Tree planting blitz in North Minneapolis



Tree planting blitz in North Minneapolis
In a continuing effort to reforest North Minneapolis neighborhoods following the devastation of the 2011 tornado, on October 5 the nonprofit Tree Trust teamed up with local business group Autonomous Collective of MN for a one-day planting blitz that added a total of 128 trees to 80 North Minneapolis residential properties and Folwell Park.

The Northside is an area low in tree canopy, and like all of Minnesota, is being further devastated by emerald ash borer (EAB), which is estimated to kill over two million trees in the Metro in coming years. The Autonomous Collective, a group of 10 local landscape, arborist and remodeling firms, has taken over supporting the Tree Trust’s North Minneapolis Free Trees project that has been funded by a variety of other sponsors over the years.


Tree Trust source their trees locally and trees are transported in the spring to Tree Trust’s gravel beds in Eagan where they spend the summer before being distributed bare root to their various destinations. This year, there were 10 different varieties on offer to Free Trees program participants.

Tree Trust mission and history

Tree Trust was created in 1976 to address two problems: the devastation of the urban tree canopy due to Dutch elm disease and the then high unemployment and poverty rates. They began combating these issues by hiring unemployed individuals and training them to plant trees and reforest the Twin Cities. Since then they have expanded to offer integrated JobPrep programs and community forestry and environmental education programs. Today, their stated mission is to improve the community environment by investing in people.

How the Free Trees program works
Community Forestry Specialist Diana Preisen said Tree Trust hopes to run the Free Trees program again in 2019.

  • The only requirement to qualify for the Free Trees program is to live in North Minneapolis. If you are not the home owner, Tree Trust needs your landlord’s written permission to plant a tree on their property.
  • Tree Trust starts communicating the program July/August. To start the process, you can either complete a simple form on their website or call their offices (contact information provided at the end of this article). You will be invited to sign up at a local event where you make your final tree selection and discuss where you want your tree to be planted. You can also choose to have someone come out to your home to complete the sign-up process. Tree Trust makes this extraordinarily easy!
  • If you have room for more than one tree, ask about availability when you sign up. Some participants were able to get additional trees (this writer got three!) due to a surplus for the 2018 program.
  • You will be provided with written instructions for locating and caring for your tree and be given a flag to set out where the tree will be placed so utility lines can be checked (Tree Trust arrange for the check).
  • The trees (8’ beautiful bare root specimens) are delivered with a bag of mulch to your home and are planted by a team of enthusiastic volunteers. You don’t even need to be home as long as you have a water source available for the volunteers on planting day. All this at absolutely no cost to Northside residents! 

To learn more

To receive news on future tree donation/sales programs, sign up for the Tree Trust e-letter at or call (952) 767-3886 for more info.