Archive for Sunday, July 29, 2001

Roadside blooms

July 29, 2001

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Letting flowers and native grasses grow along Kansas highways has both aesthetic and economic advantages.

What a great idea to let some Kansas wildflowers bloom along the state's highways.

Not only would the flowers beautify the landscape they would serve some practical purposes. Part of the goal is to reduce mowing and the accompanying expense. Other states also have found that having native grasses close to highways act as a natural snow fence which would reduce the driving hazard of blowing snow as well as the need for snow removal.

The state Audubon society is working with the Kansas Department of Transportation to designate areas where reduced mowing could be tried. State officials still expect to mow at least a 15-foot wide strip along both sides of the highways and every strip would be mowed at least every three or four years to keep it from becoming overgrown.

Already, there are patches along highways where purple coneflowers, big bluestem and other native plants add color and texture to the roadside. It's a pleasant sight in our increasingly paved landscape.

It's a small thing, but allowing more flowers to bloom along state highways is a nice touch. Combined with the added benefit of saving money on maintenance, it sounds like a win-win deal.

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