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 25th consecutive year. This award is given to cities who show
an ongoing and active commitment in support of community forestry programs.
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.
Boulevard tree trimming story
Bloomington Today: February 1, 2012
In the boulevards, dead and dying trees with 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 1999, two-lined chestnut borer infested oaks were 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
The City removed 850 diseased trees in 2003. 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. 2012 saw a marked increase in the numbers of beetles and the amount of damage they have done
in our landscapes. 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.
Because of disease transmission (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:
Mowing, trimming or altering vegetation not allowed on City
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.
For more information, contact:
Dave Hanson, Assistant Maintenance Superintendent/City Forester
1700 W. 98th Street