PLANT COLLECTING ETHICS - Jane B. Bartosiewicz
Years ago I read an article about collecting plants from the wild--and I would love to give the author credit, if I remembered who and when--but it made so much sense then and now, that I incorporated into my belief system as though it were Gospel.
BE CONSIDERATE OF THE PROPERTY OWNER.
BE CONSIDERATE OF MOTHER NATURE.
1. ALWAYS ask permission from the property owner. I've talked to realtors, neighbors to the vacant lot, called the city, etc., to find the owner and in 10 years of collecting, I've never been told "NO".
2. Disturb as little of the surrounding area as possible. Never leave a gaping hole--no one should ever know you were there.
3. Never take from the side of a state/interstate highway. This is illegal and the fines are stiff!
4. Never take from public parks or public gardens.
If this is a "bulldozer rescue", ask the operator and work well away from the equipment. Make sure the operator and the crew chief know where you are--this could be an accident waiting to happen. I call the contractor the day before (there is always a truck or sign around) and take after or before their working hours. Once you see the bulldozer on the property, you must act quickly!!
Mother Nature is most generous with her bounty, but there are things to remember:
1. Don't take the plant if there is only one.
2. It's easier to dig the day after a soaking rain.
3. Wild things grow in colonies, especially in open meadows(or bar ditches!) and it is MORE CONSIDERATE OF MOTHER NATURE to take from the inside of the colony rather than at the fringe or edge. WHY? Do this so the colony will continue its progression undisturbed. It may also make your transplanting more successful as you are taking an older, more mature and established plant.
4. Dig with a sharpshooter, you will seldom get a good root system if you try to pull up a plant. Also you might damage the stem, in which case, the plant will die.
5. Remember that most wild things have an extremely long taproot. If this is not dug undamaged, it is unlikely you will have success.