Revised Handout: Mowing and Management Best Practices for Monarchs
Understanding when monarchs are present allows land managers to time management practices such as burning, mowing, grazing, or targeted pesticide application when they are least likely to harm monarchs. The Monarch Joint Venture has partnered with the Xerces Society to update our existing handout, previously titled ‘Mowing: Best Practices for Monarchs’, to provide recommendations for the timing of habitat management in both the eastern and western monarch breeding ranges of the United States.
The Xerces Society created the recommended management timing for the western U.S., based on their document ‘Managing Monarchs in the West: Best Management Practices for Conserving the Butterfly and its Habitat’. The eastern U.S. recommended management timing has not changed. If you are using the recommendations for the east in the original version of our handout, you do not need to update your management timing.
Monarchs can be harmed when eggs and caterpillars on milkweed plants or adult monarchs seeking nectar from flowers are present during management, or when habitat is removed at critical points in their life cycle. The recommendations outlined in this handout are intended to reduce harm to monarchs based on breeding and migration activity. Use these management windows in conjunction with recommendations for other species to inform the timing of management in your area.
The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo by Wendy Caldwell.