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This Spring Consider Planting Native Plants

by John Anderson,
Regional Manager - West Metro

Since we are currently in the grips of a Minnesota winter, with major snow storms and polar vortexes all around us, now might be a good time to distract ourselves by starting to think about spring.

And with spring comes planting and gardening for countless folks all over the state. If you’re someone who plants or gardens, one idea I’d urge you to consider is planting species native to Minnesota in your garden, lawn, or window box this coming spring.

Why “go native” when it comes to your garden or lawn? Well to begin with, native plants have a number of advantages when it comes to surviving here in Minnesota, and they can help conserve the natural environment too!

Plants native to Minnesota are naturally adapted to live in our climate (polar vortexes and all) and soil and thus often require less maintenance in the form of mulching, watering, or cutting than plant species that originate from outside of our state. So if you’re interested in a less labor-intensive approach to your garden or lawn they are a great way to go.

Likewise, native plants often have carryover benefits for the broader ecosystem by providing things like nectar, pollen, and seeds for native pollinators and other wildlife. Moreover, they often require minimal, if any, chemical pest controls.

In addition, native grasses and wildflowers tend to have a deep root structure which can help prevent erosion and makes them require less, if any, watering. Likewise these root structures can act as a natural “carbon sink” and pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Native grasses help reduce water runoff and the pollution associated with it, not unlike a small “buffer strip” for your yard.

“Going native” when it comes to planting usually takes some time and effort, but the benefits are very real, and can lead to a beautiful and often unique form of landscaping in your neighborhood. If you are interested in learning more about this check out the DNR’s online resources or look up your local chapter of Wild Ones in Minnesota, a group that works on these issues, to learn more.

Or you can contact me at johna@conservationminnesota.org or 612 767 1571. I’ve met tons of people already engaged in this work throughout the west metro area who would love to connect with you.