Best Grass Covered Dog Park
Maintaining a turf surface in a dog park with as much traffic as we have at Westgrove is a daunting task. Fairfax County Park Authority does not cover the additional cost of maintaining turf. Aerating, seeding, and mowing are all paid for by Westgrove PACK with funds donated by the users of the park.
We have had a ground cover established in the south end which thrives in hot summer weather. It holds up well to foot and paw traffic, is drought tolerant, and needs minimal maintenance during the season. Unfortunately, it dies off in September when the weather starts to get cool and leaves us with bare earth until April. That ground cover has typically gotten established in early spring.
This year, Fairfax County Park Authority, against the recommendation of the Westgrove PACK board, has ordered that the turf surface open on March 29. This is in keeping with FCPA policy for natural turf athletic fields. This decision was not based on the actual conditions at Westgrove park. Last fall, we seeded with tall fescue to hopefully have a cool weather grass that remains after the hot weather ground cover goes dormant. It remains to be seen whether that seeding will survive.
We planned to do a test planting of Zoysia, but weather conditions in 2018 were not favorable. That test is on hold pending approval by FCPA. Zoysia is expensive, but if it takes it could be a year-round solution that would end the need for annual reseeding.
After the south end opened in the spring and traffic in the north end was reduced, the native crabgrass quickly re-established itself and the north end is now green. The poor drainage in the north end is a continuing problem. For more information on our efforts to correct that problem, click here.
We are working with FCPA and other certified turf experts to develop long-term plans to continue to maintain the best possible turf surface using industry best practices to protect the local environment. For updates please be sure to check this website and the park message board.
The Board of Westgrove PACK would like to thank our Caretakers for supporting these efforts. We would not have a turf dog park without your generous support. If you would like to get more involved in supporting our turf maintenance and improvement efforts, please contact the PACK.