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South Slope Fescue Removal Project – Starting Early September

We mentioned this briefly in the previous Signal, but figured it was worth revisiting. You may have noticed a large chunk of the grass along the South Slope drying out and dying over the last month. This is by design, and part of a large landscape project about the get underway!

During the May Board meeting, the Board approved a bid from the Association’s landscapers to remove all of the fescue grasses between Leatherwood Ct and Oakbrook Ct, and replace those areas with trees, bark, and cobble. The fescue grasses along the South Slope make up about 80% of our water bill for this area (which last year was almost $50k!).

The Board is prioritizing this project for two reasons: 1) the fescue grasses require a lot of water and are certainly a non-recreational turf area, so the board sees this as an ideal opportunity to replace non-recreational, high-water use grasses with something that is more appealing and also uses significantly less water, and 2) the south slope well is in bad shape and has not been working properly for the last year or so.

For background, the central well has historically provided us with about 20-25 gallons per minute of water, on average. The south slope well historically has netted us around 5-10 gallons per minute. In addition to that, the south slope area has significantly higher amounts of iron, and that ends up clogging the pump motor and well itself. This in turn requires frequent (and expensive) maintenance to ensure the well is working properly – but again, even when working as intended, it is bringing in a much smaller amount of water than the central well.

This is a long-winded way of saying that the south slope well might not be worth the continued cost for maintenance, or a hypothetical future cost to drill a new well. Because of this, the board is focusing on reducing the need to water the south slope, since it is purely decorative.

The south slope is made up of four irrigation controllers, all pulling water from the south slope water tank. This tank is filled up with district water and well water (when the well is working). This project in particular is attacking one entire irrigation controller area, and converting that away from the fescue grass into low-water use trees. The cobble added at the bottom is to help with erosion control – without that, dirt and mud during rains (or even heavy irrigation) might flow over into the street and storm water drains.

If this project successfully reduces our water bill (and enhances the visual of this area), the board will consider continuing this, or some fescue-removal equivalent, along the entire stretch of the South Slope as a means to reduce our need for water in this non-recreational area.

The project is scheduled to start around early September. Until then, the landscapers will not be watering this portion of grass along the south slope. Forgive my crudeness, but the deader the grass is, the fewer chemicals are needed to kill off and remove whatever is left! So not only are we saving money by not watering this grass that will be shortly removed, we’re reducing our environmental impact by using a much smaller amount of chemicals and herbicides!