Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management utilizes native vegetation along with appropriate techniques to produce a cost-effective, environmentally-sound management alternative for roadside weed and erosion control. These techniques include prescribed fire, prescribed mowing and spot spraying.
Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management provides numerous benefits to Hardin County and its residents. By focusing on restoring diverse communities of prairie plants, our planted roadside areas contain durable, long-lived stands of vegetation that effectively combat noxious weed infestations. This occurs in several ways. Tall prairie vegetation shades out Canada Thistle and other weed seedlings that are difficult to control. Prairie root systems also deprive weed roots of water, nutrients and space that they need to survive.
Furthermore, diverse prairie communities reduce the effects of erosion and storm water runoff. Prairie root systems often penetrate 6-8 ft. but can extend deeper. This enables the plants to survive drought and high salt concentrations. In addition, deep root systems and dense above ground vegetation hold soil together and reduce storm water runoff by slowing surface water flow and increasing infiltration.
With a large amount of Iowa being used for agricultural purposes, roadsides also provide one of the last places to preserve our natural heritage. By planting native vegetation we ensure that these communities will survive into the future.