Forestry

The New Hope Urban Forestry Department is primarily responsible for the protection, management and maintenance of the city's urban forest. 

The city employees a full-time city forester who keeps inventory, manages disease control and inspects trees on the public right-of-way. City owned trees, which are trees growing along the streets, in parks and on municipal properties, are maintained by both city staff and the city's hired contractor. Residents can consult with the city forester on tree-related questions and problems. All new development is reviewed by the forester to ensure that the tree replacement policy is being followed and appropriate trees are being planted. The forester also assists with the enforcement of the City Code regarding trees, noxious weeds, long grasses and wood storage ordinances. 

Common issues that can be reported to the city are:
  • General questions about tree care, species, problems or ownership. 
  • Boulevard trees with broken, hanging or downed branches that may pose a safety hazard to people or property. Boulevard trees are trees located within 15' from the back of curb.
  • If you have reason to believe that a tree on your property has Dutch Elm Disease, Oak Wilt, or Emerald Ash Borer. The forester will inspect private trees, but it is the homeowner's responsibility to remove the tree. If the tree is located in the boulevard, within 15' from the back of curb, the city will removed the diseased tree.

Any tree issues can be reported to Public Works at 763-592-6777 or can be reported using the city's online reporting system.

Tree Planting / Reforestation

Urban trees provide benefits such as storm water mitigation, filtering our air, increasing oxygen, providing shade while keeping energy costs down and increasing property values. For these reasons trees are very important to our urban environment,  With the ever-growing loss of New Hope's aging tree population from tree diseases and insects, road construction projects and storm damage it is important that our urban forest be replenished with a healthy diverse tree population. You can help by doing your part by planting a tree!

The City of New Hope plants trees on the public right-of-way and on city-owned property in order to replace those that have been removed due to disease, improvement projects and general safety in order to maintain and enhance the city's urban forest. Staff prioritizes areas for tree replacement using the following criteria: the recent loss of a boulevard tree, the date and need of a resident request, future plans for the potential planting site and utility/safety concerns.

The city employs a full time forester who will make the final decisions regarding appropriate tree planting sites. Replacement trees will be planted at the direction of the resident whenever possible. The biggest concern when installing a replacement tree is the location of existing utilities. Trees cannot be planted on top of or near any existing utilities, which can limit the possible locations in resident front yards. 

Tree Selection

A healthy urban forest begins with considerable planning between the city forester and homeowners. Residents must consider the characteristics of the neighborhood as well as the desired characteristics of the new tree. The following items should be considered while selecting a new tree.

  • Height - How tall will the tree grow at maturity? Will it 'bump' into any other trees as it grows? Are there any overhead utilities that will eventually cause conflict?
  • Canopy Spread - How wide will the tree grow at maturity? Consider surrounding trees and landscaping that may be impacted as the tree grows. Will the growth of the tree eventually cause any sight issues for cars driving on the roadway, or cause any access issues to pedestrians on the sidewalk?
  • Deciduous or Conifer - Consider long term maintenance of the tree. Does current landscaping and yard characteristics allow for the easy clean up of leaves each year? 
  • Form and Shape - Columnar trees will take up less space as they grow, while round/v-shaped trees will take up more space and provide more shade. Know whether you want your tree to provide shade, privacy, aesthetics or to block wind noise.
  • Growth Rate How long will it take the new tree to reach maturity? Keep in mind that slower growing trees typically live longer than fast growing species.
  • Soil, Sun and Moisture - Typically soil in New Hope is heavy clay.  Some trees may not grow successfully in this soil type. Some trees may require specific watering requirements due to the soil.
  • Fruit - Fruit trees may be a great addition to a back or side yard. Consider the maintenance required of fruit dropping on the roadway, sidewalk or driveway of your property before planting a fruit tree in the front yard.
  • Hardiness Zone - New Hope resides in Zone 4B and all trees planted here will need to be hardy enough to survive a harsh winter.
  • Supplier - Buy only from a reputable nursery. Check to see if your supplier is a member of professional organizations, such as the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, the Mail Order Association of Nurseries or the American Association of Nurserymen. If your nursery is local, consult with knowledgeable staff to help narrow down which tree is right for your situation. 

Information about what trees the city forester recommends by visiting the Tree Selection webpage. Information about prohibited trees can be found here as well. There are some species of trees that are not allowed to be planted in the city due to common problems or diseases that can destroy a healthy tree population.

Call Before You Dig!
Before digging residents MUST call Gopher State One Call at 651-454-0002 to request location of all private utilities in the yard. Within 48 hours all utilities will be located. Trees cannot be installed on top of or near any utilities in the yard. You don't want to cause issues to your water or gas service down the road when the roots of your tree continue to grow. 
Tree Care

​Installation
Planting a new tree too deep is one of the leading causes of new tree mortality. Typically the top of the root ball should be installed level to the ground surface of the yard. In New Hope where heavy clay soils can present issues to new tree growth, the root ball many be raised so that up to 1/3 of the ball is above ground level. This promotes the spread of lateral roots.

Watering
Newly planted trees require routine water. Typically a tree requires 5 to 7 gallons of water applied directly to the root ball per week. The best way to water a new tree is to leave a garden hose trickling at the root ball for a few hours. This promotes deep growth of roots. In contrast, watering large amount at a time to the root ball directly promotes the growth of shallow roots. Watering in the fall needs to be closely monitored to ensure the tree can go dormant at the correct times.

Mulching
Keeping up to a 5" layer of mulch around new tree bases is a very important part of new tree care. Mulching allows for the better infiltration of water, the retention of soil moisture, limiting weed and grass growth, and discourages damage from lawn mowers or weed whips. Keep the mulch material away from the trunk. A porous landscape fabric that allows for water and gas exchange can help prevent weed growth, but a plastic landscape material can cause roots to suffocate and is not recommended. 

Fertilization
Fertilization of newly planted trees may be done every 2 to 3 years. Fertilizer can be applied either in the fall after leaves have fallen or in early spring before growth begins. Fertilizers can be applied to the ground surface surrounding the tree or by placing it in holes around the tree. Keep in mind that fertilizers applied to turf grass surrounding the tree may burn out and kill the turf, and surface applications typically must be watered in. Do not apply nitrogen fertilizers in the late summer as they can promote new growth that will not harden for winter properly. Phosphorous and potassium fertilizers can be applied into the fall as they typically enhance winter acclimation of the tree. 

Staking
Contrary to popular belief most new trees will do much better without staking. Young trees allowed to stand alone tend to develop stronger, more resilient trunks and root systems than trees that are staked. If a tree is unable to stand along then staking can be a solution but it must be done carefully. A very common problem with staked trees is that where the tree is wrapped the bark will die and cause irreparable damage to the tree. Soft nylon webbing or carpet strips attached to grommets can reduce the damage to tree trunks. If staking is necessary, remove the stakes and ties once the tree is established.

Winter Care
Proper winter care begins in the summer! Watering should be decreased in the early fall to prevent new growth, and should be increased in late fall to provided the necessary water to the tree to withstand the upcoming winter. Do not encourage late growth by heavy watering and use of nitrogen fertilizers in the early fall. In the late fall plants should be thoroughly watered up until the first soil freeze.

On new trees or trees with bark damage the trunk from the base to the first branch should be wrapped with a commercial tree wrap. This helps avoid Sunscald, the sunken dried out and cracked bark that can be caused by the sun heating the tree's bark during a cold winter. 

Animal damage can also be severe during Minnesota winters. New trees should be protected from rabbits and mice by installing an animal barrier. Either a cylinder of 1/4 nich mesh hardware cloth or a plastic drain tile pipe can provide an adequate barrier. Whatever material is installed it should be black and should extend 2' higher than the expected snow level. Chemical application can also be applied directly to the trunk. 

​Pruning
​After planting a new tree only prune critical branches and no others. Prune only branches that are broken or dead, or if there are competing leaders. Minimize all pruning at the time of planting, as trees need as many leaves as possible to recover from transplant shock. 

Hiring a Tree Contractor

The city of New Hope does not dictate which tree contractors you may hire to work on private trees. The following tips are provided by the city to help you find the right contractor for your job. Hiring a tree contractor deserves the same consideration as hiring a doctor or a home builder. A mistake can be expensive and long lasting.

  • Ask friends or neighbors for any recommendations
  • Beware of door-knockers. Reputable companies typically have all the work they can handle without going door to door.
  • Ask for certificates of insurance, including proof of liability for personal and property damage and worker's compensation. Call the insurance company to make certain the policy is current. Under some circumstances, you can be held financially responsible if an uninsured worker is hurt on your property.
  • Ask for references and talk with former clients. Experience, education, and a good reputation are signs of a good arborist.
  • Have more than one contractor look at your job and give you estimates. There may be a variety in the bid prices, and be willing to pay for the estimate if necessary. Three or more cost estimates are worth the effort.
  • Ask the contractor if they plan to use climbing spikes. A good contractor will not use climbing spikes if the tree is to remain in place. 
Trees and Legal Concerns

If you think there is an issue on your property that is created by a neighbors tree, the first step should always be to talk to your neighbor. If you cannot reach a reasonable agreement with your neighbor consider using a mediation service. It is not the city's responsibility to settle arguments or disputes between neighboring properties. 

To learn more about trees and the law please read the following links.

Contact
Public Works
Phone: 763-592-6777
publicworks@newhopemn.gov