We are fortunate to have an 11 acre facility on the Saint Paul campus that is the base for some of our field research, outreach classes, and demonstrations. Around one acre is devoted to teaching, demonstrations of best planting and pruning practices, and our gravel bed research on species suitability and performance. We also feature a diverse and revolving palette of trees and shrubs for maintenance practices as well as examples of plants that will (or sometimes will not) be the recommended plants for a changing Minnesota climate in the near future.
Undergraduate research assistants maintain both the one acre demonstration nursery as well as the 10 acres of research and tree production under the direction of urban forestry researchers and faculty. Field research projects include the testing and evaluations of elms (native and introduced) for their resistance to Dutch elm disease as well as their worthiness for urban landscapes. Additionally, old “reliable” species and new introductions are grown to marketable sizes, again evaluating their worthiness for Midwestern landscapes as well as their winter cold hardiness.
Each August, on the third Thursday, we open up our demonstration and research nursery facility to private and municipal practitioners, students, volunteers and anyone who wants to learn more about trees and the work we are involved with. It’s a morning of informal and active learning and is worth the time invested to rub shoulders and learn from the 150+ people who usually attend. We annually offer this session with our partners, the Minnesota Society of Arboriculture and the Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee.