En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Prairie Paintbrush and Managing Roadsides

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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 26, 2005

From: Carls Corner, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Managing Roadsides
Title: Prairie Paintbrush and Managing Roadsides
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have been visiting a piece of land beside I-35 for quite a few years now.  It is home to tons of different plants, but it really has a fantastic show of Prairie Paintbrush - the multicolored ones, not just the Texas kind.  I have also found wild larskpur, golden and blue flax, bluebonnets, gallardia, and lots of other things.   My question is:  is there a way to make this a protected area, so that people can enjoy it but are warned not to pick or dig up plants?  I've thought about putting signs up myself, but I figured they'd just get removed by someone.  I feel like these plants are not planted by TXDOT because of the unusual variety, and I'd love to see it protected and even improved.   The location is one exit north of Carl's Corner in Hill County.  I think it's exit 877, but I'm not sure.  It's on the southbound side of I-35.  It's not very obvious from the highway, which is no doubt why it has done as well as it has.  But I have started seeing families there in the spring, and I worry about the area becoming ruined.  Again, since I think the plants are there naturally and not being re-seeded, it's not like the normal bluebonnet hills that people tromp through every year.  There is a well-used shoulder where semis and other travelers can park. 

ANSWER:

Assuming that this is the right-of-way for I 35, you should contact the Maintenance Division of the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) to learn who is the supervisior for the Vegetation Management Program in that area. Another possible contact is the Right-of-Way Division of TXDoT. Even if they didn't originally seed the area, it is obvious that TXDot is doing something right (e.g., waiting till seeds have set and fallen before mowing) to insure that the flowers reappear every year. Since they do seem to care for it, you would be doing them a service to let them know that people are parking there. They might be willing to put up signs discouraging parking and encouraging preserving the area, i. e., not picking, digging up or trampling plants.

There might be someone in the Hill County government (County Commissioners, for instance) who would be interested in seeing that the area is preserved. You also might contact the local coordinator for the Adopt-a-Highway program in that area to see if there is a group managing that part of I 35. If not, you might find a group in that area who would be interested in adopting the section of the highway that includes the site. Although there is not a law against picking bluebonnets or other wildflowers it is illegal to destroy rights-of-way or government property. Working with an Adopt-a-Highway group, or on your own, you might have signs made urging the protection of the area and noting the illegality of destroying government property (the wildflowers) on the right-or-way. You will need to have the signs and their location approved by TXDoT before installing them, of course.

If the land in question is not part of the Texas highway right-of-way, you would need to contact the owner of the property about measures to preserve it.

Finally, there is a 1-page PDF article, "Planting Wildflowers along Roadsides", from the Native Plant Library that you can download with information about planting and maintaining wildflowers along roadsides.
 

More Managing Roadsides Questions

Winter snow and road salt in Michigan
June 27, 2010 - I have been asked to select plants for an area in zone5/6 that suffers from snow load and street salt during winters. The area is about 15x18 and has a deciduous tree in the center. Grass, which did ...
view the full question and answer

Information on wildflower programs in cities and states
April 06, 2005 - I am moving to a new town in a few weeks and am interested in starting a program to beautify the community using wildflowers. I've been interested in this for quite some time, but the opportunity ha...
view the full question and answer

Non-invasive alternatives to winter rye
August 20, 2004 - Re-vegetation requirements include winter rye, which is considered by some to be invasive to native wildflowers planted along the roadway. Is winter rye considered invasive to native wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Can a fallen tree in Texas have pieces of it removed from Winona TX
October 20, 2012 - I was wondering if you could tell me if a tree has fallen down, is it legal for me to go and cut pieces off of it in the state of Texas. And if you happen not to know could you tell me who I would con...
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