Ju;y 14, 2011
The hot dry weather is taking a toll on everyone, including the city of Wichita's Parks and Recreation Department. The department is trying to find the best way to help city property survive the summer, without breaking the bank. It's a tough balancing act with some grass getting watered, while other grass is allowed to go dry.
The city has a wide variety of vegetation to manage in what's shaping up to be particularly tough year. It's been several years since there were so many days topping one hundred degrees.
Department director Doug Kupper says the city tries to be proactive in selecting grass varieties for parks, medians and right of ways. Some varieties are more drought tolerant, like the buffalo grass planted near Kellogg and Cowskin Creek. When summer weather turns really hot, buffalo grass goes dormant and turns golden, and revives when moisture returns.
In contrast, the city installed sprinklers on right of way areas like Kellogg and Oliver in order to keep that grass green. Green water bags, also called tree gators, encircle many city trees and allow a slow drip over several days.
City golf courses have their own challenges. Most courses use wells instead of city treated water, and some draw additional water from retention ponds.