Rustic Roads - Vegetation management

Vegetation along roadsides can serve many functions and can be either introduced or occur naturally. Driver safety, aesthetics and environment and other factors play into the layout, planting and maintenance along a roadside. Part of the criteria for becoming designated as a Rustic Road in Wisconsin has a lot to do with vegetation. This webpage is intended to provide an overview of the basic components of roadside vegetation. Links to specific vegetation topics are also provided for educational purposes.

Invasive Species

A non-native species to the ecosystem that causes economic, environmental or human health harm

The Wisconsin invasive species rule (Wis. Admin. Code NR 40) is aimed to prevent new invasive species from getting to Wisconsin, and enables quick action to control or eradicate those invasive species that are here but have not yet become established.

Native Plant Species

Species of plants that are naturally occurring to a particular ecosystem

Planting native plants supports the entire food web by providing food for insects, which feed other insects, birds, bats, small mammals, fish and other wildlife.


Anything that helps carry pollen from plant to plant for reproduction - Pollinators can include bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, birds, flies and small mammals.


An aesthetically pleasing blend of native grasses and broad-leafed plants that tolerate a wide range of soil types and growing conditions that are beneficial for wildlife and erosion control purposes

Prairies have a lower level of maintenance requirement than turfgrasses.

Trees and Shrubs

Woody plants that are either deciduous or coniferous (evergreen)


Turfgrasses are used when a higher level of maintenance such as mowing, and fertilization, etc. is required, such as for lawns and golf courses.