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Open house details Highway 371 landscaping in Nisswa

On Tuesday, Oct. 29, staff from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) met with citizens at Nisswa City Hall for an open house to inform the public of landscaping plans along the recently reconstructed stretch of Highway 371 through Nisswa.

The plan includes planting a wide variety of shrubs and trees. Pines to be planted include two types of spruce, red cedar, white pines and red Norway pines. Deciduous trees include elm, linden, three types of oak, butternut, two types of maples, birch and hackberry. Shrubs to be planted include three types of lilac and sumac.

Patti Strohmayer, landscape design specialist for MnDOT, said soil tests were performed and the high acidity of the soil in the area lends itself to lots of fall color. She along with a group, including Nisswa city planner Loren Wickham and two council members, toured the area along Highway 371 to discuss the landscaping.

Strohmayer said that the lilacs will add fragrance along the Paul Bunyan Trail. Salt resistance was also a consideration for plants along the highway.

Nearly 100 trees and more than 100 shrubs are listed on MnDOT’s landscaping plan for Highway 371 through Nisswa.

Shrubs will be 1-2 feet tall when planted, pines will 4-6 feet tall when planted and other trees will have a trunk diameter of 1-2 inches. Strohmayer said that while all trees grow at different rates, she expects that 10 years from now residents will see the gaps close between the plants, and they’ll continue growing for many years.

MnDOT’s landscaping plan is fairly final, Strohmayer said, though she added that a couple changes were made Oct. 29 to move trees that had the potential to obscure business signs.

Planting will be in the spring, and the contractor will be responsible for two years of maintenance. Any tree that dies in the first year will be replaced, MnDOT said.