Weather Forecast


One-of-a-kind tree survey begins in Morris

From left, Morris volunteer "inventory leaders" Sue Gooch, Laverne Swanson and John Anderson get tree survey instructions from University of Minnesota forestry student Eric North (gold t-shirt). The tree survey is intended to give the city a better understanding of the types, ages and conditions of urban trees.

University of Minnesota forestry experts and students will team with Morris residents to survey city trees and gather information intended to aid the city's forestation efforts in the future.

Some of the volunteers and U of M participants began their work with a one-block survey Monday night following the Morris City Council's regular meeting.

The surveys, which are being conducted in six regions in Minnesota, is a first of its kind in the U.S. For the first time, forestry experts will be teamed with community volunteers to gather the information on trees on both public and private property in the city, said Gary Johnson of the U of M's forestry department.

The spread of Emerald Ash Borer, which is expected to decimate the state's ash trees, has led university and city officials to gather information about how to best maintain urban forestry, Johnson said.

The teams composed of U of M experts, volunteer "inventory leaders" from the community and other volunteers will gather information about varieties, tree size and age, and tree condition in several regions in town using the "stratefied random sample" method. It's a much quicker and less expensive way of gathering the information as compared to a full tree census, Johnson said.

The teams will be out throughout the summer and will be noticeable in gold, forest green and maroon t-shirts. The inventory is expected to be completed by mid-September, Johnson said.

Residents in the areas to be surveyed will receive a letter explaining the project, and those who do not want the volunteers on their property can request to be placed on a no-trespass list, Johnson said.

For more about the survey, see the Sun Tribune Web site on Friday afternoon or the Sun Tribune print edition on Saturday.