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Update on Lakewood’s Trees and Grounds

If you’ve visited Lakewood recently, you may have noticed there are fewer trees and some areas with damaged grass. The Minneapolis Park Board has marked over 700 hundred of our ash trees for removal due to an invasive beetle called the emerald ash borer (EAB). We’ve also been host to a group of wild turkeys that have done some unfortunate damage in some areas.

We appreciate your patience as we work to clear the grounds of tree debris throughout the spring and begin repairing the damage done by the turkeys. Read on to learn more about what’s been happening and our plan to address these issues.

What is the Emerald Ash Borer?

In the last two decades, ash trees all over the Eastern and Midwestern United States have become infested with EAB. The beetle’s larvae live in the bark of the trees, where they create tunnels. These tunnels disrupt the flow of water and nutrients throughout the tree, which causes the tree to die.

EAB came to the U.S. nearly two decades ago in overseas shipping containers. The beetle was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009, and it has spread quickly in recent years. Learn more about EAB from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Minneapolis’ Proactive Approach

To help manage the devastating effects of EAB, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board mandated the proactive removal of thousands of ash trees on public and private property throughout Minneapolis. Hundreds of ash trees here at Lakewood are among the trees that have been removed. Learn more about the Park Board’s approach to EAB.

More than one in five trees in the city of Minneapolis are ash trees. Lakewood, which has roughly 3,000 total trees, has a similar concentration of ash trees. Since 2018, we have removed about 700 ash trees. The last round of ash tree removal at Lakewood was completed this past winter.


Strengthening The Biodiversity of Lakewood’s Urban Forest

As with any forest, the trees at Lakewood are in a constant state of change. Storm damage, fires, disease and pests are all part of the natural cycle and rhythm of an urban forest.

While we are very sad to lose these trees, we are also optimistic about the opportunity to plant new and more diverse tree species at Lakewood. As our climate changes and new tree diseases emerge or migrate here, our trees will continue to face new threats. Planting a biodiverse woodland is key to both a beautiful setting and a resilient landscape.

Replanting New Trees

We’re working on a plan to replant a beautiful variety of new trees. Several factors affect how many trees we can replace, how quickly we can replace them, and where we can plant the new trees, including:

  • The size of the removed tree
  • The complexity of the old and new trees’ root systems
  • The layout of our underground water systems
  • The proximity of the trees to grave sites
  • How new plantings will fit within our master landscape plan

We have begun the planning — and planting — of new trees at Lakewood, but the process will take several years.

Funding the Replacement

As a nonprofit, Lakewood invest proceeds in a perpetual care fund to support the long-term maintenance of Lakewood’s grounds and buildings. However, because this is a large expense outside of regular maintenance, we have created a Memorial Tree Program to provide visitors with an opportunity to sponsor the planting of a new tree in memory of a loved one.


How will you address the damage to grass?

Lakewood is home to numerous wildlife species, including ducks, geese, fox, deer – and wild turkeys. While we enjoy the beauty of the turkeys, their eating habits are, unfortunately, destructive. The areas you see that look “dug up” are where turkeys have been digging for food. Much of the damage was done last fall, and we were not able to repair the areas due to the pending arrival of winter (new grass would not have time to root properly).

We are planning to address these areas in late May and early June this year, after the threat of frost has passed and our spring clean-up is complete.

We appreciate your patience and support as we undergo this necessary work. We’ll keep families and visitors up to date with developments via this website and information at our main office. Direct any questions to us at or call (612)822-2171.

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