Many of trees planted at the Phalen Brownfield have been performing very well! The showy mountain ash (below left), Prairie Dream paper birch, and catalpa (below right) were looking great right from the start.
These three species were grown at our research nursery at the University of Minnesota in a special fabric container called a RootTrapper. These soft-sided containers can reduce or eliminate the circling roots found in some nursery stock grown in plastic pots. This type of container may also improve transplant success in difficult sites like this.
Unfortunately, we've also had some failures! Almost immediately, four species underwent severe transplant shock. Many had to be replaced with substitute species (see map below).
Several elms and box elder maples lost leaves almost immediately but have since reflushed and are doing well (below left and right). Others were replaced with new species.
One replacement tree is the Prairie Horizon Manchurian alder (below) - selected on the tough plains at NDSU's woody plant breeding program. Prairie Horizon alder is already in heavy rotation in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul and is getting some well-earned attention!
Regal Prince oak (below left), performed the worst of any planted at this site. Unlike our success story above, these trees were transplanted bare root and possibly underwent significantly greater stress than the others. These trees have been moved back to our research nursery for rehabilitation and possible future planting back on-site.
Fortunately some Regal Prince have survived and are performing well (below right) offering a glimpse of its unique form and foliage!
Now we must wait - through the long winter - hoping that these urban pioneers establish well and are able to continue to survive and thrive at this challenging location!
Finally, on behalf of our research team at the University of Minnesota, I'd like to thank the Forestry Division at Saint Paul Parks & Recreation. This group of dedicated and knowledgeable arborists are the heart and soul of this research. Projects like this would be impossible without their support!