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U.S. Capitol Turns to Golfers for Turf Help


By Dan Hounsell Grounds Management
U.S. Capitol

Grounds managers often look outside their organizations when they face a tough challenge, whether it’s related to staffing, equipment, or turf. When the organization in question is the federal government, it only makes sense that the outside grounds care help from one of the nation’s foremost authorities on turf issues.

United States Golf Association (USGA) grass experts and agronomists recently helped renovate grassy lawns that surround the U.S. Capitol Building. Bermuda grass, Tahoma 31, was chosen to re-grass the Capitol Hill lawn around the same time fences came down around the U.S. Capitol Building six months after the Jan. 6 riot, according to WUSA.

Bermuda grass is commonly used at golf courses in the region because of its low maintenance, and ability to stand up to the hot temperatures in the D.C. area, making it ideal to use.

The Architect of the Capitol needed a grass that could stand up on its own with little water, as well as few nutrients, insecticides, fungicides or fertilizers, said a USGA agronomist, adding that once the turf was established, it couldn’t require a lot of maintenance.

The vast grassy areas at the National Mall and U.S. Capitol Building in D.C., have similarities to golf courses, including comparable irrigation and drain line systems. Also, golf courses and tourist sites in the nation's capital are heavily foot trafficked areas. The USGA has worked three years with the Architect of the Capitol as the lawns became dilapidated due to the wear and tear from tourists, and concerts held on the lawns.

The lawns of the Capitol were a mixed-match of grass types thrown down through the decades that compounded the aesthetic issues the lawns face, and having some Bermuda already growing there helped the USGA determine the grass to use.

Dan Hounsell is Senior Editor, Facility Market.

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