City of Red Wing

Boulevard Trees

Maple TreeTrees are valuable resources in rural, suburban, and urban landscapes; offering a wide range of benefits to people and their communities.  Some of these benefits are visible and provide real monetary value to the community, such as storm water management, weather barriers, and increased property values.  The less concrete value provided by trees, such as enhanced aesthetics and a unique sense of place are perhaps less quantifiable, but equally as important.

The upper Midwest has a proud history of arboriculture; the first settlers planted cottonwoods and oaks around their farm houses to protect them from the driving winds, remind them of the forests they left behind in their native Europe, and root them to their new homes.  For the past sixteen years Red Wing has been recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City U.S.A. for our continual commitment to making our city a greener and healthier place to live by encouraging people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.

A strong partnership between the Public Works Department and the citizens of Red Wing is the best way to ensure the continued health and beauty of our trees today and for future generations.  The Public Works Department plants new boulevard trees in the early spring and late fall – if you would like to request a tree for your street contact the Public Works Department at 651-385-3674.


Do You Have a Concern About a Tree?

The citizens of Red Wing are invested in their community and often contact the city to report tree related problems on public and private property.  While the City of Red Wing rarely intervenes with trees on private land it encourages its citizens to contact the Public Works Department when they see a sick or hazardous tree on public property, such as parks and boulevards.

There are some instances when the City of Red Wing takes an active role in the assessment, care, and management of private trees:

  • Dutch elm disease - Spread by the elm bark beetle, DED is a lethal disease which kills one of the most popular and desired street trees, the American elm (and many other elm varieties). While the deadly ... (more)
  • Emerald ash borer - A lethal disease spread by the tiny emerald ash borer beetle which quickly kills all the ash trees within an infected region. While it has not come to the Red Wing area yet ... (more)
  • Oak wilt disease - Caused by a fungus (Ceratocystis fagacearum) oak wilt was first discovered in Wisconsin in the 1940’s and has since caused significant oak death ... (more)
  • Dead, diseased, hazardous or infectious trees.  The City has the right to cause removal.  (Ordinance Section 10.13, Subd 3).

A hazardous tree is one displaying defects or damages such as cracks, weak or dead branches, decay, and insect infestation that could result in tree failure and cause possible damage to people or property.  While the City will assess trees reported by homeowners and citizens it does not have the resources to intervene in all cases, so it will only take action when there is a high probability of tree failure, or the consequences of failure would result in severe or significant consequences.

When the City receives a complaint about a tree it will send out a Tree Inspector from the Public Works Department to inspect the tree and make an assessment.  If necessary, the city forester, a certified arborist, will be called out to make a more detailed report.

The majority of complaints and disputes about trees in a neighboring yard or privately owned property are left for the homeowners to resolve amongst themselves.  In the rare instance where the city does condemn a tree, it follows a process spelled out in the ordinance for notice and appeal of the removal decision before any action is taken to prune or remove the tree.  Since the City contract for public tree removal does not apply to trees on private property homeowners may prefer to make their own arrangements for tree work.

Care and Watering of Your Boulevard Tree

The primary concern for new trees is adequate access to water.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to watering.  Keep the soil and mulch moist, but not soggy.  If there is standing water around the base of the tree it has been overwatered; overwatering saturates soil and deprives the roots of oxygen, if the condition persists it can kill the tree.

The boulevard trees planted by the city are known as containerized trees as they come from nurseries in plastic pots.  These young containerized trees lose most of the water their root ball was holding to the surrounding soil during the planting process.  While location, weather, and soil conditions should always be considered, containerized trees – both deciduous and evergreen – require frequent watering after planting.  Having adequate water early in the growing season is essential for root expansion as they actively seek out and grow into moist soil, increasing their anchorage and providing important nutrients for growth.

  • Newly planted trees require a complete soaking every 7-10 days from the time of planting until winter temperatures arrive in the late fall and the ground begins to freeze.
  • During hot/dry summers newly planted trees and those put to ground within the last 5 years need more frequent watering, every 3-5 days.
  • Do not apply lawn chemicals of any kind on the boulevard strip where trees are planted.
  • Never use a weed-whip trimmer around young trees, damages to the trunk at a young age often result in tree decline/failure.
  • The most sensitive part of any tree is its root system. Protect them from cold Minnesota winters by mulching in the late fall – BEFORE the ground freezes.
  • For more information on watering your trees please refer to the following University of Minnesota Extension PDF:



Trees and Hedges on Private Property

In order to provide safe passage and use of city streets, alleys, and sidewalks Red Wing’s city code prohibits obstructions on, over, across or under any road, street sign or public sidewalk.  The most common obstruction to streets and their accompanying signage is overhanging plant growth.  Additionally, City Code holds property owners responsible for the maintenance of their property; this includes any trees or shrubs that are not planted on the boulevard. The Public Works Department reserves the right to prune any private vegetation that is found to be obstructing streets and/or their signage back to the property line without notifying the homeowner (Ordinance Section 7.10.Subd. 4).  Please check your property for the following violations and correct them if necessary:

  • Obstructed views of the street when exiting a driveway, alley or when crossing traffic.  Trim trees and hedges to provide an unobstructed view of traffic.  Remember to consider the view from neighboring driveways as well as your own.
  • Low hanging branches or hedges obstructing the sidewalk.  Trim hedges back to allow all pedestrians, including those using wheelchairs or scooters, use of the full width of the sidewalk.  Trim trees with low hanging branches to allow pedestrians safe use of the sidewalk without having to duck.
  • Low hanging branches or hedges obstructing streets, alleys or road signs.  Trim hedges and trees back to allow clear, safe use of the full width of the street or alley, to prevent damage to vehicles and equipment using these right-of-ways, and allow a clear view of road signs.

The Public Works Department is responsible for trimming of trees located in the boulevards. Residents are encouraged to contact the Public Works Department at 651-385-3674 to report any boulevard trees that need trimming.




The National Arbor Day Foundation:

The Minnesota Department of Agricultur:

The University of Minnesota Extension: