Langford turfs boulevard grass for the artificial kind

The grass will always be green(er) in Langford as the city moves to replace city boulevard grass with artificial turf.

The replacement program is all about worker safety, Mayor Stew Young said. “You see these guys, they get on these red lawnmowers and they drive [on the median]. They’re right on the edge of traffic. I just think it’s unsafe and my staff agree,” Young said.

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The municipality has boosted its turf-replacement budget to $200,000 from about $50,000 as it embarks on what will probably be a five-year boulevard-grass replacement program, Young said.

It is targeted at narrow boulevards of two to three feet between sidewalks and roads, he said. “It kind of made sense. You don’t have to water them and you don’t have to fertilize them.

“The people now who are doing our maintenance are saying: ‘This is way safer. We don’t want to be in the middle of the road.’ ”

Langford is partnering with developers, providing them with a subsidy to install artificial turf instead of installing irrigation systems and sod, which costs about 60 per cent of the artificial turf, Young said.

After all, he said, once a development is completed, the municipality ends up assuming responsibility for maintenance of the new boulevard.

“The thing is I’m the one saddled with the maintenance once it’s put in,” Young said. “The extra cost of the artificial turf, it pays for itself in three years because of the [saved] cost of not sending out the crews every week or couple of weeks in the summer.”

The municipality is also trying to move toward planting palm trees and other trees that don’t shed their leaves, especially those planted near catch basins.

“We’ve got about 200 or 300 palm trees out there in Langford now and actually, they weathered well over the last 15 years. They’ve been phenomenal. There’s actually no maintenance on them. They don’t require watering once they get to be of a size. The same is true with the magnolias. They seem to do really well in pots or in little tree wells. They’re green year-round and they have the nice white flowers on them,” Young said.

The city put in a test strip of artificial turf about 10 years ago along Goldstream Avenue.

“Now the price has become a little cheaper. It looks a little more realistic,” Young said.

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