Capillary Hydroponics lawn saving city money and keeping park greener longer
HELSINGBORG, Sweden – The newly opened Ångfärjeparken has already become popular among the people of Helsingborg. The park has a world-unique self-watering lawn that uses technology found only here and in Hong Kong.
The first ever hydroponic lawn has deeper roots and better wear-tolerance. The technology in combination with a soil moisture sensor in the lawn means that residents get a healthier, denser, and greener lawn for a few extra months a year. In addition, the city saves costs on excess irrigation and there is zero leaching of nutrients.
The lawn in Ångfärjeparken is self-watering through the patented Capillary Hydroponics, the world’s first hydroponic system for lawns, and a Swedish invention. By allowing water to be quickly emptied and filled by capillary force, the roots ‘breathe’ while always having perfect moisture content without the need for sprinklers above ground.
“This system uses about 15 per cent of normal water demand on a lawn, and there is no leakage of nutrients or other agents to the environment, which are really sensational improvements from yesterday’s systems. It can also take much more wear and tear, making natural grass a viable option instead of artificial grass”, says Martin Sternberg, CGCS, CEO and founder of Capillary Concrete.
Soil moisture sensors from Sensefarm measure moisture levels in the sand under the lawn. Using a mobile phone, you can also view the water data in the Capillary Hydroponics system, such as oxygen levels and fertilizers.
“Hydroponics is potentially a transformational technology for anyone trying to grow grass,” Sternberg adds. “In sports fields, and areas of golf courses such as tee boxes, it could save huge amounts of water, and thus of money.”
“When this interesting new Capillary Hydroponics project came up, we were asked if we could measure the moisture content in the lawn. And of course, we jumped at the opportunity! We have acted as a development partner and supplier of the measurement technology, which we could call ‘the lawns Internet of Things’,” says Anders Hedberg, CEO of Sensefarm.
Residents will experience a lawn that can be used for a few extra months a year and that stays healthy even during difficult weather, such as drought or heavy rain, which is expected to increase in line with rising global temperatures.
“The technical advantages of this project are that those who take care of the grass get a very good control over the most important parameters that affect the grass throughout the year, from the temperature in the soil to the nutrients. Maintenance will be more efficient,” says Andréas Hall, development engineer at the city planning and technical services department in Helsingborg.
In terms of design, self-irrigation and measurement are neither seen nor heard, which contributes to a better visitor experience. In addition, no one risks getting wet feet from walking on the grass!
“It’s challenging and exciting to test completely new technologies, but at the same time it is completely in line with the City of Helsingborg’s values of ‘dare, test and do’. This is how we evolve the city for the better,” says Elisabeth Möllerström, landscape architect at the city planning and technical services department in Helsingborg.