Landscape Stewardship – Woodchips

Lately the Landscape Stewardship Department is receiving lots of questions and concerns about formerly grassy areas that are now covered with woodchips and, unfortunately, weeds.

The last Common Property Master Plan (CPMP) outlined recommendations about the removal of grassy areas to reduce labor, irrigation, and maintenance costs. The idea was sound; however, the execution did not meet expectations.

This is what happened based on what we see today:

  • Many grassy areas got removed regardless of availability of irrigation water.
  • Sections got removed to save watering cost that were never watered in the past. For example: along McNary Parkway by the Mountain Park Church, Walking Woods Drive, Eagle Crest Way, Hidalgo Street and others.
  • Lawns were killed using chemical methods (not removed properly) then woodchips were applied on top to suppress weeds and grass growth.
  • Currently these areas are covered with woodchips, grass clumps, and weeds.

The biggest misguided step was the removal/killing of grass everywhere at once.

Here are the steps that the new Landscape Stewardship Department are taking to complete the transformation of previously grassy areas to a successful ornamental or native planting beds:

  1. Picking one area and focusing on it until the transformation is complete.
  2. Removing grassy, weedy sections using mechanical methods such as removing sod with a sod cutter.
  3. Removing sod by hauling away the cut pieces. Applying woodchips alone will not suppress new growth.
  4. Tilling and amending the soil to support new plantings.
  5. Creating a planting plan, purchasing plants, and planting them. Best time to plant is in the fall, so the rainy season will boost the establishment of the new plants.
  6. Applying a thick layer of woodchips to act as mulch, a weed barrier, and a moisture retaining medium.
  7. Keeping up with maintenance, weeding, watering, and re-plantings as needed.
  8. Finding the next area to be transformed and repeating steps 1 through 9.

For more information on this process, please contact the Landscape Stewardship Department at or by calling 503-635-8333