Media advisory: Gravel bed nursery tree planting

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Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969


Growing for a better future: Demonstration of first tree transplant at county gravel bed nursery

Hennepin County will be transplanting trees from the gravel-bed nursery to a permanent planting location on the Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility property.

Hennepin County constructed a gravel-bed nursery with 500 trees in the spring that will now be planted on a variety of county projects and properties. The gravel-bed nursery gives the county access to hardy, diverse and cost-effective trees that will be used to proactively address emerald ash borer infestations and learn more about tree species that survive well in an urban environment.

Monday, October 5 at 10 a.m.

Hennepin County Adult Correction Facility
1145 Shenandoah Lane Plymouth, MN 55447


  • Mike Reinkikainen, Hennepin County tree specialist, will be on-hand to answer questions about the gravel-bed nursery and the county’s efforts to enhance the tree canopy
  • Representatives from partner organizations, including the University of Minnesota, Tree Trust, and cities of Plymouth and Crystal.



The gravel-bed nursery gives the county access to a wider diversity of tree species for use on county properties, produces trees that have a higher survival rate than conventional nursery trees, and allows the county to plant trees in a more cost-effective manner. Both purchasing smaller trees in the spring and having trees on hand for smaller plantings help to reduce the county’s costs of planting trees.

The gravel-bed nursery will also help the county proactively replace ash trees that will ultimately be infested with the emerald ash borer. There are about 1 million ash trees in Hennepin County that will eventually be lost to the emerald ash borer. The county plans to plant two or three trees to every ash tree that is currently on county properties, increasing the number and diversity of trees throughout the county.

The gravel-bed nursery is currently planted with 500 trees of 12 different species, some of which are native to Minnesota while others are native to North America. This variety provides the opportunity for the county to partner with the University of Minnesota to research what tree species can survive well in an urban environment and in a changing climate.

Trees were purchased from commercial nurseries and transplanted to the gravel-bed nursery in the spring. While in the gravel bed throughout the summer, the trees have been growing and developing a good root structure. They will now be transplanted to a variety of county projects and properties, including:

  • Orono Work Station buckthorn removal and woodlot restoration: 30 native trees from the gravel bed are being planted in a woodlot where European buckthorn was recently removed. The trees will occupy growing space that would otherwise be refilled by buckthorn.
  • Hiawatha (County Road 55) greening project: Hardier gravel bed trees are being used to cost effectively replace trees that have struggled to survive along this highly visible transportation corridor.
  • Cepro Greenspace perennial garden landscape restoration along the Midtown Greenway: Attractive flowering trees from the gravel bed will be used to enhance the aesthetics of a landscaping project along this high-traffic greenspace.
  • Hennepin County libraries: Gravel-bed trees will be used to replace ash trees slated for removal at several libraries where infested ash trees are present or have already been removed.
  • Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility: Gravel-bed trees will be planted to mitigate for the loss of trees during recent construction projects and in preparation for tree removals resulting from EAB infestations.
  • Hennepin County Forensics Science Building:  in conjunction with Vikings Stadium 10-15 gravel-bed trees will replace ash trees removed as part of recent construction of a bike path near the new Vikings Stadium.

The county will also work with University of Minnesota students to conduct a canopy assessment that will guide future planting efforts throughout the county.

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