Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Does CR 210 Median Makeover Mean? Better Than Average Peanut Plants

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Does CR 210 Median Makeover Mean? Better Than Average Peanut Plants

Article excerpt

Byline: Beverly Fleming

County Road 210 has been in the news for many reasons lately, most related to traffic woes. Now there is news that may gladden the hearts and eyes of those commuters that are calmed by looking at the scenery as they wait in line to enter Interstate 95.

Three medians directly east of I-95 were landscaped on Monday (March 17) by workers from University of Florida IFAS Extension and St. Johns County. The first median received a covering of Asiatic jasmine that, once established, will bloom with white flowers. The second received a planting of rhizomes of the perennial peanut and the third received a planting of sod of another variety of perennial peanut.

According to Tom Donovan, agricultural extension agent in St. Johns County, the perennial peanut is a legume that fixes nitrogen in the soil. It was brought to Florida originally as a hay crop and is similar to alfalfa as a feed. "This is a crop which needs no nitrogen fertilizer and once it is established, it is very drought tolerant," Donovan said.

The shorter variety of the crop also needs no mowing throughout the growing period and possibly may need mowing as few times as only once or twice per year to keep it looking good.

"We have used this elsewhere and it seems to do well. We are using a heavy planting here for the best results," Donovan said. Another location where it has been planted is at the two rest stops on I-95 at the northern end of the county. The bright yellow blossoms were spectacular during the summer there, according to Donovan.

County Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson, who also helped plant the rhizomes in the second median, said this is an experimental project to see how well the perennial peanut works and how cost effective it is. "It is just one part of St. Johns County going green," Stevenson said.

Eco-turf such as the Asiatic jasmine and perennial peanut are expected to save money by needing less maintenance mowing, no additional nitrogen fertilizer and by being drought tolerant as well as an attractive ground cover. …

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