The hot, dry weather, which has sparked a moderate drought in the D.C. area, is taking a toll on the grass and trees in the nation’s front yard — the National Mall.
“We have lost quite a few trees throughout the park, especially younger trees that didn’t have a well-established root system, and, of course, nonirrigated areas are mostly brown,” said Mike Litterst, National Park Service spokesman.
“Even areas that we do irrigate are experiencing some challenges,” he said.
Just three years ago the monumental job of restoring turf on the National Mall was completed. The work included installation of an irrigation system linked to four cisterns with a capacity to hold 1 million gallons of rainwater.
“As a result of the moderate drought, those cisterns are completely dry and … we are having to resort to municipal water to irrigate the (National) Mall,” Litterst said.
Green turf stretching from the edge of the reflecting pool at the Capitol, across the Washington Monument grounds to the Lincoln Memorial provides more than a photogenic, emerald-green natural carpet. It’s also good for the environment.
“Healthy turf improves air quality … can actually offset carbon … and environmental heating is also offset by healthy turf grass,” Litterst said.
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