Temporary digs for plants that will grace South Mountain Freeway

Workers water boxed trees in the temporary nursery.

By Dustin Krugel / ADOT Communications

Crews are making significant progress relocating hundreds of native plants, trees and cactuses in the path of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway. They are quickly filling a temporary nursery that will be home to the plants until they are placed along the freeway, which is scheduled to open in late 2019.

As of this week, more than 400 palo verde, mesquite and ironwood trees and 300-plus barrel cactuses had been moved to the nursery. 

The first saguaros and ocotillos will be arriving soon. In all, more than 1,000 plants will be salvaged.

Temporary nursery is home to the plants until they are placed along the south mountain freeway.

As we shared earlier this week, this plant salvage operation has workers carefully digging up the plants and boxing them to preserve their roots.

The plants are getting special care at the nursery, including watering from an irrigation system.

The nursery, which is about the size of two football fields, is in an area of ADOT right of way along the Pecos Road alignment that will be used for water-retention basins.