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Outdoor Clean Ups -- Many Butterflies and Moths Pitched

Posted by runmede 7a Virginia (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 11, 10 at 20:04

Yesterday, I watched a Common Checkered Skipper laying eggs on my Hollyhocks. I wondered what she was doing since it is way too late for them to finish their cycle. I looked it up. They winter over as caterpillars. Unfortunately, there's eggs, caterpillars, and pupae out there tucked here and there in your butterfly garden. Also, many moth cocoons end up in leaf litter when the leaves drop. So, what does one do. One waits until May to really clean up the garden/yard.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Outdoor Clean Ups -- Many Butterflies and Moths Pitched

Yes! Had this discussion with a couple of customers purchasing butterfly plants at the Farmer's Mkt on Saturday. Everyone wants to clean up in the fall.

RE: Outdoor Clean Ups -- Many Butterflies and Moths Pitched

I noticed someone on the list pulling out plants and this is why I posted this topic. Those plants can also be used by birds. Many of our garden plants have seed heads that provide seeds for birds during the winter.

A landscape person a few years ago, recommended stacking the plants you cut upright (if you have to cut them). If there are any chrysalis, then maybe that would give them an opportunity to emerge next spring. If you can find space in your yard, to stack them.

RE: Outdoor Clean Ups -- Many Butterflies and Moths Pitched

A large percentage of butterflies spend some part of their life cycle in chrysalis/larva (even unfed)stage over the winter. It is amazing.

If I do any clean-up, I check carefully, and the material goes into a separate area where I can spread things out, so a butterfly could come out ok. Generally, though, I don't do too much.

I've been trying not to think about all of the butterflies/moths that are in leaf piles around the country. :(

RE: Outdoor Clean Ups -- Many Butterflies and Moths Pitched

I wish I could leave everything up until spring, but I'm already stretching the tolerance of my persnickety neighbors. I just cut down the beds out front and try to leave everything in the backyard go naturally.


RE: Outdoor Clean Ups -- Many Butterflies and Moths Pitched

Thanks for reminding me Runmede!! You made me move to gardens where anything gathered is simply set behind the gardens as these border the woodlands of the property - mostly hostas. Other gardens where the debris has to be moved further are being left alone this fall and in the spring I'll not send that debris to th city compost but instead will 'hide' it around the property to give things a chance.

When we know better, we do better. :O)

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