Natural Shore Technologies |  612-703-7581 
February Article
A Super Time: Thinking Climate, Conservation, & Spring!

So the Super Bowl went off without a hitch, as Minnesota was, of course, an impeccable host state. People from all over the country came to experience the big game and the "Bold North."  They could not help but get a feel what a Minnesota winter is all about - cold, snowy, and some brutal winds mixed in for good measure. The temperature at the start of the game was a balmy 1 degree. It was actually the coldest Super Bowl on record. Even with below zero temperatures throughout Super Bowl week, locals and visitors seemed to embrace the activities happening outside on the Nicollet Mall and had a blast.  On the day after the game, a -4 degree wind chill ushered out thousands upon thousands of visitors, helping to seal a lasting impression of our wintery environment.   

Before the big game, we heard
 comments from a few of  our clients wishing that the visitors could experience "real"  Minnesota winter conditions. You see, we are a proud  bunch, and can even be proud of our sometimes harsh winter weather.  Well we lucked out and experienced temperatures a bit lower than normal for this time of year. The average temperature in February is 15.6 degrees,  with around 12 inches of snow. It might have been a shock to the system for many of our southern visitors, but it was nothing out of the ordinary for Minnesota veterans.

It seems that a few decades ago, people were not really wondering much about if we would have a "real" Minnesota winter. People might wonder about the severity of winter conditions - how cold? And how much snow will we get? But increasingly, over the last decade, folks are now regularly discussing what a real winter is, and the trend in warmer conditions.  Ahead of Super Bowl LII, Climate Central conducted a study and found that all 30 NFL cities were on a warming trend, with Minneapolis warming the fastest.  According to the National Climatic Data Center, average December through February temperatures have been increasing by one degree every decade.

So the warmer temperatures certainly can threaten our "Bold North" reputation as hardy souls, but even more importantly, it has significant effects on our environment. For instance, the "ice out" on lakes studied in Minnesota is now a full week earlier, compared to what we experienced a few decades ago. And it's not just the ice that melts earlier, but our snow as well. Historical records show that snow blanketed most of the state all the way to April. However now, the new trend is pointing to just half the state having snow cover when April rolls around. That might not seem like a big deal, but the lack of snow and ice results in our landscape and our lakes warming up faster.

So this increase in temperature can have substantial effects on our ecological systems. For instance, the harsh  cold helps keep pests like ticks and other insects in check. Warmer winters have meant more ticks, which can increase the risk of contracting Lyme's disease.  The number of reported cases of Lyme's disease has more than doubled in Minnesota in the last decade.  Less snow on our lakes and earlier ice out means more light for invasive species. Lake managers are seeing a correlation with the abundance of the non-native, invasive curly leaf pondweed and early ice out. Warmer lake water temperatures also seem to be impacting fish species that enjoy cooler water, like lake trout and walleye.  Our tree cover is changing, with many cold loving tamarack and pines diminishing in the central portion of the state and maple trees taking their spots.  

So enough of the gloom and doom; how can we do our part in reducing climate change? We at Natural Shore always challenge ourselves to think about ways to conserve fuel. We map out our site visits each day in a way that logistically makes sense. We are using smaller, more economical vehicles, whenever possible. We minimize the use of fuel in the greenhouse, mostly relying on solar radiation for heat, and sunshine to grow our native plants. We keep our office pretty chilly in the winter. We are buying local whenever possible, and using locally sourced products. Our company shirts are made from certified organic cotton and natural dyes. We are always striving to be a "Green" company and setting an example to others on how to conserve our resources.

With the Super Bowl done and gone, it's now the perfect time to think about conservation, our upcoming spring, and new, innovative, and important restoration projects! Let our staff help you plan a restoration or help you choose the right collection of plants for your next project. We are excited to help you out and collectively work to conserve our great state of Minnesota! 

Native Plant of the Month
Butterfly Weed
Asclepias tuberosa

Moisture: Moist or Dry
Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade
Color: Orange
Blooms: June- August
Height: 1.5-2 Feet

Butterfly weed grows in stunning clusters of bright orange or yellow flowers that  bloom from summer into early fall.  Even though it is part of the milkweed family its hairy leaves and stems do not produce a milky sap when broken.  Established plants grow deep taproots that can make this plant hard to transplant. Butterfly weed prefers dry, sandy or gravelly soils found in dry prairies and upland woods.  Their flowers are a magnet for pollinators and are nectar plants for them.  It is also the larval host plant for monarch butterfly larvae.  Plant extracts were used for medicine by Native Americans.  Another common name  for butterfly weed is pleurisy root.
Invasive Plant of the Month
Orange Hawkweed
Hieracium aurantiacum

Moisture: Dry
Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade
Color: Orange
Blooms: June- October
Height: 0.5-2 Feet

Orange Hawkweed is a weedy perennial from Europe that is often found in areas with disturbed soils like roadsides, or fallow fields. This weed is mostly found north of the Twin Cities area but is starting to move to other parts of Minnesota. The whole plant is hairy, with leaves mostly forming a rosette at the base of the plant. Their flowers can be red or orange, with some yellow at the center. After they flower they develop seeds with fluff that float in the wind. Management strategies include mowing the infestation to prevent seed maturation, hand pulling smaller infestations, or select herbicide treatments.  

Native plant alternatives include  Butterfly Weed and Prairie Coreopsis!
Pollinator of the Month
Northern Amber Bumble bee
Bombus borealis

Range :  Southern and eastern parts Canada and North-central and eastern parts of the US.
Habitat Open areas like fields and meadows, where flowering plants are abundant.
Identification A large bumblebee with a black band along its thorax and alternating black and yellow bands on its abdomen. Faces are black with yellow or pale yellow hairs. Dark legs and wings.
Pollination Adults visit various different native plants for nectar including bergamot, hoary vervain, golden Alexander, obedient plant, and more!
February 2018 Issue
Our Company
Retail Nursery News
Our retail nursery will reopen Wednesday May 16th 2018!

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
Come visit us at these events!

2018 Wild Ones Design with Nature Conference
Sat. Feb. 17
Anderson Student Center
Univ. of St. Thomas

 Shorewood Spring Garden Fair
Sat. Mar. 10
Southshore Center
5 Plants For...
Prairie Habitat

Prairie habitat once covered most of the Midwest.  That ecosystem is now less that 1% of its original range. Below are five plants that historically were found in Prairie habitats you can plant on your property to help bring this landscape back to life.

1. Big Bluestem
( Andropogon gerardii)

2. Little Bluestem
( Schizachyrium scoparium)

3.  Hoary Vervain ( Verbena stricta)

4. Prairie Dropseed ( Sporobolus heterolepsis)

5. Purple Prairie Clover
( Dalea purpurea)

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

February Mystery Plant
Test your plant ID skills!

Can you tell what plant this loon is hiding behind? 

Need another clue?
Take a closer look at this picture!

Visit our Facebook page to see if you're right!