Friday, February 26, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer confirmed to have moved into southeast Minneapolis

Below is the press release on Thursday's find of the Emerald Ash Borer in Prospect Park, Minneapolis. It was a find that folks were expecting, but dreaded to hear. One-fifth of the boulevard trees in Minneapolis are Ash. The continuing infestation of EAB only highlights the efforts by the Hamline Midway Environment Group (HMEG) to fundraise around community tree planting projects.

If you live in a 5 mile radius from St. Anthony Park (Saint Paul) or Prospect Park (Minneapolis) please plant a tree this season!

Here are some of the local press available on this announcement:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirms emerald ash borer infestation in Minneapolis trees

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) today confirmed an emerald ash borer infestation in four trees in the Prospect Park East River Road neighborhood of Minneapolis within Tower Hill Park. This infestation is within a mile of the St. Paul neighborhood in which the tree pest was found last year. The infestation was discovered through an ongoing survey of ash trees in the vicinity of the South St. Anthony Park neighborhood, where EAB was found in May 2009. While this marks the first time emerald ash borer has been found in Minnesota outside Ramsey County, state officials said the discovery was anticipated. Last fall, scientists determined that the St. Paul infestation had been in place for about three years prior to detection. Since the
adult beetles can fly up to 2 miles each year, officials expected that the bug had spread into Minneapolis. “When we found the St. Paul infestation last May so close to the border of the two cities, we knew there was a good chance we’d find it in Minneapolis,” said MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe. “That’s why we included Hennepin County in the initial EAB quarantine, even though it had only been confirmed in Ramsey County.”

The EAB quarantine in place for Ramsey and Hennepin Counties prohibits moving from the counties any items that may be infested with EAB, including ash trees and ash tree limbs, as well as all hardwood firewood. This quarantine remains in effect in 2010. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Forestry Division is responsible for planting and maintenance of public trees on Minneapolis city streets and parkland. The Park Board’s forestry division has been working with MDA to prepare for the arrival of EAB. Next steps will include removal of infested trees and an intensified survey of all ash trees in the surrounding area.

EAB is an invasive beetle that kills ash trees. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling into the wood and feeding on the tree’s nutrients. Since its accidental introduction into North America, EAB has killed millions of ash trees in 13 states. The metallic-green adult beetles are a half inch long, and are active from May to September. Signs of infestation include one-eighth inch, D-shaped exit holes in ash tree bark and serpentine tunnels under the bark. Officials remind Minnesotans they can take the following steps to keep EAB from spreading:

• Don’t transport firewood. Buy firewood locally from an approved vendor, and burn it where you buy it;
• Be aware of the quarantine restrictions. If you live in a quarantined county, be aware of the special restrictions on movement of products such as ash trees, ash limbs, and firewood. Details on the quarantines can be found online at; and

• Watch for signs of infestation in your ash trees. If you suspect your ash tree could be infested by EAB, visit and use the “Do I Have Emerald Ash Borer?” checklist.
MPRB Emerald Ash Borer Preparedness Plan

Michael Schommer Communications Director , Minnesota Department of Agriculture 651-201-6629
Janell Wojtowicz Communication Specialist Minneapolis Park and Recreation, Board 612-230-6414

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Metro Blooms to Host Twenty $10 Raingarden Workshops in 2010

Once again in 2010, Metro Blooms will offer low-cost raingarden workshops in the Twin Cities Metro Area and in Southern Minnesota. 4400 people have attended these workshops since 2005. Learn more at

Participants will learn the steps involved in designing and installing a raingarden. Hands-on assistance is available at some workshops, and workshop participants are eligible to receive low-cost on-site consultations from Metro Blooms Landscape Design Assistants.

Workshops will be offered in six different locations in Minneapolis as well as in Bloomington, Blue Earth, Champlin, Chanhassen, Chaska, Crystal, Fairmont, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, Saint Louis Park, Savage, Shorewood and Wayzata. SECIA' s own storm water program have brought such workshops nearby the neighborhood. This year SE Como neighbors will need to travel a bit more to get to workshop, however closer locations include Bedlam Theater, Audubon Park, and Longfellow Rec Center.

Details and registration at or 651-699-2426.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What to do about my Ash Tree?

U of Mn Extension compiled a resourceful list of FAQ's, links and resources on the topic of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) for the Ramsey County Master Gardeners. I am sharing an edited version of it here because of its completeness. The Hamline Midway Environment Group made a key addition though- Don't forget to plant trees!

You cannot move untreated firewood out of the quarantined counties of Houston, Hennepin and Ramsey:

Think you have a tree with EAB?
  • Read the “Do I Have EAB” sheet.
  • Call the MDA’s “Arrest the Pest Hotline” 651-201-6884(Metro) or 1-888-545-6884 (Greater MN).
Should I treat for EAB? You should treat for EAB ONLY if:
  • The environmental, economic, and time costs of treating is less than the cost of replacing the tree
  • You are willing to treat your ash tree every 1-3 years for the tree’s ENTIRE LIFE
  • Your ash is less than 10-15 miles from a known EAB infestation.
  • Your ash is a beautiful specimen worth saving.
  • You properly apply, store, & dispose of any leftover chemicals.
What Can I Do to Help?
  • The Hamline Midway Environment Group says "Plant a tree!"
  • Do Not Move Firewood, not even within MN. Respect the quarantine.
  • Prune trees & shrubs at the right time (to avoid the sap attracting EAB).
  • Be aware of EAB and its symptoms.
  • Understand that you CANNOT IDENTIFY EAB by looking at a tree, as an Ash tree can look bad for other reasons.
Where do I get rid of Ash wood?EAB websites
Want Even More EAB details?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

CSA farms are starting to organize now for their 2010 membership

Want to go local in your own food supply? Minnesota CSA farms are starting to organize now for their 2010 membership. This Minnesota Department of Agriculture website has an interactive website to help locate potential farms: . A further excellent resource for finding a farm is the published online list from Land Stewardship Project : .

CSA's or Community Supported Agriculture farms grow and harvest for their members, who get a "share" of the farms production. Different farms have different arrangements regarding drop-off locations, the number of weeks, pricing, farm involvement such as potlucks, and what food products they will include. Some feature meat shares, cheese shares, and fruit shares in addition to the standard vegetable offerings.

By signing up with a farm, you are ensuring the freshest produce for your household while reducing the food miles of your household's diet. Plus, your dollars support a Minnesota farmer!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Got Ice? Get Grit!

The winter of 2009-2010 has been treacherous in terms of sidewalk ice in Minnesota. December rain initiated the slickest sidewalks in memory which was followed by periods of melt...snow...melt plus more icing. For a household trying to be earth sensitive, the options for deicing and sanding do not meet the grade.

To some degree, all deicing salts have impacts to pets, plants, concrete and even more alarming, on watersheds. Salinity of urban waterways are of increasing concern, so much so that the City of Saint Paul has just decided that deicing salts will no longer be used on city side streets (intersections and grades excepted). The commonly used sand isn't without issues either. Sand has small enough particles that it washes from our driveways, streets and sidewalks directly into rivers via city storm sewers.

How to avoid these eco-pitfalls? Timely shoveling is really the ounce of prevention. Try to be aware of what precipitation is coming your way and make the effort to move it off and treat right away. Also, make sure you have access to a good chopper. Ice choppers are a necessary tool in the battle of slick sidewalks.

Still slick? Try CHICKEN GRIT for good traction (pictured above)! Grit is generally too heavy to wash into storm water systems. Further, the little bits of angular granite that chickens use to break down food in their crops are great for biting into icy surfaces. Finally, once the snow and ice are gone, you can sweep up your grit and save it for the next season. Chicken grit can be found at farm stores.

As a last resort, reach for the deicing chemicals, only after implementing timely shoveling, ice chopping and grit. But, know your salt because not all deicing salts are equally damaging and different salts work at different temperatures. For example, in extreme cold, calcium chloride is the only product that will work and using any other product is not effective. However, under most circumstances, grit and elbow grease will suffice.

Midwayites! Get Thee to a Home Energy Workshop!

*Save Energy and Money at Home!*

This February, residents of Hamline-Midway have a unique opportunity to
participate in a home energy efficiency program that can save hundreds of dollars per home. The program, Neighborhood Energy Service, starts with a
free *neighborhood workshop on saving energy and money* in your home. Workshops for Hamline-Midway are scheduled for:

  • Feb. 11th (6:30pm at the Hamline United Methodist Church—1610 West Hubbard Ave) and
  • Feb. 13th (10am at the Hancock Rec. Center—1514 Englewood Ave)

At the workshop you’ll be able to schedule a home visit, where the Home Energy Squad will *visit your house and install energy-saving materials*. Materials include compact florescent lights, a programmable thermostat, door weather stripping, and a low flow shower head.

Finally, you’ll receive one year of personalized home energy reports. These custom reports compare your home’s energy use with the average Minnesota home of the same size.

This program provides *goods and services worth up to $400, and enrollment only costs $30 per home*. This incredible deal is made possible by the generous support of the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

To participate, RSVP for one of the free neighborhood workshops by contacting Michael Jon at 651-646-1986 or email

The program is provided by a partnership of neighborhood organizations, including the Neighborhood Energy Connection, the Metro Clean Energy Resource Team, and the Hamline-Midway Coalition. Other partners include the Center for Energy and the Environment and Xcel Energy.