Golden Valley's Urban Forestry Program ensures that public trees are properly managed and provides residents with the correct information to care for their own trees. The many wooded residential areas in Golden Valley act as important visual, aesthetic, and economic resources and add significantly to the quality of life and the value of property within the City.
Golden Valley has received the nationally recognized designation of Tree City USA for the past several years. Tree City USA was developed by the National Arbor Day Foundation, in conjunction with the United States Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, to recognize towns and cities across America that meet four standards: a community tree ordinance, a legal tree governing body, a comprehensive urban forestry program supported by a minimum of $2 per capita, and an annual observance of Arbor Day.
- Who is responsible for removing condemned diseased trees?
The City is responsible for removing trees from public property within 20 days of disease confirmation. Property owners are responsible for removing condemned trees from private property.
- What are the regulations regarding tree removal from private property?
State and City regulations require you to cut down marked trees and properly dispose of all portions. Removal must be completed 20 days after disease confirmation.
- How do I get my tree removed?
The City of Golden Valley does not contract for tree removal from private property. Consequently, you have the option of removing the tree yourself or hiring a qualified tree removal service. When hiring a tree service:
- Acquire several bids to assure yourself a fair price. Make sure the quoted price includes taking the tree down, removing it from your property, and disposing of it properly. Stump removal is not required if it is debarked. Request proof of insurance (both liability and worker's compensation) from the contractor.
- Ask for recent references and check them to determine contractor ability and quality of work. Check with the Better Business Bureau as well.
- What happens if I do nothing about removing my condemned tree(s)?
If no action is taken by the property owner 20 days after notice of removal, the City will issue a "Forced Removal Notice" and have the tree(s) removed. The cost of removal, plus an administrative surcharge, will be assessed against the property owner's tax liability.
- Can I store elm wood on my property?
A property owner may not store elm wood unless all of the bark has been removed. If the stump is not removed, all above-ground portions must be debarked. These restrictions apply to all elm species.
Trees are major capital assets in America's cities and towns. Just as streets, sewers, public buildings, and recreational facilities are part of a community's infrastructure, so are publicly-owned trees. The entire urban forest is an important asset that requires the same care and maintenance as other public property.
Five elements are necessary to gain the maximum benefits from the planned care of city trees:
- Planting is needed to replace trees and fill treeless spaces. A forestry program ensures that only quality trees are used and are expertly matched to the site and growing conditions to prevent future problems.
- Watering is a must to encourage establishment, prevent stress during droughts, and help trees resist insect and disease attacks.
- Pruning results in high dividends of safety, resistance to storm damage, improved visibility of signs, and in shaping and growing beautiful, useful trees. Proper pruning requires knowledge and skill.
- Pest control is necessary to monitor ever-present diseases and insects and provide regular, preventive care and prompt action if an epidemic should break out.
- Tree removal, when necessary, must be done in a responsible, safe manner. However, the bottom line of urban forestry is to extend the lives of trees.
Community foresters plan and supervise the special, intensive care needed to guarantee the future of trees growing under tough conditions of the urban environment--pollution, poor soils, scorching heat, restricted roots, road salt, construction damage, vandalism, and a host of insects and diseases. They are trained to view trees collectively and to manage them as an ecosystem, considering specific biological, social, and economic conditions. This broad view enables the community forester to help taxpayers make wise decisions and get the most from their investment in trees.
City foresters play a vital role in the health and future of these trees. Specifically, a City forester can:
- provide you with valuable, localized information about tree care and how to comply with tree ordinances
- make sure your tax dollars are spent wisely on trees of good quality
- work with City engineers to protect and replant trees during road construction or street improvement projects
- manage tree diseases within the community
If you feel a neighbor's tree conflicts with the use of your property, the first step should always be to talk to your neighbor. If you can't reach a reasonable agreement, consider using a mediation service.
To learn more about trees and the law, read:
- 2004 MN Shade Tree Advocate article Boundary Trees and the Law (PDF)
- 2002 Bench and Bar's In the Shade of a Tree: Analyzing the Tree Related Legal Problem (PDF)
- 2008 University of Minnesota Extension Service's My Minnesota Woods article Minnesota Law and Trees, by Lorrie Stromme