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October Article
Invasive Shrubs and Native Alternatives

Fall is a great time of year to spot invasive shrubs on your property. Some species stay greener longer into the fall than our native trees and shrubs, which really helps to make them stand out.  Others exhibit flashy fall colors that are very hard to miss. Here is a list of a few invasive shrubs and trees you should consider replacing with natives that look terrific and will provide valuable habitat for wildlife.

Invasive Species:


1.       Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)- This invasive maple from Asia can get to be 20 feet tall and is very prolific, out competing native species. It has small, arrow shaped maple leaves that turn brilliant shades of orange and red in the fall. It was introduced as an ornamental for its bright fall colors but has escaped into wild areas.


2.       Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)- An invasive species from Europe, this shrub can grow up to 30 feet. It has dark green leaves with small teeth and pointy spikes on its branches. The female plants have black berries that are easily spread by birds. This species holds onto its leaves late into fall.

3.       Glossy Buckthorn (Frangula alnus)- Another invasive shrub from Europe, this species has a similar growth from to the Common buckthorn but it has glossy leaves and white dots on its bark called lenticels. It does not have thorns like the Common buckthorn but does have red berries that turn black as they ripen.


4.       Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)- Is a species from Europe and Asia that starts off looking shrub-like but can grow as tall as 35 feet. They have leaves that are minty green on the top side and white underneath and have small yellow flowers. They also have branches with sharp thorns that can be up to 2 inches long! This species can move aggressively through landscapes. It is often spotted along roadsides.


5.       Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)- This invasive honeysuckle can be very aggressive, especially in rich woodlands. It can grow to 10 feet tall and has light grey bark that looks like it is peeling off. The leaves are blue-green and often bud out early in the spring. It has attractive pink and red flowers that form into red berries.  Birds consume the berries and sometimes deposit seed from the air (watch out overhead!).


In order to create high quality habitat on your property, these invasive species should be removed. Not only do they pose a risk to your property, plants with berries can become local sources of infestations.  So how do you get started? Small shrubs can be removed manually by pulling them out by hand or with a root pulling tool. Large shrubs can be cut close to the ground and then treated with an herbicide to prevent re-sprouting.


Native Shrub Alternatives:


1.       Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)- This shrub grows 3-8 feet tall with stunning red bark that stands out beautifully during the winter months. It has white flowers from May-August and then provides birds with berries during the fall and winter months. This species provides excellent wildlife habitat.

2.       High Bush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)- This shrub grows to 12 feet tall and has pretty grey bark and white flowers in May. In August they form edible red berries that birds enjoy through the winter!



3.       Bush Honeysuckle  (Diervilla lonicera)- This is a shorter growing shrub, reaching 1-3 feet tall, with stunning yellow flowers. It blooms from June-July and has attractive dark green leaves that turn into beautiful yellow and red fall colors.


4.       Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)- This native perennial shrub grows to 4-8 feet and has small white flowers in the spring and small black cherries in the fall. The green leaves also turn a gorgeous red color in the fall!


5.       False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)- False indigo is a smaller shrub that likes wet conditions near shorelines. It grows between 3-12 feet tall depending on site conditions and has wonderful purple spikes of flowers. It is great habitat along shorelines and helps to prevents erosion.

These are just a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.  Please consider your local site conditions when choosing the most appropriate shrub species for your property.  Need help removing invasive plants or putting together a planting plan? Please give us a call to talk to one of our friendly restoration professionals.

Company News
Natural Shore Has Moved!

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

Interested in Native Plants? Contact our Greenhouse Manager Jill at
Native Plant of the Month
Bottle Gentian     
Gentiana andrewsii     

Moisture: Moist or Dry
Exposure: Sun or Partial Shade
Color: Blue
Blooms: August-October
Height: 1-2 Feet

Bottle Gentian is a showy, slow-growing, late-season blooming perennial native with beautiful flowers that can be found in many different shades of blue and purple.  Their lance-shaped, hairless leaves have a glossy sheen.  The flowers are in clusters at the terminal end of stems above whorled leaves or in axils of upper leaves.  The flower petals are fused into a bottle shape resembling an unopened flower bud.  Even upon maturity the flowers never open.  The fused petals give the flowers a crinkled, pleated appearance.  Thrives in full sun or part sun in moist to wet soil.  Found in low prairies, near streams and ponds, wet meadows, and woodland openings. Pollination by bumblebees and other large bees that can force their way into the "closed" flowers through the small openings.  The roots were used by Native Americans for medicine and to flavor beverages.  Another common name is prairie closed gentian.
Invasive Plant of the Month
Amur Maple
Acer ginnala

Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade
Moisture: Dry
Height: 15-20 Feet

Amur Maple is a small tree or large shrub that was brought in and escaped from the ornamental trade. It is a very showy fall shrub with brilliant orange and red colors but can be highly invasive and crowd out native species. Their
 leaves are longer than they are wide with three lobes, making them look like arrow heads. They are oriented opposite on the stem and have teeth.

Maintenance strategies include hand-pulling small saplings or cutting and treating larger stumps with herbicide. 

Native plant alternatives include Red Twig Dogwood and Highbush Cranberry!
Pollinator of the Month
Honey Bee
Apis mellifera

Honey bees are not native to the United States but they still help pollinate our native plants. This time of year beekeepers collect honey made from their busy hives and since we are grateful for the honey they provide us, we are making Honey bees pollinator of the month!

Range :Widespread throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America
Habitat : Bee houses, tree cavities, tree branches  
Identification : These are medium sized bees with some hair on its face and thorax. They are yellow with black stripes on their abdomen. 
Pollination : Honey Bees can fly up to two miles to visit many different species of native plants for pollen to make honey! Just a few example are Blue Flag Iris, Sneezeweed, Sky Blue Aster, Purple Prairie Clover, Anise Hyssop, Bergamot, Ironweed, Prairie Coreopsis, and many others!
October 2016 Issue
Our Company
Retail Nursery News
Our retail nursery is open f or the 2016 season! Want to place a plant order? Contact Jill at

Click and visit our website for current
Minnnesota Native Plant Brand ensures that plant species are native to Minnesota. 
5 Plants For...
Seed for Birds!

Fall is an important time for migrating birds. They can fly hundreds of miles to get to their winter homes and they are going to need enough food to do it! They often feed on seeds of native plants. Which plants can you add to your restoration to provide seed for these hungry avians?

1. Grey Headed Coneflower
  Ratibida pinnata

Wet or Moist, Sun or Partial Shade, Yellow, 3-5 ft.

2. Bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Moist or dry, Sun or Partial Shade, Lavender, 2-3.5 ft.

3. Pale Purple Coneflower
Echinacea pallida

Moist or dry, Sun or Partial Shade, Lavender, 2-4 ft. 

4. Sweet Flag 
Acorus calamus

Wet, Full Sun, Green, 2-6 ft. 

5. Sneezeweed
Helenium autumnale

Wet or Moist, Sun or Partial Shade, Yellow, 2-5 ft.