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Why we remove trees, invasive species

Updated: 03/13/2019

Have you noticed trees being removed around the city and felt sad to see them go? We feel the same way. But when a tree is a safety risk to people or structures, sometimes the only option is to remove it.

There may be several reasons why our Public Works team will remove a tree:

  • Invasive pests (bugs, like emerald ash borer)
  • Disease (oak wilt, dutch elm)
  • Safety hazards (dead, broken branches, canker)
  • Invasive species (buckthorn, oriental bittersweet, honeysuckle)
  • Utility interference (power lines, sewers)

For example, this winter, we removed several oak trees at the Southbridge Community Park dog park due to oak wilt. Oak wilt is a fungal disease that’s fatal to red oaks, and once a tree in infected it cannot be saved. By removing the diseased trees, we hope to prevent it from infecting the other savanna oaks in the park.

We also trim trees along the trail system to maintain a clear path for maintenance equipment and park users. It’s important to remove woody non-native invasive plant species, like buckthorn, to reestablish native trees. Hazard trees are also removed for public safety, as is deadfall debris because it can be a fire hazard.

Grazing Goat WebCutting down a tree or invasive species isn’t always the answer. Last fall, the city partnered with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) to take a unique approach to managing invasive plants at Memorial Park. SMSC burned off prairie grass in the park, but because this process does not kill the roots of invasive plants, goats were brought in to graze off the woody invasive plants. This reduced the growth from six-to-eight-foot dense shrub to a one-inch stumps. Grazing reduces regrowth, but repeated grazing is needed to completely eliminate regrowth.

For any questions or concerns on removals of trees and invasive species, email us at publicworks@ShakopeeMN.gov.