Green digest // Got an opinion on bike lanes? Call 311

In several locations where the city is testing innovative bicycle infrastructure improvements, signs placed in September urge motorists to call 311 and share their opinions.

City bicycle planner Simon Blenski said the signs would remain up through October as part of an ongoing effort to gather feedback on various bicycle projects. In the past, similar motorist surveys have been conducted by placing flyers on parked cars, but the signs are going up in locations where drivers are harder to reach because most are just passing through and not parking nearby.

One such location is the intersection of Lyndale Avenue South and Oak Grove Street near the Southwest corner of Loring Park, where one of the signs went up in late September. The crosswalk on the east side of the intersection is painted green to alert motorists to an off-street bicycle path.

“We’re aiming for motorist feedback, but anyone can call,” Blenski said.

Similar signs were posted on North 7th Street near its intersection with Lyndale Avenue North; near a new bicycle traffic signal at the intersection of Broadway and 5th streets in Northeast; and in Dinkytown at the intersection of 15th Avenue and 4th Street.

The city also listens to bicyclist and pedestrian opinions on such projects, but those folks are often easier to reach; staff simply flag down and survey passing bikers and walkers during the summer months, Blenski said.

Now’s the time to safely prune ash

For the past few years, homeowners have been asked to refrain from pruning ash trees during the active season for the emerald ash borer, an invasive species first discovered in Minneapolis in 2009.

The arrival of cooler fall temperatures means the beetle’s active season — which typically runs May 1 to Labor Day — is at an end. Between now and early spring is the safest time to prune or remove an ash tree.

Hennepin County remains under a quarantine that restricts the movement of ash trees or any ash firewood, lumber, wood chips or other products. The same rules apply in other counties where emerald ash borer has turned up, including Ramsey County and Houston and Winona counties in southeastern Minnesota.

Ash trees are common in Minneapolis, where they make up an estimated one-fifth of the urban canopy. For tips on identifying ash trees and emerald ash borer, or for more information on the quarantine and sites that will accept ash wood, go to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website,, and type “emerald ash borer” into the search box.

Want some help from a professional? Find a tree service licensed to operate in Minneapolis at

Trees are thirsty

The city and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board were asking residents to give thirsty yard and boulevard trees a drink this fall.

The call came at a time in September when the U.S. Drought Monitor had most of the metro area rated “abnormally dry.” Drought-stressed trees are more susceptible to insect damage and disease, and the Park Board reported even otherwise healthy trees might struggle after a dry, hot summer.

According to the city’s forestry department, a long, slow trickle often works best; just turn the hose on low and set it next to the tree for a couple of hours in the evening. Trees will keep drinking right up until they drop all their leaves and go dormant, usually around mid-October.

For more information, go to

Bust some buckthorn

The second-annual Buckthorn Bust event returns to Lynnhurst Park 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Oct. 20, and organizers are urging those who’d like to help out to sign up by Oct. 15.

The Lynnhurst Environmental Committee and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board are co-sponsors of the event, which will focus on removing invasive buckthorn plants from the park, located near the south shore of Lake Harriet. Volunteers will be served lunch after the event.

To register, call the Lynnhurst Recreation Center at 370-4914 or email [email protected] by Oct. 15.

Join the 

Whittier cleanup

The Whittier Alliance neighborhood organization hosts its annual fall cleanup 1 p.m.–4 p.m. Oct. 13.

Community organizer Jen Wendland was encouraging groups to register for the cleanup in teams. Groups will be assigned four-square-block areas to hunt for trash during the cleanup and then will reconvene afterward for hot cider and snacks.

Volunteers can sign up for the event by contacting Wendland at 871-7756 or [email protected]

Reach Dylan Thomas at [email protected]