Poisonous milkweed

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Poisonous milkweed

Postby blazing star » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:18 pm

My back neighbor throws moth balls all over his back yard. A new patch of common milkweed is growing against his fence. It's in my yard and I'd like to use the leaves as food but am worried the plants have taken up his poison and will kill cats. I researched mothballs and it seems those things should be outlawed base on how toxic they are. Does anyone know for sure or have experience with this?
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby stacey16 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:11 pm

I do not but after reading this link on Garden Web I don't think I would use the milkweed.

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load ... 17.html?12
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby stacey16 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:04 pm

mothballs are not to be used outdoors.
http://npic.orst.edu/ingred/ptype/mothb ... ation.html
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby blazing star » Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:03 pm

Thanks for the info. I won't use the plants. Problem is, I have other woody host plants near their fence.

When they were spreading them, I read how dangerous they are and how toxic they are. They can't be good for their dogs running the yard either.

:(
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby stacey16 » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:26 am

There has to be someone who would know if the moth ball poison could spread to your yard. I would think it would be a health hazard to children, pets and wildlife.
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby blazing star » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:07 pm

I'm sure you are correct about the hazards. Thankfully, I have milkweed in other parts of my yard. It was just getting started in that section near their place. Interestingly, I don't find eggs on those plants. I presumed that it was because it was in the shade but I know someone who has milkweed in a shaded environment and the monarchs are active there. Just speculation but maybe the monarchs can sense it's not a useful plant.
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby stacey16 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:18 am

That could be true that the butterflies sense something about the plants. Did you know mothballs are highly flammable too and that they are regulated by the EPA?
It is illegal to use them for a purpose not listed on the box.
You must have a lot of milkweed. I have a garden bed filled with swamp milkweed, purple coneflower and bee balm.
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby blazing star » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:22 am

No, I didn't know that! Nice I have a bunch of it laying about back there. More to worry about. I looked the other day and didn't see any fresh moth balls laying about so maybe they are cutting back on the use. I stopped feeding birds this summer as I didn't want to attract skunks and maybe that's helping.

I don't feel like I have a lot of milkweed but maybe I do. Probably around 40 plants. I have the same plants as you. I installed all native plants in my yard and removed a lot of lawn. Are your plants the native variety?
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby stacey16 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:18 pm

I've tried to add native plants but I don't have much room. I may have to add on to the garden to grow more milkweed and native flowers.I have around 15 swamp milkweed and a couple common but thats about it. A monarch just layed eggs and I'm thinking how is that milkweed going to support all those caterpillars if I have to feed them? The problem is the quality of the plants vary.
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby blazing star » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:34 pm

I was told the swamp will last fresh for several days in the cage. The common only lasts up to 2 days for me. Hopefully, you are surprised how many cats the swamp feeds. I'm not sure if cutting swamp to the ground will generate new growth, as this did with my common. I seem to think it would not and may actually kill the plant. Also, once you pull leaves off common, if you don't cut the stalk to the ground, the stalk will generate new fresh leaves from where you've taken leaves so it will continue to generate food. It's not a really prompt process, though. If you cut to the ground, it will send up a whole new stalk with fresh leaves. This, too, took time. I haven't cut a stalk since Spring so I'm not sure if late season cutting (such as right now) will generate this new growth. I will test this for you. I am not sure if swamp will put out new leaves as old leaves are picked. Hopefully someone else can comment. This may ease your fears about lack of food since this is the plant of which you have the majority.

By next year your 2 common plants should colonize to many more plants. You may want to take the seed from your milkweed plants and keep spreading in your garden area, since your space is so small. I have a section that was riddled with milkweed prior years and this year there is hardly any so it may be helpful to have seed ready to germinate to provide new plants in case something happens to the existing colony. I have no clue what happened to mine.

Also, there was info on in the old forum where someone posted about the possibility that constant leaf picking prompted the plant to generate more toxins. I don't know what the net effect of this is but haven't seen any harm to my cats and the leaves are aggressively picked. Just some info if you want to mull it over and research.
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby stacey16 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:16 pm

I'm almost tempted to buy some at our local nursery. They can't guarantee it pecticide free because they don't grow it there.
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby blazing star » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:50 am

Where are you located in Wisconsin? If you are near the Southern border, Red Buffalo Nursery, in Hebron, sells native plants and has milkweed. http://redbuffalonursery.com/plants.php I do not think he ships. He's into native restoration on his own property.

Prairie Moon Nursery is from where I also get my seeds and plants. http://www.prairiemoon.com/ They ship and have a gigantic selection.

Both are very helpful with questions.

I've never asked if they both use pesticides but presume not. Most native plant specialty places probably don't as they need insects to make the seeds they need to sell. I would think they normally welcome insects. Both places have their own land from which they grow plants to make seeds to sell. I pretty sure both would have to use herbicide to control the invasives taking over their fields.

Being involved with restoration with our own and, I've found that judicious use of herbicide is necessary. There's no way to control things like reed canary grass without it, unfortunately. I hand wick each blade of the reed canary grass to diminish run off and spraying things that don't need to be sprayed. It significantly reduces the amount of herbicide used and is on only the target species. I wish I didn't have to use any but that grass spreads by runners (I read 12 feet a year) and obliterates all natives in it's path. It's the worst I have encountered and this year it just won't die. I had to hire someone else to redo the site as my Spring work (about 12 hours time) had the grass laughing at me. It was 7 feet tall weeks after I wicked it. I had to brush cut it to the ground and remove the debris in weed bags. That took another 6 hours. I'm not sure if you're involved in restoration so, if not, it's just an example of why it's needed. I still don't know if their work is going to be effective as they just finished wicking. I have to have them do it again late Summer, early Fall, as that is the most effective time to get the plant to uptake the herbicide into it's root system to kill the runners.

My land is in between Harvard and Alden. If you're around there and you need seed, let me know and I can hook you up. Just let me know what type and I can check around to see who has it. There's a bunch of people there doing land restoration.

I hope this helps. If you need anything different than above, let me know and I'll see if I can help or no someone who can. I'm excited about your garden. It sounds so nice.
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Re: Poisonous milkweed

Postby blazing star » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:29 pm

Edit to above post - Red Buffalo Nursery does ship.
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