Twenty-four populations of milkweeds, largely Asclepias tuberosa (orange butterfly milkweed) and A. verticillata (white whorled milkweed)…432 plants in all…recently planted on the ten acres of glade ecosystem at South Fork are happy and doing well with what appears to be better than ninety percent survival rate! More than six inches of rain has fallen on the glades since they were planted during the week of June 21, 2015; watering teams have made the rounds several times with nearly a quart of water for each plant during a few dry periods in the open glades. It is important for the young plants to become established with good root systems to carry them along during drier periods, and that appears to be happening from the growth that can be seen. Many plants have grown twelve to fourteen inches with leaves that are nearly normal size…a number have already bloomed.
The milkweed project is part of a nationwide monarch butterfly project to enhance habitats for the monarchs whose numbers have plummeted significantly by as much as eighty percent in recent years…funding for this monarch project at SFNC is provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.