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Saint Paul Public Schools, District 625
360 Colborne Street
Saint Paul


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Gardens and Planting Trees

SPPS Gardens and Tree Planting


School and Community 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.

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)

Grow Our Own School Garden Program

Grow Our Own is a multi-department program lead by Nutrition Services and Facilities that aims to increase the opportunities for food and agricultural education for all students within the District by connecting school gardens, the cafeteria, and the classroom.  We are doing this through clarifying standards, providing networking and learning opportunities, and identifying resources for schools for successful Food Gardens. Learn more about Grow Our Own.

Interested in Starting a Garden?

Please review the District's School Garden or Community Garden Standards and Procedures and reach out to Grow Our Own and Facilities early on in the process by filling out the School Garden Interest Form.

Read the School Garden Handbook to find information about standards, processes, and best practices for starting and sustaining a school garden at SPPS. 

Below is the School Garden Roadmap, the steps to starting a school garden. 


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 Grounds 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.