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- Native Ecosystem Restoration
Native Ecosystem Restoration
The City of Mendota heights is committed to conserving and restoring its native plant communities and green spaces on public property, and encourages homeowners and private landowners to implement sustainable landscape practices on private property as well. Sustainable landscape practices provide benefits such as aesthetic enhancement, pollinator and wildlife habitat, habitat and greenspace connectivity to other public and private green spaces and corridors, reduction in mowing, maintenance, and pesticide and herbicide use, stormwater treatment, and improved surface water quality in our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands.
There are several invasive, or non-native, plants present in Mendota Heights. Creating or maintaining a sustainable landscape may mean invasive species control or removal as well. If you believe you have an invasive plant or tree on your property, you may contact City Staff (contact information below) for help in positively identifying invasive species when needed. See the Invasive Species Page for common invasive plant and tree species in Mendota Heights and methods for prevention and control.
What is a sustainable landscape? Sustainable lawns and landscapes use principles and practices that reduce high-maintenance yard care and provide means to protect and enhance our natural resources, such as using less potable water, fertilizers, and pesticides. Sustainable landscaping still requires care and maintenance, but usually takes less time and costs much less as well.
When planning your sustainable lawn and landscape, consider the following:
- Assess your current conditions, including: sun exposure throughout the day, soil content, moisture, utility and easement locations, areas of public Right-of-Way, and existing irrigation systems.
- How you use your space. For example: areas that need screening, high-traffic or play areas, views that you would like to preserve, or areas that could provide wildlife enhancement, as well as viewing.
- Use Right Plant, Right Place practices, such as considering the right light, soil, and moisture conditions when choosing where to place trees, shrubs, and plants.
- Convert areas of unused turf to low-maintenance vegetation, such as perrenial ground-covers, native grasses and flowers, clusters of native trees and shrubs, or no-mow lawn.
- Look for areas that could be used to capture and infiltrate stormwater runoff. Consider planting a raingarden, vegetative swale, or using rainbarrels to capture roof runoff.
- Strategic planting of trees near your home can provide energy-savings. For example, planting shade trees on the south and west sides of your home to allow shading and cooling in the summer, while still allowing winter sun to reach south-facing windows in the winter once leaves have fallen. Plant windbreaks, such as rows of evergreen trees, on the north and west side of your home to provide protection from cold winter winds.
- Get your soil tested. Depending on your soil composition, adding compost or other amendments into your existing soil may help create necessary moisture and nutrient conditions. Healthy soil means healthy vegetation and less stormwater runoff!
- Choose plant and tree species that are native, or hardy perennials that are acclimated to our climate, or Zone. Mendota Heights falls within Zone 4b of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
- Plant for wildlife. Choose plant, shrub, and tree species, preferably native, that provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, pollinators, and other wildlife.
Consider Incorporating these Sustainable Landscaping Practices:
- Minimize watering. Watering less encourages deeper roots, creates drought-tolerance, and produces healthier lawns.
- Install a rain barrel at downspouts to capture and reuse rainwater for watering your garden and landscape.
- Mow to a minimum height of 4”. The height of your lawn is directly correlated to the depth of its root system in traditional turf grass species. Keeping your grass at a height of 4” or longer creates deeper root systems that absorb more water and nutrients, and are more drought-tolerant.
- Use the right amount of mulch around trees, shrubs, and other landscaping. Using mulch around trees, shrubs, and plants helps to retain moisture and reduce weeds, but you should only need 2-3” of mulch to attain this. Using too much mulch can take nitrogen and other nutrients away from plants during decomposition, and attract harmful insects and burrowing animals, such as moles. Do not pile mulch against tree trunks. Instead, it should be placed in the shape of a donut, with mulch pulled away from the bark of the tree.
- Create a backyard compost pile. For more information, see the following resources:
- Earth Friendly Home Landscaping
- Composting in Home Gardens
- Practice proper tree care (see Tree Planting and Care) to prevent disease and keep your trees healthy.
- Avoid pesticide use, and minimize herbicide use. Always follow directions and specifications for chemical use, and spot spray weeds and invasive species instead of broadcasting over a large area. Apply herbicides only when winds are calm, and never before or during a rain event. Do not apply herbicide near or in surface waters. A permit is required for any herbicide use in or near a MN DNR public water.