’t claim ignorance when the tree fails. If the owner refuses to correct the perceived hazard, contact the Forestry Division for an independent assessment.
What is a boundary tree?
Generally, a tree planted on the boundary line between two lots or a tree whose branches, trunk or roots have crossed a boundary.
What is a nuisance tree?
Minnesota Statutes define a nuisance as: “Anything which is an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property is a nuisance.” Branches that rub against the neighbor’s roof, tree roots that push up a sidewalk or a tree whose trunk is on your neighbor’s property but leans far into your yard and prevents your use of a corner of your lot can be defined as a nuisance.
What should I look for in a tree care company?
Always get two to three written price quotes before you choose a company. Ask to see proof of insurance and do not pay until the work is complete. A good starting point as you look for a company is Find a Certified Arborist. Be wary of door-to-door solicitors. Before hiring, make sure they understand what is expected: your time limit, wood removal or chipping, and stump de-barking. You do not need to grind out the stump, as long as the bark is stripped off the stump.
What type of trimming is done to my trees?
If the tree is within the public right-of-way, trimming will include:
Lifting branches for road safety;
Removal of parallel, crossing, dead and broken branches; and
Thinning out branches to allow sunlight and air flow through the crown of the tree.
If the tree is not within the right-of-way, but extends into the street, trimming will be limited to lifting branches for road safety.
Who owns the boundary tree?
Generally, the location of the trunk determines who owns the tree. A tree trunk that stands solely in your yard is your tree.
Why does the city mark diseased elm trees?
Removal of diseased elm trees slows the spread of Dutch elm disease. The disease is spread by beetles which are able to fly for miles, making the disease a region-wide problem.
Why does the city mark hazardous trees?
It is the intention of the City Council to provide residents with a safe living space. Hazardous trees, may cause considerable property damage as well as threaten lives if left to fall on their own.