As Minnesotans start to think about yardwork, the state has some words of caution.
The state agriculture department urges consumers to check for viability and cold hardiness before buying trees and shrubs. A new state law makes it easier to determine if a tree, shrub or other landscaping plant will successfully grow in Minnesota.
The law requires that nursery stock be labeled "nonhardy" if it can't be expected to survive a Minnesota winter or reliably produce flowers and fruit here.
Already this spring, inspectors have found dead and damaged packaged plants, and some stores selling plants in poor condition. They've also found stores carrying plants that are mislabeled for Minnesota's cold hardiness zones. Minnesota is generally zone 3 in the northern half of the state and zone 4 in the south.