Site Preparation: Setting Your Restoration Up for Success
Preparing a project site for planting or seeding is the most important and sometimes the most challenging component in achieving successful ecological restorations. Site conditions and restoration goals factor into the preparation methods that we employ. Our overall goals are to substantially reduce weed competition, repair areas impacted by erosion, and stabilize sites during vegetation establishment. Site preparation could take between two weeks and up to a full growing season. 

Here's our Installation Manager Spencer Carlson in action, using our tractor to mow a site for seeding!
Host Plant Highlight
90% of plant-eating insects use native plants to grow and survive. Without their native host plants, many butterflies and other insects cannot survive. Birds and other wildlife use caterpillars and other insects to feed their young. Over the last few years, we have seen major declines in both insect and bird populations due to a variety of factors, especially habitat loss and fragmentation. Rebuilding habitat with native plants is crucial in providing food for caterpillars, which in turn provide food for baby birds; making native plants the foundation of our food webs.
Oak trees (Quercus spp.)
# of Larval species- over 500!

Oak trees serve as host plants for over 500 species of larval insects! This number changes frequently as researchers discover even more insect and oak tree host interactions. These large deciduous trees provide an abundance of resources to all wildlife all year long. Grosbeaks eat the flowers, woodpeckers seek insects within the bark, orioles search for caterpillars on the leaves, and blue jays collect and cache acorns. Oak trees support so many caterpillars, including those of the red spotted butterfly and eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly. Minnesota has seven native species of oak trees. To learn more about how important Oak trees are as host plants read Doug Tallamy's new book, The Nature of Oaks, and then join us to discuss it on December 15th at Boom Island Brewery! (Details below)
Northern Pin Oak
(Quercus ellipsoidalis)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
(Papilio glaucus)
Red Oak
(Quercus rubra)
Red Spotted Purple Butterfly
(Limenitis arthemis)
Retail Nursery:
Our Retail Nursery is Closed

Thank you for visiting us this season! You made it another wonderful season of growing plants and putting them on the landscape. Please visit us next season for more pesticide-free Minnesota Native Plants!

For more information visit:
Non-native Species of the Month- Alsike Clover
(Trifolium hybridum)

Alsike Clover is a weedy perennial from Eurasia that has been widely cultivated as a forage crop and has escaped into unwanted areas. This plant is 1-2 feet tall, has pink-white flowers on a round head, and leaves are 3-parted. Multiple stems arise from the base of the plant. It is easy to distinguish from other clovers by its lack of a chevron pattern on the leaves. Alsike Clover prefers disturbed soil; found in fields, waste areas, and roadsides. Although this plant does not pose a threat to native plant communities and has been incorporated into Lawns to Legumes projects, control includes hand pulling and preventing seed formation. 
Native Plant of the Month-
Heath Aster
(Symphyotrichum ericoides)

Heath Aster has a low bushy habit and numerous small white flowers and grows in colonies from rhizomes. These rhizomes can help prevent soil erosion. Leaves are narrow and linear, resembling leaves of heaths; thus, the specific name "ericoides". Stems are hairy. A good distinguishing characteristic is the bracts below the flowers have a blunt point and flare out from the base. Found in open rocky woods, prairies, along roadsides and railroads. Heath Aster is mildew and deer resistant, as well as attractive to bees and butterflies. 

We love to read books about our natural world, and want to share our favorites with you! On the last Wednesday of each month we will feature a book discussion and review on our Facebook Page. and YouTube Channel
Here are next three!
Watch us discuss September's book Wild and Rare: Tracking Endangered Species in the Upper Midwest by Adam Arvidson
Photo by Peter M. Dzuik 2006
Forager Fix

Autumn Olive
(Elaeagnus umbellata)

This is a dense, sprawling shrub originally from Asia and introduced to the US for erosion control and wildlife food. It is currently only found in a few central counties in the state, but is spreading, mostly by birds who eat its fruits, to the detriment of our native plant communities. Fortunately, its abundant Fall berries are also edible and tasty to us humans. We can help prevent the spread by gorging our bellies with its delicious bright red fruits! Ideas for using these berries in your kitchen include jams, porridges, and simply eating whole. Make sure that plants have not been treated with herbicide, and help our state by reporting where you found these shrubs to EDDMapS Midwest.

Looking Back at a September Prairie
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