Native plant restoration is an important part of IRVM, which is used by the Iowa DOT and many Iowa counties. IRVM includes the planting of native plants in the right-of-way, judicious use of herbicides, selective mowing, mechanical tree and brush removal, and the prevention and treatment of erosion. Because Iowa Code 318.3prohibits the destruction of plants placed within the right-of-way, it is illegal for landowners to mow plants that have been planted by the state or county as part of an IRVM program. The state or county is responsible for mowing and managing these native plants.
A permit must be issued by the DOT before harvesting grass within the state maintained highway right-of-way. Clickhere for more information.
Iowa Mowing Law
Iowa Code 314.17, which includes county secondary roads as well as state primary and interstate highways, extends the existing no-mow period, now from July 1 through July 15 to provide an additional two weeks for hatching and development of young ground-nesting birds and pollinators.
Within 200 yards of an inhabited dwelling
On right-of-way within one mile of the corporate limits of a city
To promote native species of vegetation or other long-lived and adaptable vegetation
To establish control of damaging insect populations, noxious weeds and invasive plant species
For visibility and safety reasons
Within rest areas, weigh stations and wayside parks
Within 50 feet of a drainage tile or tile intake
For access to mailbox or for other accessibility purposes
On right-of-way adjacent agricultural demonstration or research plots
Because some noxious weeds and invasive plant species are best controlled by mowing early in the growing season, one of the mowing law expectations allow targeted mowing of noxious weeds and invasive plant species before July 15. For example, one effective technique for controlling invasive wild parsnip is to mow around the bolting stage in mid-May to early June. However, mowing after weedy or invasive plants have gone to seed [after mid-June for wild parsnip] can actually spread the plants and do more harm than good. Contact your county weed commissioner for more information on weed identification and appropriate method to control noxious weeds and invasive plants. Also contact your county engineeror roads side manager to ensure you are not mowing native pants that have been planted as part of an Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management(IRVM) program.