WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Nestled between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, granite pillars stand against the buzz of the nation's capital. On quiet moments between swells of tourists and sightseers, the memorial has a particular sense of presence, drowning out white noise with the sound of bubbling fountain water. Every aspect of the memorial is designed to bring visitors to a place in which tragedies of the past are given a space to be remembered. Standing at the heart of Washington D.C.'sNational World War II Memorial, visitors realize every feature tells a story.
No decision regarding this space is made without thought and consideration. Managed by the National Parks Service, every design element, every pillar, even down the choice of grass selected for the landscape, is evaluated for the way the memorial is used by members of the public. As evidence of this, the National Parks Service recently installed 11,000 square feet of PremierPRO Bermudagrass, developed by Dr. Milt Engelke and Dr. Virginia Lehman, and licensed and marketed by Sod Production Services of Charles City, Virginia, as a part of a trial of turfgrasses varieties across a number of national parks. Bill Warpinski, co-owner and manager of Central Sod Farms of Maryland, Inc., a licensed producer of PremierPRO Bermudagrass based in Centreville, Maryland, grew the PremierPRO that is now incorporated into the landscape of the World War II Memorial. The grass was grown on the 1,200-acre sod farm that he and his brother, Tom, the company's president, run as business partners. Bill and Tom began growing PremierPRO in July of 2015. Warpinski was contacted by a contractor who he normally supplies with sod for the National Mall and was told that the Parks Service wanted to try something different at the World War II Memorial. They specifically requested a bermudagrass, and they wanted one that was Maryland certified. With such a highly trafficked site, Warpinski knew that growth rate and wear resistance would be important considerations to provide the best match. With the memorial's location in Washington, D.C., Warpinski also knew that cold tolerance would critical for success, and PremierPRO had demonstrated excellent cold tolerance in university tests. Warpinski was impressed with the regrowth rate of PremierPRO when he first chose to produce it, and knew it would grow quickly and allow the World War II Memorial to re-open its turf lawn to the public as quickly as possible. "It wasn't like anything else. It's not like any other bermudagrass we have," he said. "We harvested our foundation and six weeks later it's full again, completely covered."