Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 22, 2014

From: Kingsland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Managing Roadsides, User Comments, Wildflowers
Title: Highway construction in wildflower areas from Kingsland TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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 have been exceptional colors of Indian Paintbrush on the roadsides from Glen Rose to south of Hamilton. There are typically many flowers, even under drought conditions, in shades of deep pink, coral, & lavender, and are very full & healthy. I have photos of past years' flowers and they are gorgeous. A huge toll has been taken on them at this moment, with all of the destruction while widening the highway. There are a few spared patches at this point, but I consider them "endangered" now. I was almost sickened. Why shouldn't the Highway Dept. be required to collect seed for at least 2 years before destroying this special habitat and even roll the sod to use? Something seriously needs to be done here..immediately. Can you help? What can I do, who should I contact? Thank you.

ANSWER:

About this time every year, we get anguished complaints about what is being done to our roadsides in Texas. Here are a website and a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer responding to a couple of those. Much as we hate to admit it, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has no direct role in directing the use of the land around new and/or existing highways. Individuals an area can be much more effective by contacting those in position to make decisions on this subject in their own area.

USDA Forest Service Wildflower Ethics and Native Plants

Previous answer

Our personal observation on this subject is that there is so much pressure for space and land in Texas. There is always support for bringing in new businesses, housing areas, schools, etc., and only so many place where they can go. Then, those moving in to take advantage of those areas must have roads to get there. On local, county and state levels there are ongoing conflicts over finances - in other words, who is going to pay for reseeding a road area or relinquish the desired new road in favor of wildflowers and who benefits in the long run?

More information from the past on this loaded question:

Previous answer from Vilonia AR

Previous answer from Caldwell TX

Previous answer from Houston TX

Previous answer from Lockhart, TX

and on and on......

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Plants for steep clay bank in Summerfield OH
April 07, 2012 - Hello, We have a steep 15-20 foot high bank behind our house here in southern Ohio. Probably 50 ft.long. What could we plant for beauty and erosion control. It is nasty clay soil with lots of shale an...
view the full question and answer

Short, Shady Plants for South Carolina
February 24, 2015 - I have a shady part of my mother's garden that doesn't drain very well. Do you have any suggestions as to what type of flowers or plants (preferably native to S.C.) that aren't red that might grow ...
view the full question and answer

Shallow Rooted Wildflowers for MA
March 25, 2015 - Do you have any suggestions for wildflowers that would be safe to grow on a capped landfill site? They would need to have roots no deeper than 24 inches.
view the full question and answer

Care of native black-eyed susans after blooming
September 30, 2004 - What is the best way to take care of black-eyed susans once they have lost their blooms? Am I supposed to cut them down to the base, or just let them die out naturally. Also, they all have a white re...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for wedding mid-spring in Austin, TX
November 10, 2006 - My fiancÚ and I are both native Texans, and we are looking to have a beautiful yet simple wedding on March 31, 2007. We would love to use TX wildflowers. Our colors are white, orange, and blue. Wo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.