New Annual Turfgrass Maintenance Program Underway in City Parks

The City’s Parks and Open Space Division rolled out a new turfgrass maintenance program this year that is aimed at improving turf health and drought resistance. With summer in full swing, turfgrass plays an increasingly important role for providing fun recreation space. The City manages over 15-acres of irrigated grass in 16 developed parks and improving these areas is a key focus for maintenance staff. Starting in the spring, specialized equipment was used to remove years of built-up dead grass that inhibited new, healthy growth. Known as dethatching, this process allows air and water to get into the rootzone by removing the thick layer of dead grass at the soil surface. Following dethatching, another type of machine is used to punch holes in the soil to a depth of 4-5-inches. This reduces the amount of soil compaction and further encourages air and water to reach the grass roots. Aerifying the root zone creates healthier grass that can tolerate reduced irrigation and common plant diseases.

Focusing on the turfgrass rootzone is important for developing healthy growth aboveground. Roots also need nutrients to produce lush, thick growth, and Parks staff feed the turf with an organic, slow-release fertilizer. City parks are now fertilized in the spring and fall, with special attention to ensure the correct amount of nutrients are applied and no runoff flows into our creeks and waterways. City staff also replaced 60 irrigation heads throughout our turfgrass to ensure better coverage and reduce the amount of wasted water. This summer, staff will be focusing on gopher control to further improve field safety and playing conditions.

For questions or concerns about park maintenance, please contact George Thomson, Parks and Open Space Manager at or (805) 961-7578.   

Pictured: “Armstrong Park – new turfgrass maintenance program focuses on plant health and water efficiency.”