Why go Native? Books are written on this subject, but will we give you the main reasons right here. Our native wildlife – like songbirds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, fish, amphibians, and even furry critters – rely on native plants for food and shelter. Protecting MN native plants, even in small patches, on your property provides critical habitat. Frankly, without native plants, our ecological systems would simply collapse. Native plants also stabilize soils, increase water infiltration, and filter our water and air. Our Minnesota native plants are in sync with our climate and may be more resilient to climate change. From a landscaping perspective, they are easy to grow, do not require watering once established, and do not need fertilizers or pesticides to thrive. We can go on and on, but by now, you get the idea. How Protecting Native Plants Helps 1. Native plants look good, providing a wide variety of colors and textures throughout the year.2. Plants compose the foundation of our natural systems. Animals in our Minnesota ecosystem have evolved to rely on native plants for food and shelter.3. We use a host of native plants to stabilize shores and combat erosion.4. Because these plants have adapted to Minnesota’s environmental conditions, they are disease resistant and drought tolerant.5. Periodic watering and fertilizers are not necessary once native plants have become established. MN Native Plant Brand Assures plant species are native to Minnesota, based on MNDNR plant community lists. Plants are propagated from local seed sources. Plants are free of Neonicotinoids. All plant material is healthy, robust and grown in local greenhouses. Culture and Care Here are some basic guidelines to help you with protecting the MN native plants you establish on your particular site. (Please note that wetland and aquatic plantings can become quite technical. Feel free to consult with our professionals when dealing with large aquatic plantings.) Site Selection Light – If a plant species is listed for full sun, it needs to have at least 8 hours of sunlight. Native plants listed as full sun to partial sun can tolerate shade in the morning but need sunlight in the afternoon. If a species is listed as full shade, it can handle shady sites but does better with dappled or filtered light. If a plant is listed as full shade to partial sun, it can tolerate morning sun but requires shade in the afternoon. Afternoon sun is more intense than morning sun.Moisture – A plant requiring moist soils means that moisture is retained for several days, with water slowing draining from the soil. If a species is listed as wet, it means that the root system is adapted to saturated soils and standing water. If a plant is listed as dry it means the soil is well-drained and it can tolerate extended periods with little to no moisture. Site Preparation Prior to planting, it’s worthwhile to take a few minutes and assess your planting area. It is important that you prepare your area by clearing all weeds and loosen up compacted soils. A mulch layer holds moisture in and keeps weeds down. If you are planting into turf grass, one method that works well is to kill the grass by smothering. Lay out several layers of newspaper on the grass area, and then cover with shredded hardwood mulch – about 3 inches. After waiting a couple of weeks, go ahead and plant though the dead turf and mulch. If you have sandy, poor soils, consider planting short grass prairie species and do not improve soil with compost and organic matter. Simply match your soil type with appropriate native plant species. Planting and Caring After completing site preparation, lay out plants by following your restoration or garden design. For perennial gardens, we typically space plants 1.5’ apart. Take out plants from containers and loosen roots. Dig holes and plant plugs so that the top of the plugs are level with the soil surface. Typically, there is no need to fertilize your newly installed prairie plants. As a general rule, the planting area should receive 1” of water per week throughout the first growing season. Plants should not need supplemental watering after the first year. It is important to periodically monitor your planting area and control invasive weed species. Over time, your planting area will fill in and weeding frequency will diminish. If you don’t have time to weed, we offer a variety of maintenance programs to suite your needs.