Gardens and Planting Trees

  • Community and School Gardens

    Saint Paul Public Schools endeavors to support the community and educational benefits inherent in gardens and outdoor learning spaces. Through the application of specific standards and procedures for the implementation and maintenance of these amenities, safe, responsible and sustainable gardens can be achieved.

    Schools, individual grades or classes, parent-teacher organizations, site councils, and outside civic groups like District Councils may spearhead the effort to create a garden.

    Planning a garden requires a number of variables to be taken into consideration. The Facilities Department can help plan a garden project, select plants for our climate zone, create a theme garden, or suggest plants that will attract birds and butterflies to your garden.

    What is the Difference between a Community Garden and a School Garden?

    A school garden is defined as a space where people work together to plant and tend an area, and is:

    • Created and used by students for educational purposes;
    • Supervised by school staff;
    • Maintained by students, school staff, and/or school-based parent organizations such as PTA/PTO;

    A Community Garden is defined as a space used for gardening on District land that is maintained by an outside organization and not to be used for classroom instruction (i.e. assigned garden plots)

    Please review the district's Garden Standards and Procedures and contact Facilities  early in the planning process. Before installing a garden you will be asked to complete and sign and submit a Gardens Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

    A complete application will have the following:

    • A site plan, drawn to scale, of the school garden.
    • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed and submitted by the Principal, to include (see template):
      • Garden description and goals.
      • A maintenance plan detailing year-round maintenance schedule / expectations as well as the plan for transitioning the primary responsibility of the garden as current leaders cease to be involved.
      • Provision to indemnify, defend and hold the District harmless from any injuries, damages or losses, including costs and attorney’s fees arising from the willful or negligent acts or omissions of the gardeners, their employees, officers, guests and invitees.

    Planting Trees

    Planting trees is an easy and effective way to beautify your site, provide shade in summer, and wind protection in winter. Since a tree is such a visible part of the landscape, care must be taken to ensure proper growth conditions are maintained.   

    If you plan on planting trees at your site, please contact the Facilities Department early in the planning process for assistance. 

    Assistance includes, but is not limited to, placement, staking (if necessary) and anything else to ensure your tree grows up healthy.

    Tree Care

    SPPS is committed to the following action items:

    1. To properly maintain and improve tree health.
    2. To cultivate an appropriate diversity of tree species.
    3. To target tree selection for new plantings in order to achieve diversity and provide maximum benefits.
    4. To remove potentially hazardous or undesirable trees within the scattered SPPS “forested landscape".
    5. To systematically remove the approximately 500 ash trees located on SPPS property within ten years, starting in 2016.
    6. To NOT treat ash trees with pesticides. Not every ash tree is a good candidate for treatment. Pesticides treatments are expensive and are not a permanent, sustainable solution.

    To this end, a tree inventory and assessment was undertaken to provide a baseline of information from which to work and subsequently develop recommendations for future management. The inventory provides information to answer questions about tree diversity, tree health, immediate maintenance needs, Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestations and planting opportunities. Review the 2015 SPPS Tree Management Program Report.