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Contact Information

201 4th Street SE
Room 150
Rochester, Mn 55904 (Map)

Phone: 507-328-2515
Fax: 507-328-2511 
Email Forestry Service

Hours (Mon-Fri):
7:30am to 4:00pm
Summer 7:00am to 3:30pm 

Department Contacts


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In an ever-changing environment, there are a variety of challenges facing our urban forests including invasives, runoff, urban heating, and more. Thus, it is important that our community is aware of these issues and has the resources to manage them. Below are some resources on the current issues facing Rochester, how the forestry department is addressing them, and how you an help.

GRAVEL BEDSboulevard tree permit icon

Gravel beds are a simple and effective way to grow trees. They are simply an irrigated bed or gravel pit where young trees can develop during the growing season (3-6 months). Every year, our forestry department cares for around 500 trees in our gravel beds to be later planted around the community during planting events or to replace removed trees. So why are they so effective?

Gravel beds

  • allow for better fibrous root development
  • are cheaper than burlap or containerized trees
  • can increase species diversity in urban areas due to their availability.

For more information on gravel beds, cost, and benefits; download this Gravel Bed guide made by the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources.


CHLORIDE USEchloride snowflake icon

Chloride is a common chemical found in the road salts applied to snow around Minnesota during winter. While it is effective, it is often applied in excessive amounts and can leach into our water and negatively affect or even kill urban trees. In fact, it only takes one teaspoon of salt to pollute five gallons of water. 

When sodium and chloride ions are exposed to water, they separate and dissolve, thus displacing other important minerals and nutrients in the soil. When absorbed, sodium and chloride can disrupt essential plant processes including photosynthesis and respiration and cause root dehydration.

Symptoms of salt damage include

  • fewer/smaller leaves than usual
  • tan or brown foliage along leaf margins or needles
  • premature autumn color
  • twig die-back
  • bud death or delayed bud break
  • nutrient deficiency

Unfortunately, once in the water, it cannot be removed easily. One method that City of Rochester is using to reduce its chloride impact is the use of liquid treatments before snowfall (liquid treatment video). Ultimately, we encourage all homeowners to monitor their salt application and keep local flora and fauna in mind. 

For more information on chloride, salt alternatives, and best management practices; visit these links provided by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).



Unfortunately, there are hundreds of invasive aquatic, herbaceous, and woody plant species currently within Minnesota and the Rochester area. Here are a few of the most prevalent invasive plants within the area.

Common Buththorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Glossy Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula)
Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa L.)
Thistle (Circium spp.)

For information on Emerald Ash Borer, please visit our page on EAB Forestry Ordinance.

For information on Dutch Elm Disease, please visit our page on DED Forestry Ordinance.

For a more inclusive list of invasives found in Minnesota, visit the UMN Extension MN Invasives Page.