Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.62
Liaison Michelle Perez
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, San Diego
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Michelle Perez
Energy and Sustainability Manager
Utilities and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
1,158 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 0 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 1,158 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 1,158 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:

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:


UC San Diego uses and is consistent with the following definition of integrated pest management (IPM): a pest management strategy that focuses on long-term prevention or suppression of pest problems through a combination of techniques such as encouraging biological control, the use of resistant varieties, and the adoption of alternate cultural practices (such as modification of irrigation or pruning to make the habitat less conducive to pest development). Pesticides are used only when careful monitoring indicates they are needed according to pre-established guidelines, treatment thresholds, or to prevent pests from significantly interfering with the purposes for which plants are being grown.

UC San Diego promotes the following Best Management Practices for IPM: If pesticides are to be used, the campus uses the least toxic and most effective products and uses organic based products whenever possible. UC San Diego is dedicated to pursuing the reduction and elimination of the use of pesticides by utilizing the signal word "Warning and Danger." The campus is and will continue to be on the forefront of sustainable landscape management.

Also, Landscape Services employs the use of mulch for weed prevention and moisture retention thereby reducing the need to irrigate more often. Landscape technicians are also directed to pull weeds whenever possible to reduce the use of chemicals.

A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:

UC San Diego’s Long Range Development Plan and other approved planning documents define the use of native plantings. Excerpts: “Indigenous vegetation should be considered as a landscape fabric that has a coastal sage and chaparral integrity and heritage to it... The use of grass as a ground cover is discouraged except in sunny locations where students, faculty…may gather on a lawn. Planting areas, to the greatest extent possible, should be covered by a variety of xeric-tolerant, indigenous, and ornamental shrubbery and ground cover.”

The landscape management staff values the use of native plants; when reviewing plans for a new landscape, inclusion of appropriate native plantings are verified. UC San Diego landscape management employees are the unofficial watch dogs for the protection of existing native habitat adjacent to a new development. Common native plant identification questions are asked during the hiring of new Landscape Management staff.

The following site includes UC San Diego’s Master Plan, Neighborhood Plans, Guidelines and campus wide landscape Polices: http://physicalplanning.ucsd.edu

The following site includes all scope of work services by UC San Diego Facilities Management Landscape Services:


A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:


Physical Planning, Environment, Health and Safety, Capital Program Management, and Facilities Management ensure that the natural hydrology of our campus is maintained. The campus’ natural hydrology is highlighted in our long range development plan, and state and federal environmental regulations are followed. Construction projects and ongoing operations must follow UC San Diego Stormwater Management Plan requirements.

In terms of landscaping, UC San Diego has replaced approximately 6,650 irrigation heads with water efficient, low volume irrigation heads, resulting in an estimated annual savings of 7.2 MGAL/Yr. In addition, we have identified and are converting 352KSF of turf to native plants or mulch, resulting in an estimated savings of 11 MGAL/Yr.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:

Landscape Services at UC San Diego endeavors to reuse landscape material as much as possible. Tree stakes are stored when removed from established plants and re-used when new plantings new staking. Broken irrigation sprinklers are collected for recycling or exchanged under their warranty, replaced regularly with metered and more efficient versions. Excavated soil is stored for use as backfill in other projects. Green waste is composted at the City of San Diego's Miramar Greenergy.

A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:

Drought tolerant, native species are preferred, lowering the need for irrigation powered by energy on campus. Trees are planted for shading across campus so people have cooler outdoor spaces in which to meet and gather.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:

Muir College Athletic Field was converted to artificial turf, saving an estimated 2 MGAL/Yr of water (33% reduction).

UC San Diego has an Urban Forest Management Plan: http://rmp-wapps.ucsd.edu/sustainability/FM/PDFs/UCSD_Urban_Forest_Management_Plan.pdf

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

The Arbor Day Foundation has named UC San Diego a “Tree Campus USA.” Campus also owns four Natural Reserve sites: Scripps Coastal Reserve, Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve, Elliot Chaparral Reserve, and Dawson Los Monos Canyon Reserve. Scripps Coastal Reserve is a California Area of Special Biological Significance, a Marine Life Refuge and Ecological Reserve. in the past, UC San Diego received $2.65M to perform Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) protection work.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.