Roadside vegetation management through selective removal of undesirable plants was practiced on 15 miles of south central Wisconsin roadsides during 1960-77. Intensive management and measurement were conducted on 3 of these miles comprising 11 segments. The management objective was to restore and/or enhance the quality of the existing roadside cover at a lower cost than that of conventional maintenance for natural resource conservation purposes, with emphasis on wildlife but also including soils, plant and animal diiersity, esthetics, and noxious weed control. Plants found to be objectionable or whose anticipated growth would be objectionable on the roadsides, including most trees, were killed or inhibited by cutting, herbicide application, or both. Herbicide use was discontinued in 1969. Estimates of areal coverage by woody taxa (genera or species) and prominent forbs were obtained annually or biennially to document changes. Strong "increasers" were grape, sumac, plum, and Virginia creeper. Elderberry, rose, black locust, Populus, and elm decreased substantially. some taxa achieved comparative stability after an initial period of change: sumac, plum, dogwood, poison ivy, and oak. Rubus was unusual, showing great initial response, presumably due to tree removal, followed by a steady decline. The practices yielded satisfactory shrub development where adequate stocks were present, and significant values were realized in 5-10 years. Cover indexes exceeding 80% were obtained on some segments during the 18 years with low costs and no resort to planting or seeding. The results of this study further reinforce the justification for maintaining existing natural shrubby roadsides as a means of preserving and enhancing environmental quality. The environmental value of this method is particularly important at a time when mowing and debrushing are costly users of energy.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

    P.O. Box 7921
    Madison, WI  United States  53707
  • Authors:
    • Rusch, A J
    • Kabat, C
  • Publication Date: 1980

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: 30 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00331369
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Tech Bull No. 117
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 15 1981 12:00AM