Plant community response to reduced mowing regimens along highway right-of-ways in northeastern Mississippi.
Entsminger, Edward D.
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I investigated percent coverage, plant height, species richness, and woody stem density in plant communities in ten study plots during spring and fall (2010-2012) within 3 different treatments (continual mowings, one fall mowing, and one fall mowing with native wildflower seeds) on highway 25 right-of-way in Oktibbeha and Winston counties, Mississippi. I recorded 277 plant species including native and non-native forbs, legumes, grasses, rushes/sedges, and woody plants. Non-native agronomic grasses exhibited greatest coverage greater than 90 percent occurring in all treatments. Percent coverage of plants less than 0.46m height category exceeded 100 while, greater than 0.46m plant height categories averaged 55 percent. Woody stem density ranged from 7,772 year 1 to 10,025 stems/hectare year 2. I detected no significant differences in plant height or woody stems among treatments. One mowing per year retained agronomic plant cover for erosion control and annual cost savings up to 75 percent for roadside maintenance.