Natural Shore Technologies |  612-703-7581 
April Article
Battling Alien Invaders on the Restoration Front

What exactly are we talking about? Funny looking green guys popping out of silver flying saucers? Or perhaps, alien parasites creating hordes of killer zombies?  No, alien invaders is a fairly common term that is used in natural resources management to refer to non-native weedy plant species. This is an impassioned phrase that signifies a real big problem.  For instance, reed canary grass and Canada thistle create major headaches for us in Minnesota and fall under this attention-getting terminology.

Because of this feeling that something terrifying is taking over our territory, whether that be croplands or natural areas, herbicide companies are known to play into this and use interesting names to market their products.  Here are just a few attention-grabbing herbicide product names that relate to conflict, strife, and our great nation:  Broadstrike, Freedom, Pummel, Guardsman, Acquire, Ramrod, Rescue, Stealth, and Liberty . Does this get you charged up and ready to go out and kick some rear end?   
Throughout our company's history, Natural Shore has made an effort to stay up-to-date on new or different maintenance practices that will benefit Minnesota's landscapes.  We are very proud of the fact that we use herbicides judiciously and conservatively. We are very passionate about knocking back the alien invaders, but we believe we do it the right way by limiting herbicide use and always look for alternatives when possible.

Here are a few strategies we use to curb our herbicide use and improve our natural areas:

1.       Before you pick up that herbicide container,

 consider your environmental conditions.  For instance, it might be too windy, too hot, too cold, or too wet for herbicides to be effective. In that case, we rely on the tried, tested, and true strategy of hand pulling or sometimes weed whipping (depending on the species).  These methods might be more grueling on a hot, humid Minnesota summer day, but our crew just buckles down, hustles, and gets the work done!


2.       It's critical to time herbicide treatments so that your target alien species are the most vulnerable. It is important to realize that there are specific times of year when it makes sense to treat certain invasive plant species. For instance, early spring is a great time to treat cool season invasive weed species, especially in areas with still dormant warm season native plant species. This approach limits the "collateral damage" (yes another war term). Fall is a time when plants are storing nutrients in their root systems, and it is most effective to treat certain species this time of year. At Natural Shore, we severely limit our herbicide use during the summer months.


3.       Know your enemy and choose the correct herbicide. There are many different herbicides available today that help manage alien invasive weeds. Many have specific chemical properties that make them more effective on certain species of plants while being entirely ineffective on other types of plants.  It is extremely important to know which herbicides will be most effective in your management effort. Having a detailed understanding of which chemicals to use in different situations allows maximum efficiency. It is also important to alternate different types of herbicides so that certain weed species do not become "immune" or resistant to the chemicals. If we use too much of just one type of chemical, that chemical will gradually become more and more ineffective, resulting in even more chemical use.  By using different chemicals you can help avoid this immunity and preserve herbicide effectiveness.



4.       Keep detailed records of herbicide use and its success. We keep records of all of our herbicide treatments. These records include time, date, temperature, wind speed, wind direction, target species, chemical type, chemical concentration, amount used, and other information. These records along with field observations taken during subsequent maintenance visits allow us to track herbicide effectiveness.


5.       Stay informed on new research, innovative technologies, improved chemical formulas, and fresh life history information on your target invasive alien plant species.

If you would like for us to take over your ecological restoration maintenance, our crew would be happy to combat those alien invaders! Our lead maintenance supervisor, Tracy, has over 10 years of field maintenance experience and will help you do battle in your restoration.
Photo Caption Contest of the Month *New!*
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Our plants are nearly ready for the retail nursery re-opening! This Columbine seems ready to go!

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Then add your caption to this photo and you could win!

$25 Gift Certificate for Native Plants! 

It's that easy! And check back next month for another  photo  caption contest!

Congratulations to Mary C. for winning March's Caption Contest! Want to see her winning caption? 

Native Plant of the Month
Fox Sedge     
Carex vulpinoidea

Moisture: Moist or Dry
Exposure:  Full Sun or Partial Shade
Blooms: May-June
Color- Bronze
Height: 1-3 Feet
 A great choice for rain gardens or shoreline restorations, Fox Sedge is a wetland plant with deep fibrous roots. It also makes a great plant to use for borders because it stays in tight clumps. The leaves and seedheads splay out in June, making it an attractive plant for landscaping as well. Leaves are dark green and narrow. Seedheads start out green and then mature into a bronze color that resembles a fox's tail. Fox sedge is also deer resistant. 

Invasive Plant of the Month
Goutweed or Snow-on-the-Mountain
2012 © Peter M. Dzuik
Aegopodium podagraria

Moisture: Dry
Exposure:  Full or Partial Shade
Blooms: May-June
Color: White 
Height: 1-3 Feet

This European invader is a perennial plant that escapes from ornamental landscaping. It has a very prolific root system that forms large colonies that make it hard to eradicate after it escapes cultivation. Their white flowers are orientated on flat-topped umble-shaped clusters. The flowers are on top of long green stalks. Leaves are asymmetrical with pointed tips. The "escaped" plants have solid green leaves while the cultivars found in ornamental plantings usually have silvery white margins giving it the Snow-on-the-mountains name. Established infestations can be hard to manage and eradicate. Goutweed will resprout from any fragments left in the ground if you attempt to dig it out. The plant also breaks off when you attempt to hand-pull the above ground parts. It can also be resistant to some herbicides. A combined effort of digging, mowing, and timed herbicide treatments over multiple seasons will deplete energy reserves. Replanting the area with competitive native plants is also helpful. 

Native plant alternatives include Golden Alexanders and Foxglove Beardtongue!
Pollinator of the Month
Southern Dogface Butterfly
Zerene cesonia

Range : South America north to Texas and Florida as well as the Great Lakes Region. 
Identification  on the upperside of the forewings the black margins of the wings make the yellow portion look like a dog's head with a black eye. On the underside they are pale yellow with white dots with black circles. 
Pollination: The larvae use prairie clover (Dalea) species as their host plant. The adults feed on nectar from various native species such as New England Aster, Butterfly milkweed, Coreopsis species, and Verbena species. 
April 2017 Issue
Our Company
Retail Nursery News
Our retail nursery is currently closed. But will reopen this spring! Check out our 2017 retail hours below:

10 am - 4 pm only on the following days:

May 18 Closed
May 25 Closed
June 1 June 3
June 8 June 10
June 15 June 17
June 22 June 24
June 29 Closed
July 20 July 22
Aug. 17
Aug. 19

Our retail nursery address is:
1480 County Rd. 90  Independence MN 55359

Have any questions? Contact our greenhouse manager Jill at

Click and visit our website for current
Minnnesota Native Plant Brand ensures that plant species are native to Minnesota. 
Upcoming Events

Plymouth Home Expo 6pm-9pm Friday April 7th 9am-1pm Saturday April 8th  Plymouth Creek Center Fieldhouse, 14800 34th Ave. N., Plymouth
5 Plants For...
Tall Areas:
Often times we put tall plants in the back of a planting, in a lower area of a basin, or to add structure to a restoration for birds or butterflies. Take a look at a few of these blooming flowers that get a little taller.

1. Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale
2-5 Feet

2. Joe-Pye Weed Eupatorium maculatum
3-6 feet

3. Anise Hyssop
Agastache foeniculum
3-4 feet

4. Ironweed 
Vernonia fasciculata
3-6 feet

5. Oxeye 
Heliopsis helianthoides
3-5 feet

 Want to learn more about these native plants? Click Here to visit our website!

Questions? Comments?