2001 Direct Seeding Trials

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Plot establishment (2001)

In May 2001, seed from five populations of milkweed were sown at the rate of 6 pounds per acre with a 2-row cone seeder at the Western Illinois University Agronomy Farm. The plots were 800 ft2 and were planted on 30 inch rows.  The seed was collected from  locations in  Wyoming, Nebraska, and Illinois, and evaluations were made throughout 2001 to observe plant health and vigor of the varying populations. No seed was produced on the first year direct seeded plants, but stalks were removed at the end of the season.

Maintenance (2002)

 In early spring 2002 prior to seedling emergence, herbicide was applied to provide season long weed control.  Emergence of all plots was observed by April 25, 2002, and the first flowers were noted on June 11, 2002.   Plots were maintained throughout the summer with minimal weeding.  Applications of insecticides and fungicides were needed on several occasions in mid to late summer to control milkweed bugs, aphids, and black spot.

Second year results (2002)

Evaluations of plant health were made again during the 2002 season with the Illinois population showing the most vigor as evidenced by increased height, resistance to fungal diseases, and number of blooms and pods.  Follicles were harvested from all populations when 10% of the follicles were open.  Harvest dates ranged from mid-August to late September with the Illinois population of common milkweed being the last to mature.   A total of 7100 follicles were harvested from all plots providing a fresh weight of 165 pounds.


Maintenance (2003)

In advance of milkweed emergence in early spring, a preemergence herbicide was applied to all plots.  This application provided good coverage for most weed species throughout the season with remaining weeds controlled by hand cultivation or grass herbicide application.  Plants in all plots emerged by April 24 and began blooming in mid-June.  One treatment of insecticide was applied in June 18 to control a severe milkweed beetle infestation.  Spot treatments of aphids and black spot were also performed as needed.

Third year results (2003)

Observations on plant health and growth characteristics were noted again in this third year of growth.  The Illinois population surpassed the non-native populations in disease and insect resistance as well as plant height and strength.  Follicles were harvested from all plots in September but no harvest data was taken.


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Last revised: October 19, 2012