Welcome to our Newsletter!
We congratulate all of the Master Gardeners who were recently recognized for their years of service!
We welcome you to our regular monthly meetingtomorrow for refreshments, fellowship and an interesting presentation about ornamental grasses!
In this newsletter, Phyllis Webster brings us Part 2 of an educational article, Cultivate Milkweed; Save Monarchs! Please also note her beautiful photograph of Antelope Horn Milkweed. She is an accomplished photographer and member of the Granbury Camera Club.
Browse thru our Newsletter, published each month to your email, where you’ll find timely articles from our Hood County Master Gardeners, tips from our County Extension Agent, educational opportunities for you from the experts, fun community events, photos, and news from our Lake Granbury Chapter.
August Meeting Tomorrow!
Sher Dunaway, MG from the Tarrant County Master Gardener’s Speakers Bureau
Wednesday, August 17
Annex Bldg 1, 1410 West Pearl Street Granbury, TX
The public is invited
Mary Lynn Martin recognized for 20 years as a Master Gardener!
Freda Campbell, Henry and Lola Ehrlich recognized for 10 years as Master Gardeners!
Cultivate Milkweed; Save Monarchs!
(Photo of Antelope Horn Milkweed by Master Gardener Phyllis Webster)
Phyllis has written a 2 part article for the newsletters. This is part 2. She has been asked to participate in an effort to help sustain the monarch population as it migrates through the area and is writing articles to educate the public.
Milkweed is critical to the life, migration and reproduction of monarch butterflies, which is why you will want to cultivate the plants in your landscape or garden.
Although antelope horn milkweed is readily found in North Central Texas, this plant’s taproot makes it difficult to transplant from the wild. Therefore, seeding milkweed is preferred. Its bloom season is April – August, followed by the appearance of green to purple seedpods, which produce brown seed.
Antelope horn milkweed is easily recognized. It has mature seedpods that curve upward. Its leaves are long, narrow and fold upward. Erect umbels bear greenish white and maroon flowers that form broad round clusters. The flower clusters are 3-4 inches across. One to fifteen stems arise from a central root crown. The stems are covered in small hairs.
Milkweed may be planted as a component in any butterfly garden. Site the gardens in sunny locations with some protection from wind. Use at least one milkweed species that is native to the area in order to sustain monarchs. Include a variety of nectar plants with staggered bloom times. Avoid using herbicides and pesticides in the garden. These products kill caterpillars and adult butterflies.
There are more than 100 plants in the milkweed family, but finding seed for native Texas milkweed can be difficult. The Xerces Society launched a Milkweed Seed Finder database to make locating seeds on a per state basis easier. Visit monarchwatch.org and explore the Milkweed Market to research vendors.
Other sites to search include the Southwest Monarch Study, Monarch Joint Venture and Save Our Monarchs. Better yet, find a friend who locally grows Antelope Horn (Asclepias asperula) and ask for seed. This native milkweed is a woody perennial that tolerates poor soil, drought and limited mowing.
Sow milkweed seed by scattering it on the soil surface and then covering the seed with about a quarter inch of additional soil. Water the seed frequently after planting and often until the plants become established. Small milkweed transplants may be planted directly in the ground. Place the plants in an adequately sized hole so that their stems and leaves are above ground. Water transplants frequently until established.
Utility easements and highway right-of-ways may also be utilized to benefit butterflies. A typical easement managed for monarchs would include the initial removal of invasive and undesirable species, preparation of the surface through tilling or other methods, planting native flowering plants and management through timed mowing.
If your cultivated butterfly habitat is highly visible, consider adding a sign to educate the public about your monarch conservation efforts. If it is in a residential area, you will want to communicate with your homeowner’s association to promote your cause and ensure that your planting is allowed.
For fire safety during dry weather, site butterfly meadows and managed butterfly corridors where they can be surrounded by fire breaks, such as wide walkways, pavement, irrigated lawn or other fire retardant surfaces that slow wildfire.
Note: Recommended mow times for North Central Texas are before March 1, between June 30 and August 15 and after November 1. Keep mow heights high.
Thanks for joining us. See you again soon!