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Roadside Vegetative Management Project

This research focuses on all aspects of roadside vegetation management, using an Integrated Vegetation Management approach. The aim is to preserve as much desirable vegetation as possible while minimizing undesirable vegetation and maintaining a desirable aesthetic, within the confines of limited resources.

The Penn State Vegetation Management Project was initiated in 1985 to assist the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Bureau of Maintenance and Operations in the ongoing development of its roadside vegetation management program. The original focus was on the evaluation of materials and methods for selective brush control, Canada thistle management in crownvetch, and growth regulation of roadside tall fescue turf; and to serve as an unbiased information source for the evaluation of emerging vegetation management technologies.

Through continued funding from PennDOT, the project focus expanded to include all aspects of roadside vegetation management, using an Integrated Pest Management, or more specifically, Integrated Vegetation Management approach. The aim is to preserve as much desirable vegetation as possible while minimizing undesirable vegetation and maintaining a desirable aesthetic, within the confines of limited resources. Examples of some of the ongoing research and demonstrations include management of specific weed species such as tree-of-heaven, Japanese knotweed, and Canada thistle; evaluation of alternative plant materials for roadside conservation plantings such as native warm-season grasses and forbs; and evaluations of corridor management approaches, equipment, and herbicides.

We have further expanded our efforts through funding from product manufacturers, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. We strive to be a resource for all land managers in Pennsylvania, and the Northeastern U.S. We are one of the few Land Grant-based groups with applied vegetation management expertise in this region.