The Forestry Division is primarily responsible for providing a safe urban forest while striving to preserve it’s natural beauty. Typical activities include the removal of dead and hazardous boulevard trees and overgrown roots which raise sidewalks, planting of replacement trees, trimming, assessment of health, and providing public information. The Forestry Division is devoted to managing Owatonna’s urban forest resources, boulevards, and parks to improve the quality of life, the environment, and the economic well-being of citizen’s and guests.

Tree City USA

Since 1991, the City of Owatonna has been recognized as a Tree City USA community by the National Arbor Day Foundation. Through cooperation with of citizen members on the Shade Tree Commission Board and the Public Works Department, the quality of the City’s urban forest has continually undergone beautification and enhancement. The City currently maintains approximately 4,900 boulevard trees that provide shade, aesthetics, storm water benefits, and character to our neighborhoods, streets, and parks.

The Tree City USA program is a national program that provides the framework for community forestry management for cities and towns across America. The City has been recognized as Tree City USA for 30 years. Communities achieve Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day. Participating communities have demonstrated a commitment to caring for and managing their public trees. Together the more than 3,400 Tree City USA communities serve as home to more than 135 million Americans.

Value of Trees

  • Trees increase property values and have proven to be a sound investment for public dollars (for every dollar spent on tree planting and care yields benefits that are two to five times the investment) - U.S Forest Service 2011
  • Remove pollution from the atmosphere, improving air quality and human health
  • Contribution to our overall health, including reductions in stress - U.S Forest Service 2013
  • Trees provide an abundance of oxygen (one large tree can provide oxygen for 4 people for one day)
  • Trees help clean and preserve water for drinking and recreational use
  • Trees provide cooling, wind blockage, and save energy (carefully placed trees can reduce household energy consumption for heating and cooling up to 25%) - Department of Energy
  • Helps to reduce crime - University of Vermont Study
  • Provide critical habitat for wildlife