Roundabout Plants Popping Up By Next Spring

Ozark Witch Hazel
Ozark Witch Hazel

Cape Girardeau’s newest roundabout should have more plantings in it by spring.

Local and regional leaders cut the ribbon on the new Route W and Lexington Avenue intersection on Sept. 24. Since then, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has planted little bluestem and sideoats grama grasses as a dormant seeding on the roundabout. Once spring arrives, the MDC will plant additional native grasses and wildlflowers in addition to Ozark Witch Hazel shrubs in the very center of the roundabout.

“We look forward to emplacing a native planting that adds beauty to the city of Cape Girardeau,” said Bob Gillespie, Natural History Biologist, Southeast Region, Missouri Department of Conservation.

The Missouri Department of Transportation Southeast District’s Regional Coordination Team (RCT) recently met to discuss the roundabout project and MDC’s future contributions to the space. Both the RCT and MDC support the use of native plant covers for the green space in and around the new roundabout. The groups discussed using native warm-season grasses (NWSG) including bluestem and sideoats.

“In this instance, planting NWSG is a great way to stabilize critical areas and add interest to engineered landscapes,” said Gillespie.

Bluestem and sideoats grama grow tall, reaching heights from 1 to 3 feet or more. The group said bluestem and sideoats were some of their favorites of the four primary NWSGs used in prairie restoration projects due to their unique coloration and aesthetically-pleasing nature, along with their ease of planting and growth.

In the 20-foot diameter center circle of the roundabout, the group recommended planting native shrubs including Ozark witch hazel.

The entire project area will be a 78-foot diameter circle, encompassing about 0.10 acres.

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