South St. Paul's Urban Forest

An urban forest is a wooded area or collection of trees located in a city, town, or suburb. According to the US Forest Service, over 141 million acres of America’s forests are located in cities and towns. Urban forests are considered “green infrastructure”, as trees clean the air, slow down and absorb stormwater, decrease erosion, increase property value and save homeowners money by providing shade and reducing air conditioning costs. They also improve physical and mental health and provide habitat for wildlife. 

The trees in the City of South St. Paul have an estimated value of about $6.4 million, according to a survey conducted by Davey Resource Group in 2017. This includes:  

  • Aesthetic and other benefits  

  • Air quality improvement (11,126 lbs of pollutants removed each year) 

  • Stormwater peak flow reductions (8 million gallons per year).  

  • Energy savings (915 MWh and 125,476 therms each year)  

  • Carbon sequestered and avoided (1,657 tons each year) 

Urban forests are important not just for monetary value but for mental and physical health benefits, and as it provides habitat for wildlife.  

Emerald Ash Borer Information

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle that was discovered in the U.S. in 2002. Brought in from Asia via wood packing material, it is now found in 36 states and is causing the rapid decline of all ash species.


How to Identify an ash tree: 

  • Opposite branching pattern, meaning branches are directly across from each other
  • Diamond-shaped bark (looks like a basketball hoop) 
  • Compound leaves with 5-11 leaflets
  • Ash seeds are paddle shaped and occur in clusters, with seeds remaining on that tree until fall or early winter.
    Green Ash Foliage Opens in new window(Ash tree leaf pattern)

Impacts of Emerald Ash Borer:  

The Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Council found that “the loss of all urban/public ash trees in the state will lead to 1.7 billion gallons of water entering our stormwater systems annually.” To preserve the community forest in South St. Paul, there must be an increase in biodiversity. 

According to the MN Department of Agriculture, best management practices for known EAB infested areas include enacting quarantines on a large scale (county or greater), limiting removal during times of high risk (May through September), properly disposing of removed ash trees, and preventing the spread of EAB as much as possible.

Best Management Practices for known EAB infested areas – according to the MN Department of Agriculture: 

When new EAB infestations are discovered, quarantines are enacted on a large scale (county or greater), assuming the spread is beyond what is observed. 

EAB Quarantine 

(Red Counties indicate EAB quarantine)

May through September is flight season for the emerald ash borer beetle, meaning there is a high risk of infection for ash treesDuring this time, avoid removal of ash tree branches, trees, and stumps. If removal is necessary: chip the outer 1” of bark on-site and transport to nearest facility that can process material. 

Emerald Ash Borer beetle is dormant from October through May. This is when you may conduct pruning and removal of ash treesFor more information, visit MN Department of Agriculture’s info on Emerald Ash Borer 

  • To prevent the spread of EAB: 

  • Don't import materials to MN that could harbor EAB, like firewood and all ash material
  • Don't move firewood unless it's MDA certified
  • It is illegal to move all non-coniferous firewood outside of EAB quarantine areas and into MN
  • Become knowledgeable about recognizing EAB and remain vigilant to the condition of your ash trees
For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture.