With its annual roadside mowing and brushing underway, the Town of Huntsville is asking residents to tie a yellow ribbon around milkweed plants.
Tarmo Uukkivi, the town’s Director of Operations and Protective Services, says the markings help road crews see the plants and try to avoid them.
“We do have a program where you can tie a yellow ribbon around the milkweed plants for monarch butterflies, that you would like preserved as we do the brushing work along the curbs and edges in ditches,” says Uukkivi. “So our crews will do their best to avoid cutting down any of those plants.”
Milkweed has a special relationship with monarch butterflies. The butterflies lay their eggs on the plant, and feed on its bitter, poisonous sap. The sap deters predators from eating the butterflies and in return, the butterflies pollinate the plant.
“They are a food source and a protection source for the butterflies as they are in their breeding cycles, here in the northern part of the hemisphere,” Uukkivi says.
The yellow marking does not have to be a ribbon– anything yellow, such as tape or strips of cloth will do the job.
Uukkivi adds that he expects the road work season to finish around the middle of the summer.