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  • Jodi Eberhardt

How to Maintain a Natural Shoreline

A shoreland planted with native vegetation should maintain itself once it is established.

Apply mulch to new planting beds to prevent soil erosion, hold moisture in the soil, and

control weeds. You may need to water and weed the first season, but once the plants

are established, they will be able to out-compete most weeds. Native species should

never be fertilized because they are adapted to the nutrient levels found in local soils,

and fertilizers and pesticides applied to areas near shore can be a threat to aquatic life

and water quality. Plants left standing in fall and winter provide seeds and shelter for

wildlife, add interest to the winter landscape, and protect the soil from wind erosion. If

some plants do not survive the first year, replant as quickly as possible to maintain a

continuous vegetative cover. As your shoreland buffer grows, you may want to trim some

tree branches or shrubs to keep your view of the lake clear while maintaining the benefits

of a natural shoreline.

As you watch your shoreline change with the seasons, think about the additional benefits of

shoreland buffers:

• Less time spent mowing; more time enjoying the lake.

• Attracts birds and butterflies.

• Enhances your view of the lake by adding interest, texture and color.

• Provides more privacy from people using the lake or neighboring properties.

• Protecting water quality is protecting your real estate value.

• Taller native plants create a biological barrier that will deter Canada geese from loitering on the lawn.

• Well-established emergent aquatic plants discourage the establishment of non-native invasive species.

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