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September Article

The Benefits of Natural Shores around Neighborhood Ponds


Ponds come in many shapes and sizes, and can serve numerous functions.  In urban areas, most ponds hold back stormwater to prevent flooding and also trap nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants.  Unfortunately, it's common to find invasive weeds like narrow-leaf cattail, reed canary grass, and Canada  thistle along pond shore areas. 


Sometimes turf grass is used to manicure pond shores.  During extended rainy periods, like this spring, the turf gets smothered by the high water and eventually dies.  This often leads to erosion and bank slumping.   On top of this, huge flocks of Canada geese consider turf shorelines prime habitat.  And muskrat can easily tunnel in turf pond shores, which leads to cave-ins and more erosion.

People often hear about shore restoration on Minnesota's numerous lakes, but sometimes overlook the idea of introducing native plant communities around neighborhood ponds.  Your pond can be surrounded by brilliant colors and amazing textures throughout the year.

Weeds and turf can be replaced by a solid natural shore that can tolerate flooding and muskrat activity. A natural buffer around your pond can help stop excess nutrients and other pollutants from entering the water, helping to improve pond water quality.


Geese think "predator" when they see a natural buffer,

 and prefer low growing turf along the water.  Song birds will stop by and munch on the native plant seed heads.  Bees and butterflies will zoom in and out of the wildflowers, looking for that preferred plant species.  There is a huge pallet of native plants with different heights, colors, and bloom periods.  You can keep it simple or go for maximum biodiversity.

Here are a few key plants that do great around ponds and provide all of the benefits mentioned above:

  1. Blue Flag Iris- A native iris to Minnesota that does well in full or partial sun, grows 1.5-3 feet and blooms from June to July.
  2. Swamp Milkweed- A very popular plant for monarch butterflies, it has a pink flower that blooms from June to August. It grows in full sun and can be 3-4 feet tall.
  3. Prairie Cordgrass- An interesting looking grass common in many shoreline restorations, it grows in full or partial sun and can be 3-6 feet tall.
  4.  Blue Lobelia- An attractive blue flowered plant that grows 1-3 feet tall, grows in full or partial sun, and blooms from July to September. 
  5. Joe Pye Weed- Has pink flowers that bloom from July to September. It does well in full or partial sun and grows 3-6 feet tall.
September Retail Nursery Plant Sale!
Come to our September Plant Sale!
25% Off All Plants!

September 26-27th
5300 Hwy 12, Maple Plain
Native Plant of the Month
Zig Zag Goldenrod
Solidago flexicaulis

Moisture: Moist
Exposure: Partial Sun or Shade
Bloom: August- September
Color: Yellow
Height: 1-3 ft.

Easily grown perennial that's a late season bloomer from late summer to early fall.  Stems have a distinctive zigzag appearance with a crooked look going from leaf to leaf.  Leaves broadly ovate and coarsely toothed. Spreads by rhizomes. Many clusters of small yellow flowers are produced at the terminal and from leaf axils of the flower stalks.  Grows best in light to medium shade in moist to dry-mesic. Tolerates full shade and dry soils.  Unlike most goldenrods, this species is shade tolerant.  Found in woods, clearings, and edges of woods.  Flowers attractive to bees and butterflies.  Pollination by a variety of insects.  Another common name is broad-leaved goldenrod.

Invasive Plant of the Month

Japanese Knotweed

Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. & Zucc.


Exposure: Full Sun/ Partial Shade

Moisture: Moist

Height: 5-8 feet

Blooms: August-October


Japanese Knotweed is an early detection Noxious weed according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This means that while populations of this plant are found in Minnesota there is still time to control it before it becomes a more widespread problem. It is a perennial plant from Asia that escaped from gardens. It has hallow bamboo-like stems. Leaves are 2-7 inches long, alternate, and simple. The primary mode of movement for Japanese knotweed is through stem fragmentation. This is a reproductive characteristic which makes it especially difficult to eradicate for land managers, as digging up or cutting individual plants will often result in more seedlings sprouting.  In most cases, a stand of Japanese knotweed will need a 4-5 year management plan consisting of herbicide, prescribed burns, and mowing for complete eradication. 

Pollinator of the Month

Grass Carrying Wasp

Isodontia sp.


Range: Most of the U.S.

Habitat: Open areas like fields

Identification: A medium sized wasp with a black body and dark brown wings. It has a very thin waist. This is a predatory wasp that hunts katydids and crickets. It paralyzes its victim and takes it back to its nest where it is stored to feed their young. The Grass Carrying Wasp gets its name from sectioning off and closing up its nest with blades of grass.  It is a solitary wasp that is not aggressive towards humans. 

Pollination: Rattlesnake Master, Boneset, Virginia Mountain Mint, Butterfly Milkweed, and other native plants. 

September 2014 Issue
Our Company
Retail Nursery News
Our Retail Nursery come to our Fall 25% off sale! Details above!

Click and visit our website for current
Minnnesota Native Plant Brand ensures that plant species are native to Minnesota. 
Garden Tours
Natural Shore is now hosting FREE field trips for Garden Clubs with 10 or more members. Come join our Native Plant Specialist Shirley Mah Kooyman for a 1 hour lecture and tour of our retail nursery in Maple Plain! Your club will get an up close experience learning more about Minnesota Natives! 

Choose from one of the following lectures:

  1. Minnesota's Native Plants: A Sampling for Your Garden
  2. Landscaping with Native Plants
  3. Top 30 Native Plants for your Garden

Call or email Shirley for more information at 763-464-8323 or at

Free Swamp Milkweed!
One free Swamp Milkweed plant with any purchase!
5300 Hwy 12, Maple Plain MN, 55359
Offer Expires 10/1/2014. Available at our retail nursery only. Present coupon at time of purchase. Cannot be combined with other offers. Limit one per customer. Natural Shore Technologies, 2014 5300 Hwy 12, Maple Plain.