Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sandy soil and drought hurt median on Research Parkway

QUESTION: On Research Parkway in Briargate, a lot of money was obviously spent on planting a large number of trees in the median a few years ago. During the last couple of years of drought, it appeared that they were not being watered at all. The median now is pathetic looking with dying trees and dead grass. I could understand cutting back on watering, but it seems like it was taken to an extreme. Who is responsible for the median on Research, and are they planning on removing the dead trees and actually watering what’s left of a once beautiful median?
— Marci

ANSWER: The city parks department maintains the medians through the Briargate Special Improvement District.

Parts of the median succumbed to drought, watering restrictions, dry winters/springs and a “very sandy soil condition,” according to Rick Geiman, special improvement district administrator for the parks and recreation department. “It’s a challenge.
Some of the trees are struggling and weaker trees have been removed,” Geiman said. The sandy soil is a major factor because, he said, “the water flows right down past the root zone. The plants will get some water but it will go beyond the roots and isn’t available to the plants or trees.” Grasses are a native, non-irrigated blend which, Geiman said, are meant to tolerate drought better but are suffering from the soil condition as well. Pumps are being installed that inject liquid fertilizer into the sprinkler system “so that every time we water we are fertilizing and that could improve the soil over time.” Medians weren’t watered during the winter because sprinkler systems were winterized and turned off.


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