PUTNAM COUNTY - The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is claiming that the grass along area state highways will recover.

Last week the Sentinel reported that the dead grass had been attributed to Mereier's out of South Point. Mereier's is an independent contractor chosen by ODOT to spray for weeds along the roads.

According to a press release from ODOT, the "brown grass along area highways" is expected to recover and green up according to the herbicidal spraying company contracted ODOT. Officials with ODOT District 1, based in Lima, met with representatives of Mercier's Inc. on Thursday to assess the condition of the roadside vegetation which was sprayed in July.

According to the Mereier's, the two, 4-D-based chemical that was sprayed to kill broad leaf weeds also contained a growth retardant. The spraying was performed in each of ODOT District 1's eight counties which are Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Wyandot.

"According to the contractor, the reaction we're seeing with the vegetation is typical with the chemical mixture used," said Kirk Slusher, Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 deputy director. "As expected, the grass first turns brown before it begins to recover and in the areas we've examined, that is occurring. We expect that to continue," he said.

ODOT regularly performs herbicidal spraying by contract. Vegetative retardants, which slow the growth of grass, are typically included in the mix to reduce the number of mowings each year.

"We can reduce our mowing by 50 percent in those areas where a retardant is applied," said Slusher. Retardants used in the past have mostly browned just the tips of the grass. "Their particular brand of retardant resulted in more browning than we're used to seeing," he said.

Slusher has stated that any grass that does not recover will be reseeded by Mereier's.

Residents have expressed concern over the browning.similar to that of Carl Siefker of Kalida.

"Why would they use that harsh of a chemical," asked Carl Siefker of Kalida. Siefker's fear is that the weeds will recover before the grass.

Jenni Litten of Columbus Grove shared a similar sentiment.

"Recover with grass or weeds?" asked Litten.