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Zumbrota, MN
Bridging the Past and the Future

Zumbrota Reforestation Project


In March, 2012, the Zumbrota City Council and Park Board approved a multi-year plan to plant and maintain trees in the city parks, public areas and boulevards.    A primary goal is the long-term preservation and additional development of the shade tree canopy across the City of Zumbrota.

It is intended that the outcome will be enhanced usability and enjoyment of the city’s parks, public areas and residential streets.  The venture will include the combined efforts of community volunteers, city governance and city staff.


With constrained budget funds available for tree purchases, creative means will be used to achieve intended results.  Concepts will include:

  • Direct planting of trees transplanted via tree spade when suitable trees are available locally at reasonable cost.
  • A tree nursery will be developed to plant and grow trees to sizes suitable for park and boulevard transplanting.
  • The city will actively pursue grant and legacy funds available to purchase trees for direct planting in parks and boulevards.
  • Volunteers will be encouraged to assist with tree planting and care.
  • A plan for public communication and diseased tree removal and replacement of trees affected by Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been developed.
  • A Community Tree Fund has been created to provide a means for friends of Zumbrota to assist with funding of this legacy venture.


Public communication of community reforestation plans and implementation will utilize:

  • City of Zumbrota web-site
  • Cable TV channel
  • Local media


Zumbrota Reforestation Update Spring 2015

Background:  The Zumbrota City Council and Park Board authorized a city reforestation plan in March, 2012.  It included the creation of a tree nursery and a plan to plant new trees in Zumbrota’s park areas and boulevards in subdivisions created over the past 20 years.

In 2012, the city obtained a DNR grant and in 2913, a Minnesota DOT grant was also funded.  Funds from the grants greatly enhanced the number of trees available to plant and planting timelines.

As result, by spring 2015, nearly 700 trees will have been planted in Zumbrota’s parks and boulevards. Assuming a 90% survival rate, about 625 trees will enhance the city’s tree canopy for years to come.  Over 25 species of trees and shrubs have been planted across Zumbrota.

In addition, about 150 trees are growing in the tree nursery for future transplanting.  They will be used to replace potential losses from the Emerald Ash Borer and to plant other park and boulevard areas.

Following is detail of the progress made over the past 4 years.

Covered Bridge Park:  The areas within and adjacent to the park planted include the picnic grounds, campground, trails, swimming pool, park shelters, horseshoe pits, Highway 58, skateboard park, basketball court, and softball fields.   About 440 trees and shrubs, including over 20 species were planted in these areas. 

Woodland Addition Park Space:  The future park area and adjoining boulevard in the Woodlands addition have received 20 medium and large trees.  They were planted along perimeter areas to enhance future park playground development.

Highlands Addition Parks:  The playground area in the lower Highlands Addition park and the future park area in the upper Highlands Addition each have been planted with about 10 – 12 trees, mainly on boulevards.

East Park:  Twelve trees transplanted in 2011 filled most available spaces.  There is an opportunity for 3-4 additional boulevard trees along East Avenue to be planted in 2015, after the street upgrade project.

Boulevards:  Homeowners in subdivisions that were developed over the past 20 years were offered a boulevard tree adjacent to their property during 2012-14.  Just over 100 homeowners responded positively and about 90 trees, including 12 tree species, were planted.

In addition, owners of undeveloped lots in the Highlands Additions were offered boulevard trees in 2014.  A total of 85 trees were planted along the streets in the lower and upper Highlands Additions.  They will enhance the streetscape of these areas. 

In spring 2015, about 25 boulevard trees will be planted along East Avenue after completion of the street and utility infrastructure project.  It is anticipated that similar future projects may also receive replacement boulevard trees.

Tree varieties:  The DNR Grant included a list of approved tree varieties.  It also discouraged over planting varieties prevalent in Zumbrota, such as maple.  The application referenced planting to replace future potential tree losses to the Emerald Ash Borer. 

The Minnesota DOT grant specified trees along Highway 58 that will tolerate the road chemicals used in winter.  Shade tree varieties on planted across Zumbrota include:  Elm, Hackberry, Pin Oak, Chinkapin Oak, Swamp White Oak, Bur Oak, Red Oak, Linden, Coffee Tree, Ironwood, Elm, Linden, Walnut, Maple, and River Birch.  Evergreens include: Blue Spruce, White Pine and Larch.  Medium and smaller trees and shrubs include:  Blue Beech, Ironwood, Crab Apple, Tree Lilac, Mountain Ash, Pagoda Dogwood, Serviceberry, and Spirea.

Tree Nursery:  Prior to receipt of the DNR and DOT Grant funds, the best use of limited city budget dollars was designated toward a tree nursery.  Concepts included planting 5-6’ bare root and whip trees in a nursery setting for future transplanting (4-6 years).

Currently there are about 150 trees, some of which are ready to transplant, in the nursery.  They include 8 species and range in size from whips to 3” diameter trees.  Plans are to use these trees for potential losses to Emerald Ash Borer, storm damage and other trees removed.  It is anticipated that future planting of additional seedling trees will provide an ongoing reserve of trees to transplant.  This will enhance the opportunity to preserve and enhance Zumbrota’s tree canopy.

Tree Maintenance:  Planting and initial maintenance of the trees planted was achieved through coordination of City of Zumbrota staff and volunteers.  During 2012-14, city staff members were diligent in watering the new park and nursery trees.   Homeowners were encouraged to water boulevard trees.  Park and boulevard tree survival rates have been very high, estimated at over 90%.  There were a few trees damaged by vandalism (tops broken off) but expected to survive.  Losses from initial year weather were partly covered by vendor replacement guarantees.  Other damage from animals, vehicles, snowmobiles, lawnmowers, etc. has been minimal. 

The use of weed control, tree tubes, mulch, stakes and wire cages have enhanced tree development and health. City staff will oversee the future pruning and care of new trees, with volunteers assisting when appropriate.

Homeowners with boulevard trees have been provided an Arbor Foundation pruning brochure and encouraged to assume tree care responsibility for their new tree. However, the city will complete the boulevard tree pruning process at homeowner request.

City of Zumbrota; 175 West Avenue; Zumbrota, MN 55992