Drought-resistant plants used in Lilburn project

LAWRENCEVILLE - An urban landscaping project in Lilburn will feature drought-resistant grasses and trees.

While it won't be until December or January that the plants make it into the ground, downtown Lilburn's streetscaping project will have foliage that doesn't require much water - or work.

The street trees will be 24 hightower willow oaks and the emerald zoysia grass won't be harmed if the skies remain dry.

"They do pretty well in an urban environment where they're not going to get a lot of water," Lilburn city planner Kevin McOmber said.

McOmber said Lilburn had paid attention to its water consumption before the drought and that the urban nature of the project, where there will be sidewalks, benches and other impervious surfaces, means using drought-resistant fare makes even more sense than usual.

Landscapers will use gator bags, slow-release bags filled with water, to water the trees for the first 30 days, while outdoor watering is still permitted. McOmber said the bags will help establish the trees.

The foliage will also be planted while the plants and trees are dormant, so they will use less water than would be the case if they were planted while they were blooming, McOmber said.

The streetscaping project is part of a revitalization in Lilburn's downtown that includes a Main Street mixed-use project. McOmber said he hopes it will help set the stage for future development in the area.

"We're really excited to have it happening," he said.