Annual Milkweed Pod Collection
It's that time again!
The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is calling on all Ohioans for another year of Milkweed pod collections! This project started in 2015 as a seven-county pilot, and since that time, hundreds of Ohioans have worked together collecting thousands of pods across the state. Volunteers have collected approximately 5,000 gallons of common milkweed seed pods, totaling over 22 million seeds!
Milkweed is the only host plant for the Monarch butterfly for egg-laying and caterpillar rearing. It also serves as a food source for Monarchs butterfly for egg-laying and caterpillar rearing. It also serves as a food source for Monarchs as well as many other pollinator species. The disappearance of milkweed across the U.S. has contributed to the 80% decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years. We are working hard in Ohio to change this, and you can help! Let's make our collection efforts even better by following these simple tips!
- Make sure that before you collect seed, you become familiar with the common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed.
- It is best to collect the pods when they are dry, grey, or brown. IT IS IMPORTANT TO CHECK THIS! (Since pod collection starts September 1st and runs through October 31st... please use September as the time to locate milkweed plants and to keep an eye on the pods while they ripen and then pick them once they look like the picture shown.)
- If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be harvested.
- Store the pods in paper bags; plastic bags collect unwanted moisture.
- Please put the date and county collected on the bag when you turn them in.
- Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver them to the nearest collection site.
Wilson's Garden Center, 10923 Lambs Lane NE, Newark, OH. 43055 (740)763-2873
Licking County Soil & Water, 771 E. Main St. #100, Newark, OH. 43055 (740)670-5330
If you have questions regarding milkweed collection, please contact Marci Lininger at marci.Lininger@dot.ohio.gov or Lori Stevenson at Lori_Stevenson@fws.gov