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

Monday - November 17, 2008

From: Maitland, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Managing Roadsides
Title: Wildflower programs on our highways
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Do you have any statistics about the wildflower program on our highways? We are wanting information about economic savings by not mowing so much, or pollution reduction by not mowing. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

ANSWER:

As you may know, our founder Mrs. Johnson, was a great proponent of using wildflowers along state and interstate right-of-ways. As a direct results of her efforts, many states and the federal government now have programs to encourage and enable wildflower planting along highways and byways. In every state the landscaping of the rights-of-way of federal highways with native wildflowers is being carried out under "Operation Wildflower"and the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act (STURAA) of 1987. STURRA requires that at 1/4 one percent of funds spent on landscaping projects for Federal-aid highways must be used to plant native plants. You can read about some of these programs and their use of wildflowers and see the "1998 Revised Guidance for the Native Wildlflower Planting Requirement" on the page Roadside Use of Native Plants. Florida Department of Transportation, along with Florida Wildflower Foundation, has an active wildflowers for highways program.  Many other states also have their own wildflower initiatives, for instance: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Tennessee. You can find more states with wildflower programs by doing a "Google" search on "state wildlfower programs". The U. S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highways Administration (FHWA), has available Roadside Use of Native Plants by Bonnie L. Harper-Lore and Maggie Wilson.  It is a "glove-compartment size handbook...a reference for those who restore, design, or manage native plants. Its State by State organization of information is a beginning point in decision-making. To make site by site decisions within a State, local expertise will be necessary. This information is aimed at preserving the native remnants that still exist and restoring natural heritage where necessary." Part I (Roadside Restoration and Management Essays), Part II (Plant and Resource Lists) and Part III (Appendices - including Policy, For More Information, and Vegetation Types) are all available on line. FHWA also has an informative web site addressing Roadside Vegetation Management.

The Openlands Corporatelands Project is a notable non-profit group in Illinois that is involved in projects to utilize native plants in restoration and beautification projects. On their website they have information about benefits of natural landscaping and offer Installing Natural Landscaping on Your Campus: A Cost Estimate Workbook.  They also have available as a downloadable PDF file,  Excerpts from the Sourcebook on Natural Landscaping for Local Officials, from the Northern Illinois Planning Commission (NPIC). This file gives examples of "Natural Landscaping Installations and Maintenance Costs". For another estimate, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes A Source Book on Natural Landscaping for Public Officials online that outlines the economic benefits of using natural vegetation.

 

More Managing Roadsides Questions

Mowing wildflower concerns from Lockhart TX
March 30, 2012 - I went to the Texas Highway Department (Texas Department of Transportation) web site and sent them a concern or complaint about them or independent contractors shredding the roadsides before the blueb...
view the full question and answer

Rescue of roadside plants in Ashe Co.
October 27, 2011 - 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 pavem...
view the full question and answer

Do any laws prohibit killing roadside wildflowers?
April 09, 2013 - Is there any law or regulation at the state level that prohibits, or at least discourages, mowing or spraying herbicide on the highway roadsides before the wildflowers have set seeds or did we lose th...
view the full question and answer

Pictures of Bastard Cabbage from Dallas TX
April 07, 2012 - HI! Re your March 12 posting: The USDA Plants website pictures two very different looking plants identified as Rapistrum rugosum (bastardcabbage). Would you please post a photo with leaf and bloom ...
view the full question and answer

Highway construction in wildflower areas from Kingsland TX
April 22, 2014 - I see no other link to contact about this, except for you. Maybe you can direct me. I just drove Hwy 281 South and a lot of road construction is being done. For many years that I've noticed, there ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center