Pleasant Street Reconstruction

Pleasant Street reconstructed and after 10 years of tree growth

With the start of summer break, the University will begin a major street reconstruction of Pleasant Street from University Avenue to Arlington Street. The project is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 18 and will significantly impact the U of M campus throughout the summer months.

As part of the Pleasant Street reconstruction, 52 trees – primarily ash trees – will be removed. While the tree removal is regrettable and will certainly be noticeable, those trees will ultimately be replaced by 54 trees and will allow for the installation of cutting-edge boulevard tree plantings, utilizing best practices for urban forestry and storm water management.

Emerald Ash Borer and campus ash trees

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has killed tens of millions of trees throughout the Midwest since the early 2000s. Since 2009, Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in five campus locations and EAB is known to infest trees in adjacent neighborhoods. Because Minnesota has the largest concentration of ash trees in the country, EAB is without question a serious threat to ash trees on campus and throughout the state.

To slow the spread of EAB, the University employs a two-pronged management program that is consistent with the management programs of many cities and universities dealing with Emerald Ash Borer. The management program includes chemical treatment of campus ash trees, and selective removal of ash trees based on their condition and opportunity.

Chemical treatment of ash trees can slow, but not stop, the spread of EAB and is being used in areas across campus. Chemical treatment requires repeated, costly applications on a two to three year cycle and the cost increases as trees grow larger.

Ash trees that are found to be infected with EAB are removed immediately. In addition, ash trees are selectively removed when their removal can logically coincide with a large campus project. Those trees are then replaced with an assortment of tree species that allows the University to diversify the campus urban forest. Two recent examples include the Coffman Union north lawn and the Washington Avenue Transit Mall. In both projects, ash trees were removed during project construction and replaced with a variety of other tree species.

Tree removal on Pleasant Street

  • The 54 replacement trees will include Kentucky Coffeetree, Ginkgo, Common Hackberry, Honeylocust, Red Maple, Elm (Dutch Elm Disease resistant variety), Red Oak and Bur Oak.
  • This diverse mix of deciduous shade tree species will improve the resilience of the campus urban forest against future ecological threats.
  • Tree trenches will be installed to capture and re-use storm runoff and maximize tree rooting area. Tree trenches will eliminate heaving sidewalks and the trip hazards that come with them.
  • Large tree rooting zones and the introduction of captured storm water will encourage vigorous tree growth, ultimately resulting in large trees that shade the pavement and intercept rainfall.
  • Environmental benefits of these large trees will include evaporative cooling and carbon sequestration.

More information about the Emerald Ash Borer can be found here:

For questions or more information on the project please contact Tim Busse, Director of Communications, University Services at or (612) 624-2863

View of Pleasant Street in front of Folwell Hall 

Current view of Pleasant Street in front of Folwell Hall

Artist's rendering of Pleasant Street in front of Folwell Hall after reconstruction

Artist's rendering of Pleasant Street in front of Folwell Hall after reconstruction

Artist's rendering of Pleasant Street in front of Folwell Hall after 10 years of tree growth

Artist's rendering of Pleasant Street in front of Folwell Hall after reconstruction with 10 years of tree growth