Relocation of Milkweed.

Asked June 26, 2020, 7:30 AM EDT

There is milkweed growing in a pasture of about two and a half acres. Three years ago the pasture had no maintenance or mowing for a long period of time. The past three years we have cut the field to make hay. Thistle was extremely abundant and unfortunately we have had to use chemical sprays to contain the thistle. After the first time we cut the field, the milkweed really takes off. But by the time of the second cutting, the milkweed is being cut down. Can we dig up and transplant the milkweed to different parts of the yard that can be designated for flowers/bufferfly garden? Can I still do it this year or is it too late? Do you know the specific kind of milkweed this is?

Carroll County Maryland

1 Response

It looks like the milkweed you have is common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). When the plants are in bloom, the flowers can be used to confirm the ID.
https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/view/147

Late summer/early fall and early spring are generally the best times to transplant perennial plants like milkweed. Now in mid-summer is not the ideal time because it can be more challenging for the plants to re-establish in hot weather. Milkweeds have a taproot so you will need to make sure to get as much of the main roots as possible when you move these plants. Transplanting is likely to be more successful with plants that are young and small. You could also try propagating these from seeds collected in the fall. The process for collecting/planting milkweed seeds is described here, https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/help_monarchs_and_other_pollinators_by_collecting_milkweed_seeds_this_fall.

Christa