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Mr. Smarty Plants - Moving wildflowers into a pollinator garden in Webster NY

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Monday - July 27, 2009

From: Webster, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Pollinators, Transplants
Title: Moving wildflowers into a pollinator garden in Webster NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in the Western New York area and would like to utilize unwanted wildflowers near our roadside and woodland area into a large pollinator garden I am creating. What is a safe way to move an entire plant and move it into the new garden location?

ANSWER:

The first thing you need to do is determine who owns the land on which those wildflowers are growing. Even if the roadside you mentioned is bordering your property, your state highway department could have rules about disturbing the right-of-way. Also, there are safety factors involved in working on a roadside as cars go by. The same goes with the woodland area you referred to; if it is on your property, of course you can do whatever you wish there. If it is on public land or someone else's private property, then you need to get permission. In Texas, the Department of Highways is pretty specific about disturbing rights-of-way, and going onto private land without permission, regardless of what you are doing there, can be regarded as criminal trespass. Public lands usually have rules about removing plants from the area.

In answer to your question, what is a safe way to move an entire plant into the new location, that would depend entirely on the plant. Many wildflowers are annuals, and don't transplant well. In New York, the best time to transplant would be after the ground has thawed and temperatures are not so cold, in Spring. At that point, of course, last year's wildflowers will have completely disappeared, having seeded out and died, and the new season's plants will not be up yet. Some wildflowers are perennials. You will still need to mark their location for Spring transplanting, as they will have died back to the roots, as well.

Now, if you want to experiment and have established the ownership of the plants, you could certainly try transplanting wildflowers whenever you know what they are, as in during bloom time, etc. We are going to go to our Native Plant Database and search for, first, perennial, and second, annual herbaceous flowering plants that are native to the area of Monroe County, on Lake Ontario. We will list a few of those plants and you can follow each plant link to the webpage on that individual plant to learn its growing conditions, light requirements and propagation instructions. Also, you can go to the bottom of that webpage and click on a link to Google for more information. We will also provide you with pictures of the plants we find, to help you identify what you have and how to propagate it.

When we went to our Native Plant Database and selected New York, "Herbs" (herbaceous blooming plants) on General Appearance and "Perennial" under Duration, we got 1,014 results. When we did the same thing, except selecting "Annual", we got 260 results. If you know the common name or the Latin name of the plant you are proposing to transplant, you can go to the Native Plant Database, and in the top box "Name", on the page, under "Search native plant database", enter the Latin name or the common name and see if you get a possibility. If so, click on the name and then "GO".

For other resources. see the Bibliography below, or go to the Federal Highway Administration State Plant Listings - New York. This website from AgriLIFE, Texas A&M Extension, Transplanting Annuals  by Dennis Hinkamp, Utah State University Extension Program, addresses both bedding plants purchased from a nursery and plants dug from the ground. From University of Illinois Extension Planting and Transplanting Perennials. For help closer to home, contact the Cooperative Extension Office for Monroe County.

Perennials for Western New York

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina springbeauty)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine)

Annuals for Western New York

Campanulastrum americanum (American bellflower)

Castilleja coccinea (scarlet Indian paintbrush)

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Erigeron annuus (eastern daisy fleabane)

 

From the Image Gallery


Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Carolina springbeauty
Claytonia caroliniana

Great blue lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

American bellflower
Campanulastrum americanum

Scarlet paintbrush
Castilleja coccinea

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Daisy fleabane
Erigeron annuus

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