Natural Shore Technologies |  612-703-7581 
May Article
What's Happening Under your Native Plants?

What do you think of when someone brings up the topic of a native plant restoration? What often comes to mind are typically thoughts of gorgeous flowers blooming in a wide array of colors; abundant quantities of pollinators fluttering around the blooms, a hawk cruising by looking for the chance to swoop down and grab a furry prey item, or lush beautifully textured native grasses that sway in the summer winds.

However, seldom do we take time to think about the "dirt"
 (don't use this word in front of a soil scientist), the soil, the substrate, the earth that the plants bury their roots into. Native restorations, especially prairie restorations, do wonders in creating healthy and fertile soils that teem with microbial life.

Native plants supply organic matter to the soil, which is essentially plant parts in various forms of decomposition - either leaf material or root tissue that is sloughed off. Plants add a host of nutrients like carbon and nitrogen that start building rich soil with great soil structure. This soil structure prevents nutrient and water runoff, controls erosion, and helps to improve our surrounding water bodies by stopping harmful pollutants from entering our beloved lakes and river systems.

This building of organic matter over the years will support a wide variety of micro-organisms that call your restoration soils home. These beneficial microscopic soil organisms will start to appear and help to repair and improve the soils along with the plants. Organisms such as fungi, beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae will start creating a mutually beneficial relationship with your native plants. They will help aerate the soil and break down organic material for plant use and actually help to ward off plant diseases.  

The natural processes that are at work under your restoration are similar to what is happening in your garden compost pile. A gardener will often add layers of material such as twigs, straw, leaves and green manures like grass clippings and clover, along with kitchen scraps to fuel the decomposition fire. Similarly, your native plants from season to season create organic material and start to naturally layer this material in your landscape. This material slowly decomposes, like what happens in your compost pile. The decomposition process is not as fast as your compost pile, but over several years, will start creating the very same product in the end: Healthy and Rich Soils!!!

So next time you are enjoying your restoration take some
 time to examine a handful of your landscape's precious soil and witness the array of life that it supports. It can be a slow process, taking years to repair and generate healthy soils. But in the long run, your restoration and your native plants will thrive - producing even more beautiful colors and essential pollinator and wildlife habitat.

Don't have a restoration? We can help in every step of the process from designing and installing to maintaining your new beautiful landscape. Just give us a call we would love to answer any questions you may have.  
Native Plant of the Month
Blue Flag Iris
Iris versicolor

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

Blue flag iris can be a robust shoreline plant that helps prevent erosion. They produce large clumps of showy flowers from thick, fleshy rhizomes growing in shallow water or saturated soil conditions.  Their leaves look sword-like while their flowers are light to blue-violet with yellow and white markings on the falls (petal-like sepals).  This plant thrives in sun or part sun in rich, moist soil.  Often found in swamps, meadows, shores, marshes, streambanks, and edges of ponds, their flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  Their 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.
Invasive Plant of the Month
Yellow Iris
(Iris pseudacorus)

Moisture: Wet 
Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade
Color: Yellow
Blooms: May- June
Height: 1-4 Feet

Yellow iris is originally from Eurasia and is an escaped ornamental. It forms dense stands along lake and river shorelines, out-competing native plant species. It is bright yellow and looks exactly like other garden irises, but can live directly in the water. They have long green leaves that branch out from the base. This iris spreads by both seed and rhizomes. Management strategies include digging out the plants, removing seed heads, and water safe herbicide treatments. Established stands can take multiple years to control.

Native plant alternatives include  Blue Flag Iris and Sweetflag!
Pollinator of the Month
Brown Belted bee
Bombus griseocollis

Range : Throughout the United States except the South Western desert area.,
Habitat : fields, gardens, open areas
Identification : This ground nesting bee is less than an inch long with big black eyes and dark wings. Their thorax is yellow with a black spot in the middle of the wings. The abdomen is mostly black except for a small brown "belt" of color in the middle segment. 
Pollination :  This bumble bee likes many flowering native plants including swamp milkweed, common milkweed, butterfly milkweed, goldenrod species, bergamot, purple coneflower, and many more!

May 2018 Issue
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Retail Nursery News
Our retail nursery is open!

Wed. May 23rd-Sat. May 26th

Wed. May 40- Sat. June 2nd


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. 
5 Plants For...
Adding Fragrance!

Time to stop and smell the ro-, no! The native flowers! Plant these in your restoration if you want a whiff of the good stuff!

1. Anise Hyssop
(Agastache foeniculum)

2. Mountain Mint 
( Pycnanthemum virginianum)

Bergamot in Bloom Natural Shore Technologies
 3. Bergamot
( Monarda fistulosa)

4. Horsemint
( Monarda punctata)

5. Aromatic Aster
( Symphyotrichum oblongifolium)

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

Mystery Plant of the Month!
Test your plant ID skills!

Here is a Minnesota Native woodland plant that blooms in the spring. Small bees love visiting this for food! Can you guess what it is?
Need another clue?
Here is a closer look at its deeply lobed leaves!

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