Fences are again up around the common at Lincoln Park as the National Park Service (NPS) moves to reseed the central fields.
Spokesperson Sean McGinty said that NPS is doing some routine overseeding on the three center grass panels at Lincoln Park.
Overseeding is the planting of grass seed directly into existing turf, without digging in the soil. The seeding is intended to result in more durable fields that is more tolerant of heavy use.
“Although it is routine maintenance, the panels need to be fenced off in order to allow the seeds to take, otherwise the root systems may be damaged, and the grass likely won’t survive,” McGinty said.
The goal is to reopen the area by Nov. 1.
“We can keep the park fully open more of the time if the grass stays healthy,” NPS notes in the project’s website, adding “If you [treat] the new turf with respect, these improvements will last a long time.”
NPS suggests that the community do the following to help keep grass healthy:
1. Watch for signs of wear and use different parts of the park to allow grass to regenerate.
2. Use paved paths through park rather than cutting through grass or dirt.
3. Try to stay off the turf after it rains. “If the ground feels wet and spongy, then the soils will quickly become compacted, and the grass roots will not be as healthy,” NPS notes.
4. Keep pets on their leash. “The wear and tear on turf from off-leash pets can be seen throughout the park,” NPS notes on their website. “This wear is the hardest for the park to manage because of the significant root damage and soil compaction it causes. Plus, its the law!”
Lincoln Park lawn, a story in four acts.
[July 2021, March 2022, July 2022, today] pic.twitter.com/B9BMClMQyw
— Bryan Rodda (@bryan_in_dc) October 16, 2022
Use of the central grassy field has been contentious for years, with some saying that the use of the area by off-leash dogs contributes to the denigration of the field. However, there has been no running water in the park for years, making it difficult to maintain lush green fields in the face of high-use of the park.
You can visit an NPS website on the overseeding process for more information: Turf Improvement – Capitol Hill Parks (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)