The City of Detroit Lakes has an active forestry program with an annual Arbor Day celebration held at the end of April. The City has received the Tree City U.S.A. award for over three decades. In 2022, the City of Detroit Lakes received the award for the 34th year.  

The Public Works Department maintains boulevard trees, trees in City parks, and on public property within city limits.  This includes trimming and removal of trees.


Tree Disease Control Program

Inspecting trees for infectious tree diseases is a routine service offered by the City of Detroit Lakes in an effort to maintain the vitality of the community's urban forest.

Dutch Elm Disease, Oak Wilt, and other shade tree disease inspections are on-going with a City tree inspector making a survey of the City. It is the objective of the City of Detroit Lakes, along with our forestry department to work to identify and remove any diseased or hazardous trees that have been infected. The prompt removal and sanitation of diseased trees has greatly reduced the spread of the tree diseases within our community. 

If the Tree Inspector identifies a tree on your property as diseased or hazardous, it will be marked with an orange painted “X.” You will also be sent a notification letter providing you with information for removal.


Please report any tree concerns to the Public Works department at or by calling 218-847-4637.


Dutch Elm Disease

WHAT CAUSES DED? The disease is caused by a fungus which blocks the elm tree's water conducting system. Once infected, the tree will die in one to two years. There is no cure, only prevention.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DED?  Symptoms will start to become visible in late June, early July. 

The first sign of the disease is the wilting, drooping, and curling of leaves in the upper part of the tree. Next, the leaves will change from green to yellow to brown and will usually remain on the tree. 

If the tree is infected later in the summer, the leaves will droop, turn yellow and drop prematurelyInfected branches will show a brown stain under the bark.


HOW DOES DED SPREAD? The fungus is spread from tree to tree by female elm bark beetles. The beetles breed under the bark of the dead or dying trees and, when the newly hatched beetles emerge from the tree carrying the fungal disease to new trees.

The disease can also spread through grafted roots. When elms grow in close proximity to each other (crowns touching), their roots come into contact and graft together. This common root system provides a fungus with a path to spread through an entire stand of healthy elms very quickly.


Keep elm trees healthy by watering them well from April to mid-August, and watering trees really well once or twice before freeze-up.

Prune weak or dying branches. The best time to do this is in early spring.

Do not transport the diseased wood within City limits.

Properly dispose of trimmings by taking them to the landfill. Do not store the diseased wood.


Lifecycle of Dutch Elm Disease 


Oak Wilt

WHAT IS OAK WILT? Oak Wilt is a fungal disease that attacks oak trees and can quickly kill them as well.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OAK WILT? Symptoms generally consist of defoliation, wilt, leaf discoloration and death.

HOW DOES OAK WILT SPREAD? The disease is spread from tree to tree via connections between tree roots or insect vectors.


Remove and properly dispose of infected wood.

Do not store or transport infected wood within City limits.

Don't damage the base of oak trees with trimmers or mowers.

Prune oak trees when the leaves are off or after the first hard frost.

 Oak Wilt









A tree can be marked if it is deemed hazardous as well. These trees do not have to be diseased.


City of Detroit Lakes Tree Removal Process


Inspectors will typically come out in the early part of July to inspect trees, but it could be at any time, to inspect trees throughout the city.

Tree(s) marked with an orange X have been deemed diseased or hazardous and must be removed.

Tree(s) located on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.

Property owners will receive a letter with more information regarding the marked tree(s). 

Property owners are able to hire a contractor of their choosing to take the tree(s) down and remove the stump or they can have the City's contractor remove the tree and stump. The City encourages property owner's who hire their own contractor to use the service of a licensed tree contractor that has liability and workers compensation insurance and a performance bond. Using a contractor with these insurances and bond is a safety measure property owners can take to protect themselves.


For questions or concerns please contact the Public Works Department by email or by phone 218-847-4637.