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To green up neighborhood, Frogtown gets a $1,500 'pop-up' tree nursery

This spring, a pop-up tree nursery is coming to St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood as a creative way to get more trees planted in the area.

Part of the reason for the project, which is a collaborative effort between St. Paul, Frogtown Gardens community activists, and the University of Minnesota, relates to a 2010 tree canopy analysis of the city.

The study found that Frogtown has a lack of tree cover, according to Brett Stadsvold, who works for the city’s parks and recreation department.

Last fall, the partners worked together on a pilot project to address the issue. They involved “citizen foresters” in planting and maintaining 18 boulevard trees throughout the neighborhood.

Building on the project's success, “The next idea was to develop a citizen-run tree nursery,” but starting small, with a pop-up or temporary nursery, says Stadsvold. “We wanted to gain support and get people interested.”

The 25-tree nursery, which will include a mix of shade and fruit- and nut-bearing trees, will go on the corner of Dale and Lafond avenues--a city-owned parcel--for one growing season, starting close to Arbor Day.

Experts in the subject will help volunteers “learn how to propagate trees from seed.”

At the nursery, there’ll also be space for demonstrations and social events for which University of Minnesota agriculture students will be submitting design proposals on Feb. 27, he says.

Signage and furniture made out of repurposed materials will make the lot inviting year-round. “We’re repurposing things that may be seen as waste items, and acquiring them at low cost,” he says.  

Later the trees will be transplanted onto private properties in the neighborhood.

Although the project’s budget is $3,000, it’ll probably only use half of that amount, says Stadsvold.

In the future, the project could be expanded. “We want people to feel empowered to take care of trees and be stewards,” he says, adding that the effort has come from community members.

The city is providing support in the form of “labor with the logistics and acquiring the trees,” he adds.

Source: Brett Stadsvold, St. Paul parks and recreation, forestry unit
Writer: Anna Pratt
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