SWCD collecting milkweed pods

To help foster the creation of habitat for the monarch butterfly, Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI), in cooperation with Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts is organizing a statewide milkweed pod collection starting Sept. 1 and ending Oct. 31.

Milkweed is essential to the survival of monarch butterflies. 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 as well as many other pollinator species.

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 and gray or brown in color.

• Do not pick them when they are green; the seeds will not be viable.

• If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be harvested.

• Store the pods in paper bags; plastic bags collect unwanted moisture.

• Put the date and county collected on the bag when delivering them.

• Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until they can be delivered to the nearest collection site.

The Fulton SWCD is collecting pods this year. They are located at 8770 State Highway 108 in Wauseon. Hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For questions regarding milkweed collection, contact Marci Lininger at ohiopollinator@gmail.co.