On June 19th, Mike Ball and Phil Gonsiska conducted an endangered plant rescue at a site slated for development near Clermont. The site was a ten-acre, slightly overgrown scrub remnant. Penny Cople, of Breedlove, Dennis, and Associates, Inc., showed them to several scrub plums (Prunus geniculata).
Mike and Phil also located several Bonamia grandiflora, plants and cuttings of which were brought back to BTG, as well as a large Tillandsia sp. In order to transplant the scrub plums, Mike and Phil dug trenches around several individuals at what initially seemed like an appropriate and manageable distance from the trunk (between one and two feet), and then moved the plants with as much of an intact root ball as possible.
After trenching and extensive pruning, one exceedingly large, venerable scrub plum had a root ball approximately three feet in diameter. Mike and Phil pondered the weightiness of the situation (and the plant).
Luckily, a gopher tortoise relocation project was happening simultaneously with the rare plant rescue, and so a backhoe, as well as a backhoe operator, were available on site. Mike supervises as “Methuselah” is lifted from its location. The backhoe was then used to place the plant in the back of the Rare Plant Conservation Program’s pickup truck. Ultimately, four scrub plums were rescued and transplanted into the Conservation Beds and are being cared for attentively.