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What are arborists and tree inspectors?

What is a certified arborist?

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.

What is a MN Certified Tree Inspector?

MN Certified Tree Inspectors are individuals who have received training and certification to manage tree pests and diseases and are qualified to offer tree health and care recommendations. They monitor communities for new tree pests and diseases. This program was founded in 1974 as a result of Dutch Elm Disease and the emergence of oak wilt.

Boulevard Trees

What is a boulevard?

Boulevards are the city owned portion of the street right of way between the curb and the private property line. Most property lines do not go all the way to the back of the street curb. There does not necessarily have to be a sidewalk or trail along the road to make an area a boulevard.

Why does the city trim boulevard trees?

Boulevard trees are routinely trimmed by the city to remove broken or dead limbs, to maintain structure and for pedestrian and vehicle clearance.

Why does the city remove boulevard trees?

The city removes boulevard trees that are dead, dying and/or hazardous. Attempts are made to notify property owners on the adjoining lot in advance of this action.

Will the city replace my removed boulevard tree?

The city does not replace boulevard trees. Replanting will be at the discretion of the property owner. Trees planted in the boulevards that are in addition to the existing boulevard trees, must receive prior approval from Natural Resources to ensure that the trees planted are an allowable species.

Does the city inspect trees on private property for insects or disease?

The city does not currently inspect trees on private property. Residents may contact a certified arborist for proper diagnosis of private trees at Trees are Good.


Grasses, Plants, & Weeds

What is the grass height standard for the city?

All weeds or growing grasses upon any platted lot in the city, which are in excess of one foot (1'), or have gone or about to go to seed, are hereby declared to be a nuisance, with some exceptions, and must be removed.

What does the Natural Area / Conservation Area / Wetland Buffer sign at the rear of my property mean?

For the majority of properties in Farmington, these signs delineate a boundary between private property and city owned property. This city owned land is kept as native as possible to provide habitat for wildlife, soil stabilization, and water filtering capabilities. The area should be kept in a natural state with no clearing, mowing or vehicular traffic.

Can I mow down the vegetation adjacent to a stormwater pond / wetland?

A buffer is an undisturbed or reestablished vegetated area adjacent to a stormwater pond / wetland that is an integral part of protecting the wetland ecosystem through filtering pollutants and providing adjacent habitat.

The clearing and removal of vegetation in the buffer area is prohibited, except for selective clearing and pruning of individual trees and shrubs which are dead, diseased, noxious weeds, or hazards.

Hiring an Arborist or Tree Company

What should I ask for when I am hiring an arborist or tree company?

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.

Go to Checklist for Hiring a Tree Care Company or Minnesota Department of Agriculture for more information and additional resources.

At this time, City of Farmington does not require tree care companies to be licensed to work in the city. The State of Minnesota requires all tree contractors to be on the Tree Registry List.

Ponds Behind My Home

Can we put a dock in the stormwater pond behind our home?

No. Structures are prohibited within drainage and utility easements and city owned outlots, which is where the vast majority of stormwater ponds are located.

Why is the pond behind my home green?

If there is a green mat on top of the water that moves frequently with winds and rain, it is probably a healthy population of duckweed. Duckweed is a food for water fowl and helps with the water quality of the pond by removing nutrients. It is unadvisable to remove duckweed since this plant provides food and habitat for several different species.

Another reason your pond may be green is due to filamentous algae. Filamentous algae forms in clumps and has a hair like appearance. By practicing environmentally safe lawn care practices, you should be able to cut back on the nutrients entering the water and eliminate the food source for the algae, which should decrease the algae problem. Resources for lawn care practices to reduce algae on the city’s Lawn & Garden page.

Power Lines and Trees

What if there are power lines over my tree?

When removing or pruning 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.

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. If you desire the remainder of the wood removed, it would be 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.

Contact Information:
• Dakota Electric Association: 651-463-6287
• Xcel Energy: 800-895-4999
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