Incorporating Native Flora in Southeastern Transportation Corridors
Research Idea Scope
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia will cooperate with the Georgia Department of Transportation to evaluate and trial eight regionally significant native species that will be incorporated into wildflower seed mixes along southeastern right-of-way enhancement projects. Native species will be selected on the basis of regional nativity, aesthetic appeal, and potential to thrive in transportation corridor conditions. Production and establishment protocols will be defined and seed sources will be identified or created for these native flora. These production protocols will be used to provide regional nurseries with source material and to create native seed mixes specific to our ecoregions.
Urgency and Payoff
The incorporation of native flora into our roadside corridors is of vital importance to the ecology of wildlife and pollinating or migrating insects, and to a growing culture of people who demand the use of regionally appropriate flora instead of exotic and potentially invasive plant material. By establishing standards for production of target native flora this project will serve to put valuable native plants into production, ultimately generating a supply of material that is currently non-existent or cost prohibitive in the nursery trade. Increasing availability in limited supply channels will decrease costs of native flora plugs and seed and make the inclusion of certain species into right-of-way enhancement projects a possibility. The project will also serve to assist in the development of a procedural template for connecting producers and consumers of native seeds which can ultimately be used by other states. Developing planting and implementation protocols for each species will also provide project managers with the necessary information about standards for planting that translates into the keys for successful establishment of native flora. The production protocols determined through the implementation of this project will help to pave the way for the use of additional native flora along our roadsides.
Meghan Hedeen, Georgia Department of Transportation Email: