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Pasque Flower Means Spring to Us

I will know that Old Man Winter is gone when I see this early bloomer right outside our main office door at Prairie Restorations, Inc. The Pasque flower (Anemone patens) is one of my favorites. Perhaps because I know that warmer temperatures and an abundance of blooms are right around the corner. Let’s all hope that this weekend’s storm will truly be winter’s last hurrah and soon we will all be enjoying our overdue spring! Cathy Wiitala Administrative Assistant Princeton ...

Timber Stand Improvement (TSI)

Timber stand improvement is a forest management practice designed to improve the quality of a woodland. One aspect of TSI is an approach called release cutting. Release cutting involves thinning or “culling” less desirable trees to release “reserve” trees. Release cutting is typically a very cost effective method, in that the culled trees can be cut and then left on site to naturally decompose. One project we’re working on, the reserve trees include spruce, white pine, bur oak and red pine. ...

Native Grasses & Pollinators

When you think of the relationship between pollinators and native plants you usually think about wildflowers. First, you probably picture a tall, fragrant, flowering common milkweed with monarch caterpillars munching away at the foliage. Maybe you think of a busy bee buzzing back and forth between a stand of fragrant giant hyssop? Do you ever picture native grasses? If not, it might interest you to know that native grasses are just as important to pollinators as wildflowers are! Native grasses provide benefits like food and shelter to a multitude of butterfly and...

Not As Famous, But Still Problematic

While the calendar may say it’s April, Mother Nature decided that in Minnesota, it still feels like January! What better time to discuss a lesser known but still problematic issue of our beautiful woods, non-native honeysuckles. While there are many common names for Eurasian species of honeysuckles, Bell’s, Morrow’s, Tartarian, and Amur honeysuckles are MDA restricted noxious weeds here in Minnesota. They differ from our native bush honeysuckle, Diervilla lonicera, by having an egg shaped leaf that comes to a point,...

New Location, New To Me

Before starting at the Prairie Restoration’s Lewiston office, I had never spent much time in Southeastern Minnesota. In my short time here I have found there is so much to explore in what is called the Coulee region. The views from Great River Bluffs State Park give a panoramic view of the Mississippi and Black River valleys. The region is crisscrossed by rivers and creeks that, over the ages, have carved lazy paths into the landscape. As the Mississippi...

Paradigm Shift, Compliments of the Monarch

Growing up on a small farm in west central Minnesota, summer meant a couple of different things. There was probably hay to put up and Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) to pull. Back then, milkweed was a weed if you didn’t control it. This plant spread by rhizomes and that white floss that helps transport the seed would plug up tractor radiators and tickle the operator’s nose. The expansion of modern monoculture agriculture and chemicals have decimated the milkweed population. Milkweed attracts all kinds of insect pollinators including various...

Good News for Pollinators: Increasing Native Habitat

Editor’s note:  Frequent media coverage on the critical state of pollinator populations – including butterflies and bees – has brought the importance of restoring native pollinator habitat to the attention of the public. And thankfully there has been a great response.  We talked recently with PRI’s Mike Evenocheck to get an update on what’s happening.   Interviewer:  Mike, can we talk a bit about pollinator habitat, especially for butterflies and bees?  I know this field is an extremely important one in terms of native landscape restoration....

July Means Collecting Seeds and Nuts for Native Trees & Shrubs

The month of July begins a transition time for our Boreal Natives’ tree and shrub production crew, as we start the process of wrapping up our planting of seedlings and plugs that we look forward to selling in the years ahead, to the collection of seeds and nuts that we will process into the transplants of the future. In the coming weeks we will concentrate on Amelanchier species (commonly referred to as Juneberries or serviceberries), Vaccinium species (lowbush blueberries), Cornus species (dogwoods), Prunus species (pin cherry, chokecherry, and sand cherry), and Symphoricarpus...

Early Summer Wildlife Encounters

Many of us here at Prairie Restorations know that early summer does not only mean the arrival of spring-time forbs and cool-season grasses. It also means the arrival of nesting waterfowl birds, upland game birds, and also the birth of many different species of animals. In the early part of June many different species of waterfowl take full advantage of our native prairies. From birds as small as the Blue-Winged Teal to birds as large as the Canadian Goose, they...

Where Do All of Those Seed Packets Come From?

Just like we are all used to reading labels on where our food comes from, if you see a seed packet without labeling, then be skeptical if it is ecologically appropriate for you. Upper Midwest residents reading this can see here a label with ecologically appropriate seed (within reason given light and soil moisture conditions).However, if you are reading this from Texas, California, or Maryland then this seed is not for you. For...