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Capitol Hill lawn gets a facelift

By |  September 7, 2021 0 Comments
A before shot of the main lawn of Capitol Hill. (Photo: USGA)

A before shot of the main lawn of Capitol Hill. (Photo: USGA)

Visitors to Capitol Hill in the past few years may have noticed that its main lawn, The Pond Lawn, hasn’t been up to par.

“That lawn is the one everyone sees in pictures and where Inauguration is, and that area hosts four concerts a year plus regular tourist traffic,” said Elliot Dowling, agronomist in the Northeast region for USGA. “They never had really good-looking grass between the four concerts a year that it hosts and foot traffic, so there was a desire to have a nice, attractive backyard that would look good in photos and on TV.”

About three years ago, Capitol Hill called in the USGA to do an evaluation of the area. While many ideas were discussed, it was eventually decided that bermudagrass was the way to go because it can stand up to the heat, humidity and foot traffic that defines D.C.

An after shot of the main lawn of Capitol Hill. (Photo: USGA)

An after shot of the main lawn of Capitol Hill. (Photo: USGA)

“It wasn’t until I was walking the area and saw a bare patch with a patch of common bermudagrass that a lightbulb went off that we’re in downtown Washington, D.C., in the upper Transition Zone,” Dowling said. “There are golf courses all around with bermudagrass, so why would we not do that here, especially considering how busy they are in the summer?”

In spring of 2019, the crew there sprigged Tahoma 31. In the coming months, the team will interseed bluegrass into the bermudagrass to create a permanent two-grass system called bluemuda so that they’re green all year since the Tahoma 31 typically goes dormant for about a month or two in the winter.

Eventually, the main lawn of Capitol Hill will include a mix of bluegrass and bermudagrass. (Photo: USGA)

Eventually, the main lawn of Capitol Hill will include a mix of bluegrass and bermudagrass. (Photo: USGA)

All in all, Dowling said he’s proud of the work the USGA and the Capitol Hill team have accomplished on the lawn.

“People will comment on how good that lawn looks, and it’s so photographed, whether it’s tourists or people putting that image on social media or the concerts, Inauguration Day and any other government function televised for the whole world to see,” Dowling said. “It means a lot to them to have a lawn that they’re really proud of. For me, I was proud to be a very small part of that operation to make their experience that much better.”

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