The Grass is Always Greener at The Wall

Scattered storms in the past couple of weeks have produced heavy rainfall totals and even isolated flooding in parts of the District, but Washington is not immune from the drought conditions affecting nearly two-thirds of the country. Reagan National Airport has a rainfall deficit of 7.16 inches this year and lawns across the area, and most of the grassy areas on the National Mall, are dry and brown. But grass at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is noticeably green and healthy, due to site preservation and maintenance efforts by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Until the drought conditions abate, or until water usage restrictions are imposed, VVMF has contracted with the nation’s largest lawn care company, TruGreen, to ensure that one of America’s most beloved landmarks remains among the most beautiful sites in Washington.

“Visitors to the National Mall like seeing lush, green, garden-like spaces, but these weather conditions make lawn maintenance tough,” says Jan C. Scruggs, president and founder of VVMF. “But, we take our stewardship responsibilities seriously, and we’ll do what we can. So far, compared to other sites, the grass at The Wall is holding up well.”

In 2009, VVMF began a major effort to renovate the grass and other landscaping at the Memorial site and surrounding areas, totaling 13.5 acres. The effort continued in 2010 as VVMF provided aerating, seeding, weed control and new sod in a few select areas. To fight the effects the current drought is having on the lawns, the TruGreen team will continue a program to monitor moisture levels three times each week and water the grass in areas not reached by the sprinkler system as needed.

“Many grassy areas of the National Mall are in such disrepair from lack of water that they are now being fixed at a cost of millions,” said Scruggs. “In fact, the total estimated cost of deferred maintenance on the Mall is estimated at $400 million. By doing our part to maintain and improve our section of the Mall, we are helping to avoid the need to repair the space–at a huge cost–in the future.”

The process for watering such a large site is an all-day affair and requires several crew members.

VVMF takes an active role concerning the physical needs of The Wall, The Three Serviceman statue and flagpole, and the rest of the three-acre site on which the Vietnam Veterans Memorial rests. Services provided by the VVMF include insuring The Wall against damages, providing copies of the Directory of Names to assist visitors on-site, as well as regular Wall cleaning and maintenance. The VVMF also adds names to The Wall and makes status changes for those whose remains have been returned home.

For more information about VVMF maintenance efforts, visit out site at http://www.vvmf.org/Memorial_Preservation.

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