Plants for traffic islands?

gardeningfireman(5-NEOhio)March 8, 2008

The village I live in has an intersection with four "islands" in it. They are in full sun, have decent topsoil, and get very dry. What would the best plants be to plant in them? They would not get supplemental watering after getting established, and cannot be so tall as to obstruct drivers' line of sight. Thanks!

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

First check to see if your municipality regulates this activity. Seattle, for instance, has height restrictions and other rules.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 10:33PM
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gardeningfireman(5-NEOhio)

I would be planting the islands for the village. I need plant options to present them in my proposal. Height limitation is about 36 inches, so as not to obstruct the view of drivers.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 3:43PM
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gonativegal(zone 5a)

The city of Chicago has successfully populated many a median strip with the following plants:

At the top of the list: Prairie Dropseed - Sporobolus heterolepsis

New England Aster 'Purple Dome' - Aster Novae-anglae
Prairie Sundrops - Oenothera fruticosa
Wild Petunia - Ruellia humilis
Nodding Onion - Allium cernuum
Orange Coneflower - Rudbeckia fulgida (note: you want the straight species as the cultivar 'goldstrum' is prone to botrytis and should be avoided)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 4:34PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

Traffic medians around here go with yuccas, short ornamental grasses, stella d'oro daylilies, russian sage (you'd need one of the short varieties), black-eyed susans, sometimes knock-out roses.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:04AM
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laag(z6CapeCod)

Some things that come to mind are:

Function: are they for shade, screening, iconic, aesthetic, pedestrian control, vehicular navigation icon, drainage control, erosion control?

Safety: consider sight lines, physical nature of the plant, proximity to other activities and people, concealing bad actors.

Structural Durability: woody plants break when loaded or impacted, grasses and herbaceous perenials rejuvenate, what is present if there is a snow load.

Situational durability: polution, dog visits, compaction of soil, wind, light, road salt

Maintenance: water, fert, size, shape, catching trash, removing debris.

When you get through defining the criteria, plant selection should be a good attempt to address those equitably based on how you weight those values.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 10:43PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

coreopsis early sunrise. Blooms forever, likes dry and short. Hardy and attracts butterflies, which people like too.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 7:00PM
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