Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Margaret Lo
Submission Date June 12, 2023

STARS v2.2

Ball State University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.09 / 2.00 Michael Planton
Associate Director for Landscape and Environmental Management
Facilities Planning and Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
780 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed organically, without the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides 69.48 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 710.52 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 780 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:
Footprint of the institution’s buildings: 65.26 acres

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:
A large portion of this acreage is contained within research facilities managed by Biology and Natural Resources. The portion managed by Landscape Services is a short grass prairie north of campus. Weed control is done by annual burning or mowing. We do not have any disease issues and we encourage insect control through natural predators such as birds.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:

A copy of the IPM plan or program:

A brief description of the IPM program:
Ball State University’s Landscape Services implemented an IPM program in the spring of 1993. The University’s grounds were developed and are maintained in accordance with a four-tiered approach: 1) Set action thresholds, 2) monitor and identify pests, 3) prevention and 4) control. All areas of campus ( interior and exterior ) are covered by the IPM program, but the threshold levels may vary.

A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:
Native plants are used in landscape beds throughout campus and it is considered to be an integral part of the IPM program. Landscape Services maintains approximately 15.5 acres of native plants only, which include a short grass prairie, riparian creek banks, bioswale areas and green roofs. All new LEED building design and landscape schemes call for native plantings. Ball State is rated as a Class II Arboretum with over 7100 trees and 350 different species / cultivars. The arboretum is also recognized as one of the million pollinator sites in the United States. Landscape Services has continued the transition from bluegrass lawns to turf type tall fescue lawns, adding an additional 20 acres in 2022. This type of grass requires less inputs, such as water and fertilizer, while being more durable for foot traffic and less costly to purchase.

A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:
Nearly a third of the campus drainage system is designed to collect, clean and return rain water back into the natural system. Water is collected through drains and directed to a series of ponds, which also act as a landscape features. The water is aerated through a water feature and then allowed to flow through a creek planted with native plants. As the water flows it has additional storm drains that flow into it. This creek empties into a second pond, which allows the sediment to filter out before it flows over rocks to provide additional aeration and into another pond. This third pond acts as a retention pond allowing water to collect and slowly enter the creek again. This reduces excessive flow during storm events and reduces damage to the pond and creek banks. This creek flows through the city eventually draining to a major river. In all the ponds and creek have approximately 1.2 acres of native plantings. The University maintains 13,569 square feet of pervious pavement, which is cleaned every three to five years. Landscape Services has planted 35 acres of low mow grass to assist with rain water infiltration and reduce mowing. It also maintains 9.6 acres of short grass prairie and 3.9 acres of oak savanna. Landscape Services has a 5,000 gallon rain tank used to harvest the rain water from its roof. Over 15,500 gallons were collected and used on the campus landscape beds. In 2019 7100 square feet of green roofs were installed on a new academic building. Also in 2019 a 1000 cubic foot cistern was installed to collect rainwater from a new academic building. Rain water is not re-used but allowed to percolate back into the soil. In 2020 a cistern was installed with the construction of a new parking structure. This system collects and holds rainwater for 24 hours allowing debris to settle out before percolating into the ground. Debris is cleaned up on an as needed basis. In 2021 a 1/2 acre bioswale was built in conjunction with a new academic building. This swale is designed to hold rainwater and allow it to seep back into the ground. The swale is planted with native plants to provide an outdoor learning area for biology students. Campus streets, drives and parking lots are swept for debris beginning in March through November. Catch basins are vacuumed and treated for mosquitoes on an annual basis.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:
Ball State has maintained a composting operation since 1993. Brush, wood wastes, pallets, old furniture, leaves and manure are collected. Wood wastes, pallets, furniture and brush are ground and then mixed with leaves and manure for composting. Grass clippings are not collected from the campus lawns. The composting process takes approximately one year to complete. Approximately 14,000 cubic yards of finished compost was created in 2022. It is used to establish new lawns and landscape beds at new building sites. Wood tree wastes are ground and composted separately to be used as mulch in outlying landscape beds. Use of this mulch has reduced the amount of purchased bark mulch by 25%.

A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:
All campus parking lots and medians are planted with shade trees. One of the goals for the arboretum is to have at least 50% of the campus pavements in shade at any one time. Evergreens have been planted along various streets to reduce / eliminate drifting snow and at the corners of buildings to reduce wind shear. In 2022 Landscape Services planted 135 new trees throughout campus. As mentioned above Landscape Services has planted 35 acres of low mow grass. This grass is mowed once a month thereby reducing labor and equipment needs.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:
Hardwood bark mulch and composted tree waste are used to reduce the need for weed control and retain moisture in landscape beds and around campus trees. Plants chosen for installation are considered for not only their attractiveness but disease and insect resistance, ultimate size to reduce pruning thereby reducing labor and plant debris, ability to shade walks, parking lots and buildings or to provide windbreaks and to provide food / shelter for wildlife. The continued use of liquid ice melter has reduced the need for granular products. It stays in place, remains active for up to three days and reduces the amount of granular ice melter product needed. The liquid ice melter prevents snow & ice from bonding to the pavement thereby reducing the amount of effort and granular products needed to remove it. When sprayed on the road salt applications it has reduced the amount of bounce in the salt particles and thereby reduces the amount of salt needed, while keeping it in the lane instead of in the gutter. New building construction includes a closed liquid heating system in the pavement at the north and east entrances to buildings. This eliminates the need for ice melters, eliminates tracking of ice melters into buildings, thereby reducing custodial maintenance. It also reduces the need for hand shoveling and the wear on pavements. Switching to an organic fertilizer program has reduced the amount of fertilizer needed to maintain the campus lawns. The fertilizer used is a by-product of the poultry industry and helps to reduce waste generated from processing plants. There are several products purchased by Landscape Services which are made of recycled materials. Trash and recycling dumpsters are constructed of recycled plastic with custom lids to reduce worker injuries and without drainage holes to eliminate storm water contamination. Nearly all of the car stops used on campus are made of recycled plastic. This also reduced worker’s injuries due to the lighter weight. Plastic car stops last twice as long as concrete and can easily be recycled at the end of their life span. Landscape Services has begun to use a recycled plastic grid system in areas where foot traffic has created paths and ruts. These grids allow the grass to grow inside the cells without being killed by foot traffic thereby eliminating bare dirt which fostered weeds and erosion. Landscape Services has a program of using recycled plastic pallets for long term storage of products, particularly outside. Landscape Services has completed the renovation of multiple playgrounds owned by the University. All of the borders were built with recycled plastic borders. In lieu of plywood, recycled plastic mats have been in use for many years to protect campus lawns from equipment use and as a base for the set-up of events. The hydro-mulch used in campus lawn installations is a mix of 80% recycled paper and 20% wood fiber.

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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