Asked July 18, 2016, 11:35 AM EDT

This year we let the milkweeds go crazy in our yard. We have swamp, tuberosa and incarnada. By crazy I mean we have hundreds. So for this season I've only seen a handful of Monarchs and a couple of yellow swallow tails. I keep checking for eggs but I'm wondering at what time can I safely pull the swamp milkweed? We will relocate some of the others to some acreage we have by Rush Lake.

Anoka County Minnesota

4 Responses

Yes - many of us are also experiencing very few monarchs this year. According to our state monarch expert, Karen Oberhauser, some monarchs will not become adults until mid-September. The few monarchs observed thus far, this September date and the extreme difficulty in spotting eggs on a plant (as you probably know) all lead me to advise that you not pull milkweeds until September if at all possible. BTW, Asclepias incarnata is swamp milkweed. Could you mean Asclepias syriaca or common milkweed rather than swamp? It has a large taproot and would not be easy to move.

There is a new project at the Arboretum. We are developing a seed library where native seeds, including milkweed, will be made available for plantings across the state. We are collecting seed this year and 6 Anoka County Master Gardeners are involved in this project. If you are able and willing to keep your milkweed until seed pods form and allow collection of seeds, please contact:

Michaela Finley
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Pollinator Habitat Intern

It appears as if you are doing our monarchs a huge favor with your "hundreds" of plants. Bravo!

Yes we do have hundrends and we would love to save seeds. Please let me know how to store them and how the pick up will occur. You are correct about the types, sorry for the confusion. Also we will not pull or transplant until late in September or maybe not at all :)


Kate -

I'm forwarding your message to Michaela. If you don't hear back from her, which I'm sure you will, let me know.


Kate -

I just thought of something - Michaela does not have your email address nor do I. She only has access to your messages because I send them to her. She can't access them directly.

She knows about your milkweed. Could you send her an email with your above response so she can get back to you?

Michaela Finley

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Pollinator Habitat Intern

I should have thought of that.