Establishing Native Grasses Along Maryland Roadways

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The use of native grasses and other meadow species in roadside rights-of-way is perceived as environmentally and economically beneficial. There is a need for more information about successful establishment procedures appropriate for the mid-Atlantic region. This study examined the use of companion species and weed control treatments for native grass establishment in three distinct regions of Maryland. A mixture of eight perennial native grasses planted included big bluestem (Andropogon gerordii Vitman), bluejoint (Colomogrostis conodensis (Michx.) Beauv.), broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus L.), deertongue (Dichonthelium clondestinum (L.) Gould), eastern gamagrass (Tripsocum doctyloides (L.) L.), indian grass (Sorghostrum nutons (L.) Nash), little bluestem (Schizochyrium scoporium (Michx.) Nash), and switchgrass (Ponicum virgotum L.). A variety of annual and perennial non-native and native grasses and two legumes planted as companion species, as well as various weed control treatments (mowing and the herbicides imazapic ((±)-2-[4,5-dihydro-4-methyl-4-( I -methylethyl)-5-oxo- I H-imidazol-2-yl]-5-methyl-3 pyridinecarboxylic acid) and triclopyr ([(3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyl)Oxy] acetic acid) with 2,4-D (2,4- dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) were tested for their utility in aiding establishment of the native mixture. Companion and weed control treatments had variable effects, depending on individual species, site and climatic conditions.