Protect Minnesota when gardening

close up of moutain bike wheel showing seeds and mud.

Photo credit: Beth Solie

Review the information below to learn how to protect your yard and garden as well as your favorite trails, forests, parks and prairies as a gardener.

Before
  • Plant native species or species that are not invasive. Before buying or planting new plants, check the list in the " How do I learn more about invasive plants?" section to ensure the plant is not invasive. The webpages for each plant on this page includes a list of native substitutes to give you ideas for alternative plantings.
  • Use clean gear and tools so you don't accidentally introduce new weed seeds or earthworms.
  • Be on the lookout for jumping worms in materials you bring into your yard such as soil, potted landscape plants, mulch or compost. You might see soil that looks like coffee grounds or notice unusually jumpy worms in your mulch. Don't move any material that might be harboring jumping worms, and report any suspected jumping worms to the DNR.
  • Be careful about plant sharing. If you participate in garden club plant sales or informal plant exchanges, follow these recommendations:
    • Determine that the plants do not come from an area known to have jumping worms. Additionally, determine that there is no reason to suspect there are jumping worms at the site that produced the plants (such as soil that looks like coffeegrounds).
    • Remove soil from all plants before transporting them as bare root plants or potting into sterile potting soil. This helps to remove earthworm cocoons (egg cases) and weed seeds.
    • View the University of Minnesota Extension full list of guidance on plant sale best practices related to jumping worms.
During
After
  • Clean soil off of your gardening gear (tools, gloves, shoes, carts, etc.) before taking it to another yard.
  • Keep plants and yard waste on your own property as much as possible to prevent the spread of weed seeds and jumping worms or their egg cases.
  • Never dispose of yard waste in natural areas as you may be introducing new species to those sites.
  • Monitor for unwanted plants and remove them before they become established. If you live near a natural area and notice any plants from your garden spreading into the natural area, contact the managers of the natural area as they may wish to manage the plants.

Learn about how to prevent the spread of invasive species while doing other activities.