Trees and forestry

Trees and forests provide many benefits, including improving our air and water, making ourselves and our communities healthier, reducing the urban heat island effect, providing wildlife habitat, saving energy and increasing property values.

The tree canopy in Hennepin County faces a number of threats, including development, insects and diseases, climate extremes, and poor installation and maintenance.

The county has programs and resources available to help protect and enhance our tree canopy.

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Grants to improve the tree canopy

About the healthy tree canopy grants

Hennepin County has grants available to cities, affordable housing properties, schools, and non-profit organizations to enhance the county’s tree canopy.

The goals of the program are to combat threats to trees from invasive insects and disease by funding tree planting, educate the public on tree care and the importance of trees, and increase the diversity and resiliency of the tree canopy.

Types of grants available

Different types of grants are available to cities, affordable housing properties, and schools and non-profit organizations.

See the healthy tree canopy grants flyer (PDF) to learn more about the difference between the grant types.

Cities

For cities with no tree inventory or an incomplete tree inventory:

  • Grants are only to complete tree inventories.
  • Grants of $1,000 to $5,000 are available, and a 25% match is required.

For cities that have a completed tree inventory and a have a MN DNR certified tree inspector or an ISA-certified arborist under contract for the proposed grant project:

  • Grants are to implement tree plantings, maintain newly planted trees, remove and replace ash trees, conduct outreach, develop gravel-bed nurseries and develop tree management plans.
  • Grants of $10,000 to $50,000 are available, and a 25% match is required.

See the healthy tree canopy grant guidelines for cities (PDF) for more information.

Affordable housing

Grants are for ash tree removals and planting replacement trees on affordable housing properties.

Grants are available to new and existing affordable housing properties. Eligible applicants include owners and managers of existing affordable multifamily housing, developers of new affordable multifamily housing, and affordable housing land trusts.

Grants of a minimum of $5,000 up to a maximum of $20,000 are available. A 25% match of the granted amount is required.

See the healthy tree canopy grant guidelines for affordable housing properties (PDF) for more information.

Schools and nonprofit organizations

Grants are for tree plantings on school or community properties, tree-related education, tree inventories, ash tree removals, and Arbor Day celebrations.

Eligible applications include charter, private, and public schools in Hennepin County. Eligible applicants include administrators, teachers, principals, and facility managers of existing schools. Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations are also eligible to apply.

Grants of a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $10,000 are available. A 25% match is required for ash tree removals. No match required for other expenses.

See the healthy tree canopy grant guidelines for schools and nonprofit organizations (PDF) for more information.

How to apply

Applications materials may be accessed and must be submitted through the online Supplier Portal.

Applications for affordable housing properties, schools, and nonprofit organizations are due by 3 p.m. on Monday, October 28. Applications for cities are no longer being accepted. 

To access the RFP and apply

  • Visit the Supplier Portal.
  • View the application materials by selecting the healthy tree canopy grant under events applicable to your organization.

You need to be registered to submit an application. For detailed instructions on how to register and submit an application, including video tutorials and more, visit the Supplier Portal information page.

Contact us for help with your grant project

Hennepin County foresters are available to help you develop projects and answer any questions related to the grant and application process. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the forestry team at trees@hennepin.us before applying.

Helpful grant resources

The following resources will be helpful in completing your grant application.

Tree planting priority areas map

The county’s tree planting priorities map factors in both environmental and demographic data. The map uses land cover data and disparity data such as income, housing, and health to understand areas that have lower tree canopy and higher need.

Grant selection will be based, in part, on a comparison of the project locations with the identified priority planting areas.

Recommended tree list

Use the county's recommended tree list (XLSX) when developing a planting plan.

The list includes a list of species and notes about their suitability for planting in various locations. A do-not-plant list is also included. 

Grant program updates

Sign up for the Canopy newsletter to get grant program updates.

Recently awarded healthy tree canopy grants

Grants to cities awarded October 2019

Healthy Tree Canopy grants totaling $237,000 were awarded to 14 cities in order to promote a more diverse, resilient, and equitable tree canopy. The grants will fund tree inventories, mitigate the effects of tree pests and pathogens, increase the capacity of city forestry programs, educate residents on the benefits of trees and engage them in tree planting efforts, and improve livability by planting trees in neighborhoods that face economic, environmental, and health disparities.

The following grants were awarded:

Brooklyn Center

$5,000 to inventory ash trees in city parks and right-of-ways

Brooklyn Park

$50,000 to create a tree planting plans for 30 city parks, plant 180 trees with community members in four parks, treat 1,300 ash trees, and remove 25 ash trees.

Champlin

$18,328 to remove and replace 67 ash trees along Champlin Drive and assist with the purchase of a stump grinder.

Dayton

$1,270 to inventory ash trees in nine public parks.

Eden Prairie

$31,927 to remove and replace 275 ash trees and treat 305 high quality ash trees.

Edina

$5,000 to inventory ash trees in parks and open spaces.

Golden Valley

$6,000 to inventory ash trees and hazardous trees in open spaces.

Hopkins

$25,179 to remove 50 large ash trees and plant 60 trees to replace ash trees.

Minnetonka

$10,000 to educate residents about the potential loss of ash trees, remove select ash trees in city lots, treat high value ash trees, and plant 50 trees through a volunteer tree planting.

Minnetonka Beach

$3,375 to complete a tree inventory for all public open spaces, city properties and rights-of-way.

New Hope

$20,000 to plant 50 trees within the rights-of-way where ash trees have been removed.

Osseo

$17,000 to remove seven ash trees a neighborhood park, treat five ash trees, plant 10 new trees and complete a tree study to determine how to reconfigure roads to create wider boulevard spaces that improve tree health.

Shorewood

$24,630 to update its tree inventory, remove and replace nine ash trees, treat 23 high quality ash trees, and purchase a computer tablet for data collection in the field.

Tonka Bay

$20,000 to complete a tree management plan, remove 10 ash trees, and replant 10 trees in city parks.

 

Education and volunteer opportunities

Hennepin County offers training classes and volunteer opportunities to learn about tree care, improve tree health in your community, and educate others about trees.

Community volunteer tree plantings

Saturday, October 26 in St. Anthony

Join Hennepin County and St. Anthony foresters for a community tree planting along New Brighton Boulevard in St. Anthony.

Event details:

  • Date: Saturday, October 26
  • Time: 10 a.m.
  • Location: Trillum Park, crossroads of New Brighton Boulevard and St. Anthony Boulevard in St. Anthony, MN

No experience is necessary. Hennepin County foresters will provide all the tools and instruction on how to plant trees. 

This is a family friendly event. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. RSVP.

Get notified of future volunteer planting events

To be notified of future planting opportunities, contact Shane DeGroy at shane.degroy@hennepin.us or 612-543-3697.

Project Learning Tree teacher training

Saturday, November 2, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Eastman Nature Center in Elm Creek Park Reserve.

Learn fun, practical, hands-on lessons that use local trees, forests, and the natural world to teach K-8 students skills in science, math, language arts, and social studies. Teachers who attend this workshop will get the Project Learning Tree K-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide, which contains 96 engaging lessons. Lessons can be done in your classroom, in your schoolyard, or in your school forest in all seasons.

The training will be led by Hennepin County Forester, Jen Kullgren.

The training is full and registration is closed.

Tree steward classes

Tree steward classes cover the basics of tree biology, tree planting, watering, pruning, and tree health through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on, outdoor field experience. Classes are offered in partnership with the University of Minnesota and host cities.

After completing the class, volunteers have opportunities to help plant and care for trees with the county and partnering organizations.

Classes are open to the public, and no experience is needed. The University of Minnesota provides the necessary tools and safety equipment. Participants should dress appropriately for being outside.

Upcoming classes 

There are no classes scheduled at this time.

Get notified of future classes

If you would like to be notified when the schedule and registration is available for future tree steward classes, contact Shane DeGroy at shane.degroy@hennepin.us or 612-543-3697.

Tree planting and reforestation

Hennepin County plants and maintains trees on sites throughout the county in partnership with cities, libraries, community organization and schools. Planting projects include along county roadways, at county libraries and facilities, at schools and parks, and in natural areas and conservation easements.

Gravel-bed nursery

Most of the trees the county plants come from the county's gravel-bed nursery, located at the Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility in Plymouth. The gravel-bed nursery gives the county access to hardy, diverse and cost-effective trees for use on county projects and properties.

Every spring, 1,500 young saplings of a variety of species are purchased from commercial nurseries and planted in the gravel-bed. The trees grow and develop a good root structure throughout the summer, and are ready to be transplanted in the fall.

Compared to conventional nursery trees, the gravel-bed nursery gives the county access to a wider diversity of tree species, produces trees that have a higher survival rate, and allows the county to plant trees in a more cost-effective manner. The gravel-bed nursery is also helping the county proactively replace ash trees that will ultimately be infested with the emerald ash borer.

Planting projects

Trees from the gravel-bed nursery are transplanted to a variety of county projects and properties.

Examples of planting projects that the county has or is working on include:

  • Arbor Day plantings at various locations
  • Community locations: including along the Midtown Greenway, at schools and in parks
  • Hennepin County facilities and libraries
  • Restoration projects in natural areas and conservation easements
  • Transportation and transit corridors

Assistance available

If you are looking for assistance with a planting project or are interested in installing a gravel-bed nursery, contact Dustin Ellis at dustin.ellis@hennepin.us or 612-348-2259.

Emerald ash borer

Emerald ash borer, an invasive tree pest that attacks and kills ash trees, is the biggest current threat to our tree canopy. There are over 1 million ash trees in Hennepin County, and 100 percent of them are threatened by the emerald ash borer. Most residents live within 15 miles of an infested ash tree, which means you should be taking steps now to determine if you have ash trees on your property and how you are going to manage them.

Options for managing ash trees from the threat of emerald ash borer

Hennepin County has the following resources to learn about emerald ash borer and options for managing ash trees:

Spread the word

Use these resources to help spread the word about emerald ash borer and options for managing ash trees:

Hennepin County emerald ash borer plan

Learn more about the emerald ash tree in Hennepin County and the county's plans to address the tree pest in the Hennepin County tree canopy enhancement and emerald ash borer plan (PDF).

Canopy forestry updates newsletter

Canopy is a quarterly newsletter to share updates and news about trees and forestry in Hennepin County. This newsletter is intended to be a collaborative effort to share news, upcoming events, and resources.

Sign up to receive the Canopy newsletter.

Latest editions

Fall 2019

  • Tree plantings help create a more diverse and resilient urban forest 
  • Healthy Tree Canopy Grants awarded to to 14 cities, applications for schools, nonprofits, and affordable housing properties due October 28
  • Fall planting projects

Summer 2019

  • Grants available to protect and plant trees
  • Fall tree steward classes

Spring 2019

  • Healthy tree canopy grants available: funding available for tree plantings, ash tree removals, tree inventories, outreach and more
  • Deciding how to manage ash trees from the threat of emerald ash borer: new resources available to understand options for ash trees
  • Volunteers help plant trees on Hiawatha

Winter 2019

  • Healthy tree canopy grants awarded, project will focus on reducing disparities
  • Tree steward class offered in Plymouth in April

Fall 2018

  • Healthy tree canopy grants
  • Tree planting prioritization map
  • Fall tree planting on Hiawatha Avenue

Summer 2018

  • Options for managing ash trees from the threat of emerald ash borer: new website and education materials available

Spring 2018

  • Celebrate Arbor Day: Hennepin County planting projects and Arbor Day events map
  • New online tree inventory application released
  • Tree steward class empowers community volunteers
  • Hennepin County and partners receive outstanding project award
  • Spring planting projects
  • Upcoming events

Contribute to future editions

If you are interested in contributing, please send updates to Jen Kullgren at jen.kullgren@hennepin.us.

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