Plant this not that

Spring is around the corner and that means it is time to think about what to plant. Ornamental plants are not native to MN and therefor do not provide as quality of a food source to pollinators or wildlife. Some ornamentals have started to spread to natural areas where they can cause ecological harm. Amur maple, Norway maple and Winged burning bush have been common landscaping plants but their spread into natural areas has been detected. That invasive behavior landed them on the MN Noxious Weed List as Specially Regulated Plants. There are many native plants to choose from that are suitable for landscaping. See the Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes Collaborative website's Landscape Alternatives for native plant ideas. Blue Thumbs Plant Finder is a great tool to determine the best native plants for your site conditions. Many MN natives are available at local plant nurseries.

Avoid

Choose Instead

Amur Maple

Mountain maple, pagoda dogwood, high bush cranberry, fireberry hawthorn

Norway Maple

Red maple, sugar maple, hackberry, basswood

Winged Burning Bush

Leatherwood, pagoda dogwood, nannyberry, wolfberry

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It’s time to start native seeds for your pollinator garden!

There is so much magic and joy in starting wildflowers from seeds. This is a good time to start that process for many native plants so that they are ready in the spring. Many native plants' seed stays dormant until there are good conditions in the wild. As a gardener, you can create these conditions to break dormancy for seed germination. Many native seeds need cold moist stratification to germinate. This can be done outdoors if seed is planted in the fall and overwintered. If you want to start them indoors in containers then pre-treatment stratification is needed. Stratify by placing seeds in a damp paper towel, coffee filter, or sand and into a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator (33-40 °F). Native plant's seeds range from needing 10 to 120 days of cold stratification. Once seeds have been stratified for the number of recommended days, plant seeds in a soil medium. Keep soil moist until seeds sprout and send up their first leaves. Water as needed and allow the soil to begin to dry out between watering. The magic continues as plants continue to grow!

Learn more about individual native plant seed pre-treatment and germination strategies in the Prairie Moon Nursery 2022 Cultural Guide and Germination Guide and the Tallgrass Prairie Center's Native Seed Production Manual.

If you aren't ready to start a new seed starting hobby, this is also a good time to start designing and planning a pollinator garden. Many local plant vendors have their plant catalogues ready for you to view. Be sure that plants you purchase are free of neonicotinoids, which are very toxic to pollinators.

See BWSR's Lawns to Legumes page for garden design templates and list of local native plant vendors. 

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Protect Minnesota’s waters – Use salt wisely

A 12-ounce coffee cup of salt is enough to cover 10 sidewalk squares or a 20-foot driveway.

http://www.cleanwatermn.org/wp-content/uploads/Salt-Tipcard-v3.pdf

Here is a repost of Washington County's Hold the Salt you tube video: https://youtu.be/Io-zTw5Yb6g


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Melanie Kern, an Outstanding Conservationist in Anoka County, passed away October 21st but left behind a Legacy

Melanie grew up playing outside and formed a love and respect for nature. She told me a story of when she was a little girl. She was walking around her grandparent's property and heard a shrill bark that stopped her in her tracks. She then took another step and there was another bark. Then she noticed a mamma raccoon with babies and understood that the raccoon was politely giving her a warning. She calmly turned around and went another way. She had many other stories of being outdoors with her family. I suppose those times and stories are what planted the seeds for Melanie's love and respect for nature.

Later in life, Melanie moved to Nowthen in northern Anoka County into a beautiful home surrounded by mature trees. When the cornfield south of that property went up for sale, she purchased it. She tells the story that she crazily spent her retirement savings on a cornfield. However, she had a vision and insight to create habitat for all wild creatures and open land to capture and store water. In 2003, Anoka Conservation District staff helped Melanie implement that vision by establishing a Conservation Easement and turning the cornfield into a diverse natural landscape with wetland, prairie, savanna, and woodland habitats with funds from USDA and MN DNR conservation programs. Melanie founded the Kern Heritage Center in 2012 so that they Board of Trustees could preserve the space. The property is now home to a diversity of native plants, bumblebees, butterflies, birds and many more creatures… thanks to Melanie Kern.

Anoka Conservation District is grateful for Melanie's land ethic and our relationship we had with her over the years. Melanie, you will be missed!

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Collaborations are Critical to controlling Invasive Phragmites australis throughout Minnesota

Non-native Phragmites is a highly invasive plant that can invade wetlands and shorelines, outcompete native vegetation, and degrade wildlife habitat. Fortunately, most of the infestations in Minnesota are small and there is hope that the invasive grass can be controlled.

Coon Creek Watershed District and ACD staff first detected non-native Phragmites in Anoka County in 2018 along the Ham Lake shoreline. The 2,500 square foot stand was herbicide treated in fall 2018 and mowed in January 2019. No Phragmites was found at the Ham Lake site in 2019 and 2020. One sprout of Phragmites was found in 2021 and dug up.

Additional non-native Phragmites infestations have been found and verified by UMN in Anoka County. The treatment success at Ham Lake inspired staff to continue additional efforts to control non-native Phragmites. In 2019, the Anoka County AIS Prevention grant paid for treatment of 14 additional Phragmites sites that were detected in the 2019 growing season.

The MN Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed grant provided funds for the Metro Counties to collaborate and treat over 80 sites in 2020 and 2021. The University of MN, MN DNR, and MN DOT are also tracking and treating additional sites throughout the state. Sites will continue to be monitored to determine treatment needs.

Photo below shows a stand of Phragmites at a site in Anoka County being monitored in 2020. Follow up treatment occurred in September 2021.

Find more information and distribution maps can be found at the links below:

https://www.eddmaps.org/distribution/viewmap.cfm?sub=59038

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquaticplants/phragmites/index.html

https://maisrc.umn.edu/phragmites

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