San Diego Veterans Cemetery Looks Different with Most of the Grass Dead

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma (photo: NBC)

In August 2012, EasyTurf, a FieldTurf company, touted its artificial grass installation in a section of San Diego’s Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery as a way to save taxpayers thousands of dollars on maintenance and watering.

A year later, the veterans cemetery has found another way to save money: turn off the water and let the grass die. It’s a move that hasn’t set well with visitors, who aren’t used to seeing the usually green 77-acre finely-manicured cemetery-by-the-sea looking brown and abandoned. The cemetery has been a historical landmark since 1932 and people have been buried there since the 1840s.

Most of the grounds are affected.

Cemetery Director Tom Mullen said a big chunk of the landscape greenery is dead on purpose. Gravestones are being realigned in certain sections, so the ground has to be prepared just so. They turn off the water and use Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer to finish the job.

A mesh grid is being laid underground section by section, with each section being treated before work begins. Eventually fresh sod will be put down. The project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2014.

But a larger chunk of real estate involves an upgrade to the irrigation system, which is plagued by broken valves. Mullen said every valve is being replaced and they don’t aim to be done before August. U-T San Diego reported that the Veterans Administration was aware of the problem in the fall, but couldn’t get off-the-shelf parts and is still tracking down valves.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Ft. Rosecrans Looks Bad This Summer (by Jeanette Steele, U-T San Diego)

Dead Grass! (by Michael Turko, KUSI News)

Veterans Cemetery's Unsightly Grounds Don’t Meet “Shrine Standards” (by Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times)

Concerns Raised over Condition of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (by Bob Lawrence, ABC San Diego)

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