Tag Archives: trees

Helen Albers and her Red Maple tree on Bridge Square

Last week in a discussion thread on the Bridge Square project blog about the Civil War monument there, Northfielder Helen Albers wrote:

I want the beautiful Red Maple tree, which I planted years ago, to remain where it is. It is a perfect tree. How fortunate I have been to enjoy our Bridge Square for eighty years!

I told her I wanted to take her photo with the tree and asked her for more details on how it happened.

Hi Griff, Believe I am a regular “Johnny Appleseed.” Being a tree-lover, I plant them about town. When my husband Lowell died, I planted an English Columnar Oak in the UCC garden as a memorial. Then, I planted two Red Maple trees along the Central Park sidewalk, followed by a beautiful Red Maple tree on south side of our Middle School (now Weitz Center) which has inspired our schools to do more plantings. To beautify Bridge Square, I decided to plant the very beautiful Red Maple, which is now shining brightly with Christmas lights for all to enjoy.

Helen Albers & the Red Maple she planted on Bridge SquareHelen Albers & the Red Maple she planted on Bridge SquareHelen Albers & the Red Maple she planted on Bridge Square

I took these photos of Helen Albers last night with her Red Maple tree at the start of Winter Walk.

When I got home, I looked through my gallery of Northfield photos and found two photos that show Helen’s tree in the summer:

The Helen Albers Red Maple on Bridge SquareThe Helen Albers Red Maple on Bridge Square

Left: May 24, 2008; Right: June 18, 2009.

Update Jan 8, 2014:  Helen sent me a photo of the tree, taken last summer:

Helen Albers tree in summer

The dead 4th St. trees downtown: after 15 months, they’re still dead

In June of 2011, I blogged about how the new trees planted in Nov. 2010 on 4th St. downtown after the 4th Street reconstruction had died or become diseased.  The plan back then was to cut them down and replace them in the spring.

They never got cut down and when I inquired last April about the progress on getting new ones put in, Sean Simonson, City of Northfield Engineering Tech Coordinator, referred me to a blurb he’d submitted to the Administrator’s Report:

Staff met with representatives from BCM Construction to discuss the replacement of the 19 Armstrong Maples on Fourth Street between Division Street and Washington Street.  Staff and BCM agreed that the trees were not properly maintained after they were planted, so replacement will be made at BCM’s cost. 

Staff has indicated that they would like the replacement to happen this spring so the trees have a chance to establish before they go into winter dormancy.  Notice will be sent out when this work is to take place.  Residents can expect parking closures for a few days while this work is being completed.

dead trees on 4th St, Northfield dead trees on 4th St, Northfield dead trees on 4th St, Northfield 
Spring has come and gone. A few trees have leaves but the dead ones are still there, sticking out like a sore thumb at the most prominent intersection of downtown Northfield.

80 trees on chopping block for street improvements project starting Monday, April 23; 100 more considered

In last week’s Administrator’s Memo, Engineering Tech Coordinator Sean Simonson has an update on the Lockwood Dr/Division St/Roosevelt Dr Improvements (2012 Construction) Project. Among other news, he wrote:

Heselton Construction has also indicated they will have their tree removal contractor on site the week of April 23rd to begin on tree removals throughout the entire project corridor…

Staff held the third and final open house Neighborhood Meeting this week. Staff presented the final construction plans to residents, and was on hand to discuss any issues property owners may have about the upcoming Street Improvement Project. Staff sent out a letter early last week encouraging property owners to set up a meeting on-site at their property to discuss the project on a property by property basis. So far, 26 meetings have been scheduled for next week.

See the October 21, 2011 Arborist’s Report and the Tree Impacts Map:

arborist report 2012Of the 203 trees on public ROW, there are 31 ash trees recommended for preemptive removal due to EAB (see appendix on EAB). Another 34 are recommended for removal based on a current poor condition or conflict. Nine location points were in fact buckthorn, and listed for removal.

tree impactsFifteen more trees of other species are categorized as becoming a possible liability within ten years, and recommended for probable removal due to various conflicts with infrastructure or other issues.

This leaves some 104 other trees that are still in a category of ‘To Be Determined’, as more detailed or confirmed information on impacts become available, and using a CRZ impact approach. Of the trees on private property, 26 are recommended for removal, either due to condition or obvious conflicts. Privately-owned ash trees have not been listed as removals, as treatment options are available.

Given last year’s debacle with trees on Linden and Plum, I hope all residents in the affected areas are fully aware of the plans:

  • DSC04891Linden St N (starting at Lincoln Pkwy)
  • Lockwood Dr (up to Meldahl Dr)
  • Division St (from Woodley to 8th St)
  • 8th St (from Water to Washington)

New trees on 4th and 5th streets downtown: dead, diseased, damaged, down

5th St. trees, downtown Northfield5th St. trees, downtown Northfield5th St. trees, downtown Northfield5th St. trees, downtown Northfield5th St. trees, downtown Northfield
While biking on 5th St downtown late yesterday afternoon when it was very windy and 100+ degrees, I noticed that a young tree had blown down. I then looked at the base of the other three trees on 5th St near Division and they all looked diseased or damaged at the base.

4th St. trees, downtown Northfield 4th St. trees, downtown Northfield4th St. trees, downtown Northfield
This morning I looked at the trees on 4th St. that were planted late last year. Several appeared dead and many looked sick.

Can anyone diagnose this seemingly sorry state of affairs?

For Oak St. reconstruction, 30-foot street width and trees adjacent to curb were fine. Why not for N. Plum St.?

Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd Tree adjacent to curb on Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd Trees adjacent to curb on Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd 
While riding my bike over to the Upper Arb tonight, I noticed that two trees on Oak St. between 2nd and 3rd were very close to the curb, one especially. I’m not sure when the reconstruction of the street occurred but it looks relatively recent, eg, in the last 5-7 years.

I dug around the City’s website and found that the street was reconstructed at a width of 30 feet. The issue came up when the Council was considering street reconstruction issues in 2007 for the 5th Street Reconstruction Project, including the width of Oak St. between 4th and 5th. See pages 28-29 of the Feb. 2007 Council meeting packet (italics mine):

Staff identified advantages to a narrower street including less expense for construction and ongoing future maintenance, more ability to protect existing mature trees, less impervious pavement, and potential traffic calming effects. Parking and problems and possible safety issues with varying street widths in the area were discussed…

One objection to proceeding was the proposed width of Oak Street. Oak Street between 5th and 4th Street is currently 29.5 feet, the two blocks of Oak Street north of this area between 4th and 2nd Street were reconstructed at a street width of 30 feet. The recommended width for Oak Street at this time is the minimal 32 feet for a residential street per current City ordinance.

To summarize:

  • Despite the city ordinance, Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd was reconstructed at 30 ft, which is what the N. Plum St. residents were asking for
  • At least two trees on Oak St. were not cut down despite being very close to the curb. N. Plum St. residents were asking for this for many of their non-Ash trees.
  • City rationale for cutting down trees close to the curb on N. Plum St. is that the trees are not likely to survive. Yet the Oak St. trees look very healthy years (5? 7?) later.
  • Staff in 2007 (which included Katy Gehler, then assistant city engineer) noted the advantages of narrower streets including "more ability to protect existing mature trees."

There are some differences between this portion of Oak St. and N. Plum St: 1) Oak St. between 2nd and 3rd has a sidewalk on one side only;  2) there are no power poles/electrical wires to be seen. 

To an average citizen (me), this is perplexing and seems unfair. Or am I missing something?

N. Plum St. neighbors gather to ‘honor and thank our trees’

N. Plum St. neighbors N. Plum St. neighbors
My  wife Robbie and I stopped by to meet some of the N. Plum St. neighbors and take their photo as they gathered around one tree they’re still hoping to save and one that was taken down.

Resident Angie Ekern added this comment to the discussion thread yesterday afternoon:

Our trees…gone but not forgotten! Please join us tonight, Thursday, at 6pm on Plum Street to honor and thank our trees. Walk our street in a moment of silence and stand tall with us as we take the time to say good bye and thank you for years and years of beauty!

Advice from a Tree
By Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

Some N. Plum St. residents are unhappy about plans to remove trees for street reconstruction

 North Plum St., east side  North Plum St., east side  North Plum St., east side

  North Plum St., west side  North Plum St., west side  North Plum St., west side
I was alerted by some North Plum St. residents that they’re unhappy with the City of Northfield’s plan to cut down some of the big trees on their street, part of the Linden St N/Plum St N/2nd St W street reconstruction project that’s about to begin.  I took the above photos this morning.

There are a number of variables to consider, of course, when trying to decide about saving trees during street reconstruction, e.g., street width, boulevard width, sidewalks on both sides or not, condition of/types of/size of trees, which side of the street the gas/sewer lines will go, and probably several more.

Elm St. between 4th and 5th  Elm St. between 4th and 5th
In the past, the City has sometimes accommodated residents’ concerns about big trees.  For example, the sidewalk was routed around two big trees on Elm St. between 4th and 5th a few years ago, as the above photos show.

Looking at the Project Process page, the City had 3 neighborhood meetings last fall. "Neighborhood Tour & Individual Property Owner Meetings" are scheduled for April/May.

It’s not clear to me to what extent residents have participated in these meetings and voiced their objections, nor what the city engineering staff’s response has been.

Maybe discussion here can help.

Update 5/14 9:30 am:

tree at 309 N. Linden st.  tree at 309 N. Linden st.  trees at 315 N. Linden st.  trees at 315 N. Linden st.
Here are photos of two homes on the west side of N. Linden St., (309 and 315) before and after the big (maple?) trees were cut down this week.

Update 5/20 7:30 am:

Here’s a one-minute video of the trees of N. Plum St. (pre-reconstruction) heading north between St. Olaf Ave. and Greenvale Ave. My apologies for the shakiness. I was holding the camera with one hand while driving.

Scriver Building: the trees are down but the banner is up

Scriver Building Scriver Building tree stump Scriver Building
The two trees in front of the Northfield Historial Society’s Scriver Building have been cut down (sob!). It looks so bare now from Bridge Square.

Scriver Building with fundraising banner Scriver Building with fundraising banner NHS - Taking Northfield History to the Next Level
But there is now a huge Taking History to the Next Level fundraising banner hanging on the Division St side of the building. For construction updates, see: