This study evaluated mowing regimes, changes in native and non-native plant communities, deer presence in the research plots,and public perception of various management practices on ROWs. No significant difference was found in the height of vegetation 3 weeks after each mowing between research plots mowed 4 times per year and plots mowed only once per year in uplands or lowlands. Native plants increased in plots mowed once per year and deer preferred the frequently mowed plots where clovers and vetches had been seeded. Increasing the carrying capacity of the lowlands with more extensive plantings of clover and vetch may attract deer, thus encouraging them to browse and use the underpasses beneath bridges and making the ROWs safer. The public survey found strong support for wildflowers on ROWs and a distaste for litter. Further, respondents would tolerate a less manicured ROW if it saved money, made the roads safer, and hid litter.
Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), Jackson, MS
College of Forest Resources
Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Forest and Wildlife Research Center
roadside plants, native plants, mowing, right of way (ROW), safety, white-tailed deer, finance, public relations, property management, highway design, environment
Guyton, J. W., J. C. Jones, and E. D. Entsminger. 2014. Alternative Mowing Regimes’ Influence on Native Plants and Deer. SS228 Final Project Report, Report No. FHWA/MDOT–RD–14–228. Final Project Report to Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), Jackson, MS. July 2014. 79pp. http://trid.trb.org/view.aspx?id=1340960