Natural Shore Technologies |  612-703-7581 
May Article
Use Native Plants and Natural Areas to Combat Mosquitoes

After our seemingly never-ending spring rains and "slightly" warmer temperatures, it's inevitable that our Minnesota state bird will be taking flight again. What? You mean the iconic black and white bird that shows up on logos and coffee cups?  No, we are talking about the other state "bird" - the dreaded mosquito! The critters that produce that all-too-familiar buzzing sound, the whining, blood-sucking terror of the skies!

Here are some interesting bits of information about mosquitoes, and how we can use native plants to combat this common critter:
  • Females of most mosquito species use a tube-like mouth-part (call a proboscis) to suck up blood.  Most males just feed on plant nectar.
  • There are 51 species of mosquitoes in Minnesota. This has to do with the abundance of aquatic systems that we have in our great state.
  • Did you know that some native plants have been
     used as a natural mosquito repellent? Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum), Horsemint (Monarda punctata), and Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) all have chemical compounds that have been used as natural repellents.  People crush, dry, or infuse the native plant leaves in oils to make a repellent that can be applied to the skin or clothing.
  • Sometimes rain gardens get a bad rap for actually creating mosquito breeding habitat.  However, by definition, a rain garden should not have standing water in it for more than 24 hours. Quick water infiltration prevents pool formation, and does not produce the habitat needed for mosquitoes to breed.
  • With their deep root systems, native plants actually promote water infiltration. If you have an area with chronic standing water in your yard, consider using native plants to increase water infiltration and reduce water pooling.  This may be an economical way to shrink mosquito breeding grounds and add amazing bird and pollinator habitat at the same time.
  • Dragonfly Nymph on Arrowhead
    Native plants attract many predators that eat mosquitoes!  Along our natural shores, dragonflies and damselflies start their lives out in water and prey on mosquito larvae.  It doesn't stop there.  These beneficial insects use emergent plants along the shoreline to crawl out of the water and dry off before taking to the skies.  As adults, these flying predators will pick off unsuspecting mosquitoes by the dozens.
  • Native plants also create habitat and attract animals that eat mosquitoes.  One of our most common frogs along the shore, the northern leopard frog, will not hesitate to eat any mosquito that comes within striking distance.  Also, many song birds attracted to native gardens and natural buffers will also readily consume mosquitoes.
So, even though the inevitable buzzing and slapping is just around the corner, know that you can use native plants to your benefit! You have the power to eliminate mosquito breeding habitat, grow natural repellents, and create habitat for animals that prey on our other state bird! Our friendly greenhouse staff will help you pick out the right plants for your home ecological restoration projects.  
Company News
Retail Nursery Re-Opening!

Our retail nursery is opening for the season! 

We have moved a mile from our Maple Plain location to a new office in neighboring Independence, MN. Our new location will allow us to better serve our clients' needs. 

Our new retail nursery address is:
1480 County Rd 90.  Independence MN 55359
Native Plant of the Month
Blue Flag Iris      
Iris versicolor

Moisture: Wet or Moist
Exposure: Full  Sun or Partial Shade
Color: Blue/Purple
Bloom: June-July
Height: 1.5-3 Feet

Blue Flag is a robust plant  found in swamps, meadows, shores, marshes, streambanks, and edges of ponds.   They form large clumps of showy flowers from thick, fleshy rhizomes growing in shallow water or saturated soil conditions.  Their long green leaves are shaped like a sword. The showy flowers are light to blue-violet with yellow and white markings on the falls (petal-like sepals).  Blue Flag Iris thrives in sun or part sun in rich, moist soil.   This species is extremely useful in restorations for anchoring soils.  Their flowers attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.  Rhizomes were used medicinally by Native Americans and extracted for iridin which is used in modern medicine as a purgative and liver stimulant.  Other common names are northern blue flag and harlequin blue flag. It is a wonderful replacement for the invasive Yellow Iris (see below).
Invasive Plant of the Month
Yellow Iris
Iris pseudacorus
Exposure: Sun or Partial Shade
Moisture: Wet
Height: 2-4 Feet
Blooms: May-June
Color: Yellow

Yellow Iris  escaped from the ornamental garden trade. It is very aggressive and can quickly push out native wetlands species. It has large yellow flowers about 3 inches across with three large sepals and 3 smaller petals pointing upwards. The larger petals have a pattern of darker colored veins as well. Their leaves are long and shaped like swords, much like the native Blue Flag Irish (which can make identification difficult without flowers). Maintenance options include removing flowers to prevent seeding, digging plants up, or water-safe herbicide treatments. Native plant alternatives include Blue Flag Iris or Sweet Flag.
Insect of the Month
Long Horned Bees
Photo by Heather Holm
Melissodes spp.
Range: Southern Canada down to South America
Habitat: Prairies and open fields. Ground nesters
Adult Identification: Only the males have long antennae, while the females have long hairs on their legs to store pollen. They are small to medium sized ground nesting bees with hairy pale abdomens. 

Pollination: Adults feed on nectar and pollen from Anise Hyssop, Prairie Coreopsis, Aster species, and many more. 
May 2016 Issue
Our Company
Retail Nursery News
Our retail nursery is re-opening f or the 2016 season! Check out sale dates below. Want to place a plant order? Contact Jill at

Our retail nursery will be open 10am-4pm on the below dates:

May 19th
May 26th-28th
June 2nd
June 9th-11th 
June 16th
June 23rd-25th
June 30th
July 8th-9th
August 12th-13th

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