Division Services & Information

The mission of the Bismarck Forestry Division is to manage and improve the health of the urban forest while enhancing the quality of life for our growing community.


Our Division is responsible for:
  • Landscaping information
  • Planting, pruning, and removal of trees
  • Insects, diseases, and abiotic damage information
  • Urban forestry information
  • Community resources and programs

Featured Topic - Fall Tree Care

Plant.  Fall is a great time to plant trees.  Cooler temperatures allow the tree to acclimate to it's new surroundings without the stress of higher air and soil temperatures.  

Don't Fertilize newly planted trees, only apply slow-release fertilizers on established trees.  Applications of nitrogen will encourage new tree growth which won’t have a chance to harden off before winter.  If you’re fertilizing your lawn, you’re also fertilizing any trees nearby.   Trees have a root spread equal to or greater than the height of the tree.

Wrap newly planted trees with brown kraft paper, starting at ground level and working your way up the tree to the first branch.   White plastic tubing can also be used.  This protects young trees from winter sunscald on the southwest exposure of the trunk, and will also deter rodents from feeding on the bark.  Trees most susceptible include fruit trees, mountainash, honeylocust, maples and linden.  Tree wraps should be removed in the spring.

Water trees before freeze-up.  Tree roots remain active until soil temperatures dip below 40 degrees.  Watering is especially beneficial for evergreens, which transpire tiny amounts of moisture through their needles throughout the winter months. 

Herbicide Applications should be done with caution around trees.  Herbicides are most effective on lawns in the fall, but some herbicides can be detrimental to tree roots, especially with repeat applications.  Spot spray, if possible.  Learn to tolerate a few weeds.

Pruning is best done when trees are dormant, so leave that task until early spring.  Routine pruning in early spring before buds swell enables the tree to naturally seal off pruning wounds most effectively.  Broken branches should be properly pruned as soon as they are noticed.  Don’t use pruning sealer, tar or paint on any tree cuts or wounds.  A proper pruning cut doesn’t require sealer, and no amount of sealer can fix a bad pruning cut. 

Firewood.  For those who burn wood, fall is a popular time to harvest and cut firewood, or purchase it from a seller.  Keep invasive pests away by purchasing or harvesting firewood locally.  Transport of infested firewood is most likely how emerald ash borer will make its way to North Dakota.  Don’t move firewood.  Protect North Dakota’s trees!

Source:  NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center