Well, if you're digging, I hope you do the right thing and stop or turn yourself in for destroying a valuable and limited resource.
The season begins September 1st. The reason is that the seeds do not ripen until mid August. If you dig any, the seeds need to be planted in the general vicinity of the plant. This is the reason why the plant is rare, unregulated digging before any seeds have been produced. Not unlike what happened to many game animals in the 1800's due to market hunting.
I purposely left seng out of this thread to avoid clutter like the two posts above. Mayapple is going down fast, I might not reach my goal of 50# dry root. I will be digging bloodroot next as it is starting to go down. I am also in the process of building a large dehydrator for cohosh.
Well I have a section of property I would like to clear the ground plants to grow large amouts of yellow root. There are patches of mayapple and poke that need to go. I could fill a pickup with mayapple roots, and many dumptrucks with poke.
Last year I boxed and sent them US mail. About a dollar per. #. I might send them to Billy Taylor this yr. He has a great facebook page on roots. We really need more root buyers in PA. I think a co-op would be the way to go. We could build a wash station and dehydrator's. We could put up hundreds of pounds of roots giving out of state buyers a reason to drive to us. Heck, we could even have an auction like they do for fur.
I like your thinking. The problem is we could flood the market with poke root and mayapple. I think those markets are too small to handle a co-op's volume. It could drive prices down and we will be sitting on warehouses of dried roots. Kinda like us trappers who have ton's of coon sitting at NAFA.