Community Forest Bonding Grants

Division of Forestry

Community Forest Bonding Grants

1: In the Guidelines and Information document, one of the purposes listed is "Remove and replace trees lost to forest pests." Do only trees infested with emerald ash borer qualify or can trees with Dutch elm disease or oak wilt also qualify for these funds?

A: Because of the limited amount of funds, only ash trees on public lands within the 1-mile buffer of a known EAB infested area are eligible for removals and replacement plantings with these funds.


2: Could the money be used to pay a contractor to plant the trees that the city purchases?

A: Yes, grant funds can be used for both tree purchase and contract planting. However, a contractor may not be willing to guarantee the survival of trees they are not procuring themselves.

3: Our city updated their Community Forestry/Shade Tree Ordinance about a year ago, which includes EAB preparedness. So, does it need to be updated again?

A: No. By requiring that a grantee have an updated ordinance, the state is trying to ensure that they have the legal basis to conduct a more comprehensive program, including preparations for addressing the impacts of EAB.

4: Can we pick any tree listed in the MSA Tree Rating Zone for our location in the "Approved Native Tree List", or do we have to select trees listed for the ecological subsection that the our city is located within?

A: Any tree on the "Approved Native Trees List pdf" is eligible for planting with these funds. Applicants should use the MSA Rating Zones and plant hardiness zones as guides so that the trees selected are well suited for the soils and conditions in the proposed planting sites.

5: According to the Community Tree Survey, 33 percent of the community trees in my city are maple. A number of the maples are mature trees. Therefore, can we include maples in the list of trees we plan to plant if awarded grant dollars to diversify our city forest?

A: No, including overplanted species in your proposal is not recommended. These funds are intended to help diversify community forests, to minimize the impacts of pests like EAB or Asian longhorned beetle (which prefers maples). Accepted guidelines for defining a diverse community forest are:


  • 10 percent or less of a single species (e.g., bur oak-Quercus macrocarpa)
  • 20 percent or less of a single genus (e.g., maple-Acer, oak-Quercus, birch-Betula)
  • 30 percent or less of a single family (e.g., elm and hackberry are in the Ulmaceae family).

The 2010 DNR Community Tree Survey results indicated that out of the 700 communities surveyed, nearly every community has an overabundance of maple and ash.

6: What type of tree do you recommend cities plant – bareroot, containerized, or balled-n-burlap?

A: Deciding what form of tree to purchase involves many considerations, each having pros and cons. A detailed description of the three common forms and advantages of each is found on Planting techniques for trees and shrubs.

7: Do you have an example of an Annual Maintenance Plan for public trees?

A: Yes, here are documents that can help you develop an annual maintenance plan:

8: Can a public school district apply for grant dollars?

A: Trees purchased with grant dollars can be planted on any public lands, which would include public school land. Public schools who want to diversify their school ground should partner with their city, county, or both. The city or county would apply for grant dollars, which could be used to plant trees on the school grounds.

9: To get the grant, does the city have to be first class (populations more than 100,000) or are cities with populations of less than 5,000 able to apply?

A: All cities, counties, and townships can apply. Cities of the "first class" wording is needed for Park & Recreation Boards that have taxing authority separate from the city.

10: One of the listed eligible costs for what grant funds can be used for is "professional contracts for technical assistance, administration or implementation of the grant project." Therefore, can a professional contractor complete the required documents (Updated Community Forestry or Shade Tree Ordinance, Annual Maintenance Plan for public trees, and Community EAB Preparedness Plan or Community Forest Management Plan, including EAB preparedness, annual tree maintenance and public education components) that must be submitted upon completion of the project?

A: No. The use of bonding funds is limited to the actual work and materials needed to make capital improvements to public property. This does not include tree inventories or any planning activities, other than planning the actual tree planting project or EAB-infested ash tree removal project (for cities within the 1-mile buffer of an EAB infestation that has been confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture).

11: Can city's who were granted 2010-2012 Community Bonding Grant funds also apply for 2012-2014 Community Bonding Grant funds?

A: Yes, if a city currently has a 2010-2012 Community Bonding Grant, they can still apply for the 2012-2014 round of Community Bonding Grants.

12: What updates are needed for a city's Community Tree or Shade Tree Ordinance?

A: A: We recommend comparing the language and sections of your city's Community Tree Shade Tree Ordinance to the League of Minnesota Cities Sample Shade Tree Pest Ordinance. Modify the language and add sections to your city's Tree Shade Tree Ordinance where appropriate.

13: Can grant dollars be used to purchase tree tubes and ground fabric?

A: Yes, costs associated with site preparation and planting of the trees are eligible for grant dollar reimbursement.

14: For Planting for Diversity projects, does removing ash to decrease their population and to create a planting site qualify for in-kind contributions?

A: Yes, those activities qualify for in-kind contribution. Grant dollars cannot be used for the above activities if you receive Planting for Diversity funds. If you receive funds for Forest Pest Removal and Replanting grant dollars can be used to remove trees and grind stumps (this is only for cities with known EAB infestations within their boundaries or cities that have public land within a 1-mile radius of state-designated "known EAB infested areas").

15: After a grant is approved, can a city deviate from the tree list they submitted if they select trees on the Approved Native Tree List?

A: Yes, but you need DNR approval for changing the tree selection prior to purchasing trees that are not on the original application tree list. Email or call DNR staff to discuss changes. Your amended tree list can be emailed or faxed.

16: Do you have a template for writing the Certification of Bond-Financed Public Property and the Declaration of Bond-Financed Public Property?

A: While it's a good idea to begin gathering the information needed to complete the certificate or declaration, they are only needed as attachments to a grant contract after the grant is awarded. If a proposal includes both street and park tree plantings, a certificate and declaration are needed.

17: What qualifies for in-kind contribution and how should it be calculate?

A: This is an updated MinnReleaf chart using current rates for the state of Minnesota.

Item/ Activity

Rate ($)

Volunteer Labor (profession services related to the project can be figured at the person's actual rate)








Chain Sawing




Dumb Truck, 1/2 ton


Dumb Truck, 2 1/2 ton or more


Front-end Loader

70.00/ hour



Semi/Tractor/Trailer (For heavy Equipment)




Stump Grinder (less than 40 hp)


Stump Grinder (less than 40 hp)




Tree Spade


Water Tank Truck


18: Can bonding grant funds be used to replace dead trees that were funded by the Community Forest Bonding Grant?

A: No. Trees funded by this grant are the grantee's responsibility to place and maintain.

These FAQs and answers will be updated regularly, check back often.