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An arborist is a professional who is trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining trees and other woody plants. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) provides an arborist certification once individuals have worked a minimum of three years in arboriculture or a combination of education and experience and pass an exam. A good arborist will offer a wide range of services such as pruning, removal, disease and insect diagnosis, integrated pest management, etc. There are many experienced tree services that do not employ certified arborists but will do a fine job removing a diseased or infested tree.
You should always get 2-3 written price quotes before you choose one company, ask to see proof of liability insurance and do not pay the company until the work is complete. Be wary of people that go door-to- door soliciting business, even if they did good work for your neighbor. Before hiring a company, make sure they understand what is expected with the tree removal including timeline, wood removal or chipping, and stump de-barking. You do not need to grind out the stump, if the bark is removed off the stump. For oak wilt, if you or your neighbors have healthy red oaks within 100 feet of the diseased oak(s), you should hire a company that can offer treatments to prevent the spread to nearby oaks first, before the diseased tree removal. See How to Hire a Tree Contractor for more information and additional resources.
At this time, City of Lakeville does not require tree care companies to be licensed to work in Lakeville. Some cities require tree care companies to license with their municipality. The State of Minnesota requires all tree contractors to be on the Tree Registry List.
Public property: City Forestry staff monitor and survey the entire City for infested ash, oak and elm trees on public and private property throughout the year. We also take inspection requests from residents who notice a dying tree. Infested ash trees on City property are marked and issued to one of several work crews or a contractor, who must follow the same removal guidelines and timelines as private property owners. Sites are rechecked for compliance after the removal is complete.
Private property: City Forestry staff will contact the property owner by mail or front door hanger to request access to the yard via a right of entry form in order to inspect and confirm the trees are infested/diseased.
An infested ash tree has bark splits with visible larval galleries and/or significant woodpecker activity due to the presence of the EAB. City Forestry staff often use binoculars to see galleries high in the tree and can help point out the signs they used to identify the tree as EAB positive. This is one of the reasons leaf-off conditions are best for seeing EAB damage on the tree.
If Forestry staff see a tree that appears early in the infestation, we will leave a door hanger alerting the property owner about the City’s Ash Injection Program in order to encourage therapeutic injection to preserve the tree and its canopy benefits.
An oak or elm with one of these diseases show signs in June-September during leaf-on conditions. The fungal pathogen is spread by shared root systems between “like” species of trees and by a beetle. The tree reacts to the fungus and tries to limit its spread by blocking up the water-conducting tissues, The first symptom often looks like drought injury and is usually “flagging” of one or more branches in the upper part of the canopy. Flagging looks like yellow or brown curling leaves moving from the branch tips down toward the main stem. The leaves may also start curling with a dark water-stained olive-green color. As the disease progresses, leaves drop. It is easy to peel back the bark on diseased branches to reveal staining on the living tissue, adding another positive identification to the presence of the fungus.
If you had ash trees that were not marked for removal, they are likely infested, but not yet showing signs of EAB. There are chemical trunk injections available that protect ash trees from EAB and the City offers a reduced-cost program to assist residents in preserving their shade. If a tree has 30% dieback or less, there is the possibility an ash tree can be treated and saved. Earlier is always better. Visit the City’s webpage on how to Prepare for EAB in Your Yard. If trees are not treated they will die from EAB, and if they remain standing they will be marked by Forestry staff, hopefully before they become brittle and hazardous.
The best way to control Dutch elm disease (DED) is through good sanitation, which is removing diseased and dying elms and elm wood piles by chipping or burning the wood, so bark beetles do not have a place to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, good sanitation occurs after the trees are already dead or dying.
The only preventative step to keep an elm from getting DED is to inject it with a chemical that prevents the disease from taking hold in the tree.
Be sure to avoid any pruning or wounding of oak branches, stems or roots from April-October of each year. Check the University of Minnesota’s website to check if it is a safe time to prune.
Visit our Oak Tree Diseases webpage for more details on managing the disease
DBH is a forestry term that means diameter (in inches) measured at breast height, which is 4.5 feet from the ground. Multi-stem trees are measured as one tree at the narrowest point above ground. Beyond size of the tree, removal pricing is based on the tree’s location within the property and the presence of obstructions such as overhead utilities, steep slopes or structures. The type of equipment that can access the tree can also influence the cost. Each company has a different business model with varying levels of staffing, education and overhead which can cause wide fluctuations in cost. Most companies carry at least $2 million aggregate in liability insurance because forestry and arboriculture work carries a high risk to the employee.
Property lines are determined based on physical factors such as fences, mowing lines, overhead power lines (which generally mirror property lines), and aerial photos along with plat maps (when needed). If you think the tree is on your neighbor’s property, try to resolve the dispute yourselves. If you cannot agree and would like more detailed information, you can call the Engineering Department at 952-985-4500 to determine if there is a survey on file for your property.
When removing any tree, it is very important that you be aware of any overhead utilities that are near or travel through the tree. The utility companies (Xcel Energy or Dakota Electric) must be notified of the situation well in advance of the tree’s removal so that they may assist you. When you contact a utility company, make sure that you notify them that you have a diseased tree, and give them your deadline. Please notify our office if there are any delays.
There are two types of situations that occur when your tree has wires near or in it:
Pole-to-Pole: This situation involves electric service to more than one residence because the wires in your tree are connected between service poles. The utility company usually prefers to handle trees around these lines by removing as much of the tree as necessary to prevent damage to their lines and to make it “safe” for other contractors to remove. They may remove only a portion of the tree and leave the remaining wood debris. It is your responsibility to dispose of any wood left on site.
Pole-to-House: This situation involves the utility lines running from service pole to your house. It is common for the utility company to disconnect the service lines involved while you or your contractor remove the tree. They will then reconnect the service lines after the work is complete. You should set a specific time for disconnection and re-connection of your service to facilitate both the efficient removal of the tree and the restoration of your service.
The stump does not have to be ground out, but all of the bark must be removed from it in order to prevent spore mats from forming (oak wilt), to prevent elm bark beetles or emerald ash borer from reproducing/surviving. If the stump is in a high traffic or grassy (mowed) area, you may want to consider removing it for aesthetic or safety reasons, but it is not necessary for disease/insect control.
If you plan to implement control measures such as vibratory plowing (oak wilt/Dutch elm disease) or any ash/elm/oak injections, notify our office at 952-985-2724 so we can update our records. City staff will revisit each address to confirm the removal of all infested/diseased trees and wood in person when the removal deadline has lapsed, but you can contact the City at 952-985-2724 if your property is ready for re-inspection.
If you believe you will need an extension, contact the City Forester at 952-985-2724 before your deadline lapses. Extensions of up to two weeks may be granted when you provide the name of the contractor you have hired, your property address and your phone number. The site will be rechecked for completion after your extension has ended. For those worried about the cost, there may be a way to spread out the removal costs on your taxes as a special assessment.
The tree inspector will leave a door hanger thanking you for helping to protect the Lakeville community forest.
Yes—Forestry staff monitor and survey the entire City for infested and diseased ash, oak and elm trees. We also take inspection requests. Infested or diseased trees on City property are marked and issued to one of several work crews and contractors, who must follow the same removal guidelines and timelines as private property owners. Sites are rechecked for compliance after the removal is complete.