Highway plantings may cut mowing costs

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two Mississippi agencies are working together to determine if growing native plants along highway rights of way will reduce maintenance costs while maintaining visibility and safety.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation and Mississippi State University’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center have sown native plant seeds along Mississippi 25 in south Oktibbeha County. The research team hopes native plantings will help reduce mowing expenses while also protecting water quality, preventing soil erosion and improving habitat for birds and butterflies.

An expected 20 percent reduction in the amount of mowing needed each year could save taxpayers more than $10 per acre. In fiscal year 2009, MDOT employees mowed 298,808 right-of-way acres.