En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - October 27, 2011

From: Ashe Co., NC
Region: Select Region
Topic: Managing Roadsides, Plant Laws, Transplants
Title: Rescue of roadside plants in Ashe Co.
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in a wooded area off of a dirt road that is going to be widened and paved by the state. There are many native plants and shrubs growing on the side of the road in areas that will soon be pavement. None are endangered or threatened species. Would it be permissio ble to transplant some of these plants into my yard? (I'm mostly interested in the ferns and low-growing wild blueberries.) I also have one single pink ladyslipper that lives on my property. Unfortunately, it grows a few feet from the current road- so it's time is short. Is there any possible way I can save it? I know digging up ladyslippers is a futile and despicable thing to do in almost all circumstances- but I would really like to save this one. (I don't think the native plant rescuers would come to my remote location to save just one plant.)

ANSWER:

To begin with, you have nothing to lose if you attempt to transplant your Cypripedium acaule (Pink lady's slipper),  which is native to North Carolina. You are correct that it is difficult to transplant, but it is on your property, so even if it were rare or endangered (it isn't) you have every right to do with it what you will. Since it has no chance if it is left in the path of road development, you will at least have tried. From our own archives, read this 1990 Wildflower newsletter that discusses the Pink lady's slipper. Since our Native Plant Database webpage on this plant has no propagation instructions, we went a little further afield and hit pay dirt in this article Transplanting Pink lady's slippers by William Cullina. It is well-illustrated and goes into detail; if any information can help you, this will.

To address your first question, about transplanting from the threatened roadside, that is a little more murky. Roadsides are generally controlled by the state highway departments; they determine what can by moved and why and by whom. We started searching on sites about the North Carolina Department of Transportation and found one that made this statement:

     "No planting on state right-of-way is allowed without written approval from your local NCDOT, Division of Highways, Organization, Operations, Roadside Environmental Unit, Design Section Division office."

After some scratching around, we found this Contact Page for NCDOT District 3 (Ashe and Wilkes Cos). Another place you might at least get some clues on who to talk is the North Carolina State University Extension Office for Ashe County. We hope these clues will at least get you going in the right direction.

 

From the Image Gallery


Moccasin flower
Cypripedium acaule

Moccasin flower
Cypripedium acaule

Moccasin flower
Cypripedium acaule

More Transplants Questions

Transplanting non-native invasive chinaberry trees
July 21, 2008 - I know most folk think Chinaberry trees are only for digging up, but I say that here in the Hill Country during a drought, they are the greenest and purtiest tree around. I have some tall fifteen foo...
view the full question and answer

Replanting of non-native Christmas Palm from Sarasota FL
November 28, 2012 - Do you know of a proven technique to plant a Christmas Palm in a built-in concrete pool deck planter box - using gravel around the soil root ball to delay the root bound condition we just ripped out?
view the full question and answer

Rotating a non-native cypress in its hole in Annapolis, MD
April 02, 2009 - I have a follow up question to a Cypress transplant question from December 28, 2008. We trimmed our 5 1/2 foot Dwarf Hinoki Cypress back too far, and now the side facing the street has some bare spot...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a Monterey Oak in Austin, TX.
November 12, 2010 - I have a large Monterey Oak, planted last year that has not gotten any fuller. Do I need to fertilize and if so, when?
view the full question and answer

Native wildflower garden for Pennsylvania
May 21, 2008 - Hello, I am interested in making a garden, and I would like to use only or mostly native wildflowers in it. Do you have any good suggestions for wildflowers that I can transplant from places where the...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center