During summer 2017, Willamette’s grounds crew is experimenting with water-saving measures to help conserve resources. Using less water is in line with the university’s commitment to sustainable practices and part of a global trend to reduce water consumption.
What does “minimally watering” entail?
Minimally watering the grass means using just enough water to keep trees and shrubs healthy. This involves watering “zones” around campus during shorter periods of time, usually at night when the grounds aren’t utilized for activities and less water is lost to evaporation.
The grounds crew is experimenting with different water schedules over the summer to determine the right timing for sprinklers and amount of water. During periods of minimal watering, grass is likely to be dormant and turn brown.
Will green grass return?
Yes. Brown grass in the summer is in a dormant state and green grass will return once rains pick up again in the late summer and early fall. Shading by trees and the position of the sun around campus also affect the appearance of green vs. brown grass.
Will trees and shrubs be affected?
Phasing in a minimal watering schedule will help trees and shrubs adjust to a new watering pattern. This process can take more than one season - and the grounds crew is experimenting with the right mix of timing and amount of water.