Painted green, green grass of Oak Harbor

From left, friends David Valentine, Kelsey Taylor and Emma Spear take a look at the grass along Barrington Drive. Spear picks up a green rock.  - Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times
From left, friends David Valentine, Kelsey Taylor and Emma Spear take a look at the grass along Barrington Drive. Spear picks up a green rock.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times

With summer heat turning lawns brown, city of Oak Harbor employees are experimenting with something new to make sure grass along a roadside curb remains a lush shade of green.

Workers spent Monday spraying green paint on the grass on the side of the recently completed addition of Barrington Drive to cover up the brown grass.

The city purchased one gallon of the “green lawn paint” for approximately $200 from GrassBGreen. That amount covered approximately 4,700 square feet of grass that is alongside the extension of Barrington Drive, which was installed several years ago to connect the road through to Heller Street, said Rich Tyhuis, operations manager of streets and water.

He said the painting project is a water conservation experiment to see if it will provide an alternative for keeping grass green.

“We just wanted to do a test run,” Tyhuis said, adding the city might buy another gallon just to complete the grass project on Barrington.

He said the stretch of Barrington Drive was a good place to conduct the experiment. When the street was installed, landscaping was added but an irrigation system for the grass between the curb and sidewalk wasn’t. The city currently doesn’t have any money budgeted for an irrigation system. Tyhuis said such a system would cost an estimated $27,000 if city workers completed the installation. If the city had to contract installation to a company, he said it would cost even more.

The paint acts as a dye and doesn’t harm the grass as it remains in its summer dormant stage. Tyhuis said the paint should remain until the grass starts growing again and workers mow it. He said he heard about the dye through articles about its use in Seattle.

More of the town could be painted green in the future. Tyhuis said the parks department is monitoring the project to see if the paint is suitable for other areas that don’t have an irrigation system.

“We’re trying all different ways to not use as much water,” Tyhuis said.

Green grass in a larger map

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