Mpls begins removing final remains of trees felled by June storm

Minneapolis city officials say workers will begin removing nearly 800 stumps and repairing broken sidewalks this week. (MPR photo/Brandt Williams)

If you regularly stroll the sidewalks of Minneapolis, especially sections of the city’s southwest side, you have likely had to walk around or over remnants of the big June 21 storm. City officials say gale force winds in June knocked down more than 3,000 trees.   And they have identified nearly 800 uprooted stumps which often protrude at obtuse and acute angles from the boulevards with their roots pushing up large sections of sidewalk.    This week, the city will begin removing those stumps and repairing the concrete walkways.  City officials say they hope to have the work done by the first of November.

However, some wonder if sidewalk construction has had an impact on the trees’ ability to withstand high winds.  Builders sometimes sever or shave off sections of tree roots to make the sidewalk flat.  Ralph Sievert, Minneapolis City Forester, told members of a city council committee at a July meeting:

“There’s been some changes made in terms of arcing the sidewalk around the tree, so you don’t have as much of that impact. Even just shaving the roots off, instead of severing them, that all still has an impact on the stability of the tree.”

City officials also say photographs of the stumps will help foresters better understand why some trees fell and others didn’t.