Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Phil Valko
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Washington University in St. Louis
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Kent Theiling
Grounds & Landscape Design Manager
Facilities Planning and Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
363 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses a four-tiered approach 89.74 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an organic land care standard or sustainable landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials 17.90 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 107.64 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds (e.g. the footprint of buildings and impervious surfaces, experimental agricultural land, areas that are not regularly managed or maintained):

Areas not included in the listing of managed grounds:
- building and impervious surface not included (both campuses)
- Tyson Research Center (2000 acre experimental and ecological research land)

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:

Currently The University does not have a "documented" IPM program however there are several practices that are utilized to support IPM presence. The presence of plant pests are regularly monitored and identified. We like to take a proactive approach with IPM which can be accomplished in a number of ways. We select the right plant plant for the right place which is one way to reduce pest activity. Removing the conditions that promote pest activity is another way to be proactive with IPM. Being conscious of ways that insects spread, managing irrigation, and educacting people working on campus really do make a differenece. If Focal Pointe does need to use a chemical pesticide, the lower toxicity product is always used first to observe its effectiveness before advancing with other product strengths. If there is a situation where we can use physical means to control a pest, we do it. Small pieces can be removed from an infected plant before the pest takes over it entirely. Sometime we use a high pressure water hose nozzel to physically remove the pests from a plant. Focal Pointe always tries to use an organic product form of control whenever possible. For example a product called Organocide is used which is an insecticide, miticide, and fungicide that contains sesame oil and is safe for bees. We also use granular products that are systemic, for example Merit is a nicotine based insecticide that is used with trees. This way there is no hazardous overspray and the pest is specifically targeted. An imporatant IPM practice that is utilized on campus is that we do not do blanket pesticide applications. Pests are specifically targeted and we weigh the need for control.

Our University Grounds Manager/horticulturalist works closely with the University's landscaping maintenance contractor to continually monitor the grounds to anticipate and prevent insect and disease-related issues. The grounds team first looks at doing something culturally or non-toxic: adjust irrigation, soil amendment, move plant to a more ideal spot, use pest free plant material, high pressure water, remove by hand, organic control, etc. Any pesticides necessary are specific to the target and used minimally. A turf specialist is utilized to ensure only targeted applications are used, only when needed.

When needed, their treatments are ecological approaches, not blanket applications. When planning landscapes, plants are selected for disease and insect resistance. As a result, the landscape rarely requires chemical applications for pest control or additional nutrients.

In sum, the approach is:
- Set Threshold limits for pest
- Identify/Monitor
- Prevent
- Control/Treatment

Current pests identified as concern:
- Lacebug, spot treat specific trees affected
- Bagworms, hand pick and/or spot treat
- Webworm, treatment depends on the severity of the tree damage
- Rabbits, using plant material non-palatable to rabbits in high impact areas to push rabbits into secondary areas.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:

A brief description of the organic land standard or landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials:

Snow Way, a small prairie restoration project located within the dense, urban campus, is managed without any chemical applications. The space is mowed once annually.

Other areas that are manages organically include: Snow Way Hill, Family Learning Center Meadow, Seasonal Annual Beds, Forsythe Perennial Beds, South 40 Green Roof Perennial Beds, McMillian Green Roof Perennial Beds, Millbrook Rain Garden, Eads Hall Rain Garden, Harbison House Rain Garden, Swamp Field Rain Garden, Hillman Bioswale, Seigle Hall Rain Garden, Gregg Hall Rain Garden, College Hall Rain Garden, Eliot House Rain Garden, South Campus Rain Garden, Lofts Green Roof/Rain Garden, Hope Plaza Perennial Beds, 4515 Rain Garden and TAB Rain Garden. No chemicals, except organic fertilizer (only when necessary) will be used in natural areas, rain gardens, green roofs, bioswales or other sustainable plantings.

In the areas above (rain gardens, bioswales, bio retnetion areas, and all annual beds), no chemical pesticides are used and products such as Mroots, C20, and compost are used as organic fertilizers.

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

As landscapes are renovated on the campus, University policy encourages the use of native and ecologically appropriate plants, where possible, in replacing non-native species. The grounds team is aggressively replacing invasive plant species at the university with native and adaptive species. This is an ongoing practice which we annually evaluate as we renovate older campus landscapes. We continue to eliminate turf areas when there is an opportunity to do so.

When practical Focal Pointe/Grounds utilizes onsite plant material to divide and transplant to fill in other areas. The team actively looks for opportunities when possible. A select list from 2017 transplant projects include:
-Removed Panicum grasses from south side of Edison Theater (safety reasons) and transplanted to the west side of baseball to eliminate the need of mowing along fence.
- Removed Hydrangeas and Panicum grasses at Whittaker (construction reasons) and transplanted various places around campus
- Divided and transplanted existing plant material in Newmark garden to fill in bare areas
- Focal Pointe and Med staff divided and transplanted several plants on Med Campus and Hope Plaza.
Plant Stewardship is very important on the Danforth Campus, just look at was accomplished on the East End Transformation project in regard to this. 60 Trees were transplanted from the East End onto the danforth campus in order to preserve them, which is a regular practice if conditions warrant. If there is a construction project that is going to interfere with the existing landscaping, we try to save as much as possible through transplanting. This definitely takes a proactive approach and reduces the amount of money spent on plants in the future. Dividing plants up and transplanting them in areas that have no plants is also a common practice of plant stewardship. We are also striving to eradicate all the invasive plant species on campus and replace them with more sustainable beneficial plants. Last fall, 2019 all the remaining Buckthorn was removed from campus with plans this spring to remove the rest of the invasive Honeysuckle. We are working on removing wintercreeper every chance we get and have the Ornamental Pears in our crosshairs.

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

Washington University has undertaken over a dozen landscape projects in the last five years that incorporate on-site storm water management, including engineered bioswales to capture and filter roof and hardscape run-off, pervious pavers, green roofs, and deep rooting plants. The off campus apartments (Loop Lofts) has a cistern system to collect and utilize rainwater.

Focal Pointe is working with grounds to top-dress turf areas with compost which will intern improve soil structure, water infiltration and holding capacity. In 2017 we applied compost to Sled Field, eroded hillside between Baseball and Gregg Hall, 4515 Bld. School of Medicine, and along McKinley/Clayton rd sidewalks at School of Medicine. We have plans to do additional areas in 2018.

Focal Pointe has an on staff certified landscape irrigation auditor, with plans for additional technicians to go through certification this year. Our technicians routinely look for improvements to the irrigation system for better coverage, repair leaks, increase efficiencies and reduce water use.

Irrigation Initiatives 2017-2018
- Installed new weather station and repaired 2 weather stations
- Replaced communication modules on controllers to be able to use weather station data
- Installed rain sensors on all residential properties
- Replaced/repaired 89 MP nozzles throughout campus this fall
- Replaced 10 rotors on oak allee with MP rotator nozzles.
- Moving forward we look to change additional spray heads over to MP rotator nozzles for better water efficiencies.
- Plan for spring is to repair flow sensors that will communicate to the central control when there is a leak.

A brief description of the institution's approach to materials management and waste minimization (e.g. composting and/or mulching on-site waste):

The University landscaping and tree-service contractors recycles 100% of our landscape/lawn-generated trimmings and clippings and mature tree pruning and removals. All mulch used in the landscape is from recycled sources.

All lawn clippings and a portion of leaves are mulched onsite to allow natural decomposition, returning nutrients to soil and improve structure.

All plastic potting material is recycled or returned to growers.

Native vegetation is used as green mulch around buildings to eliminate or minimize the use of other mulches (harwood bark, rock, etc). In 2020, the grounds maintenance contractor has been mowing more of the perennial beds and leaving the clippings to introduce more organic material into the soil once it decomposes.

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

We have constructed 4 major green roofs, totaling about 1 acre of green space, including the completion of the largest green roof to date that came on line with the development of a new underground parking garage. The campus is planting trees to remain at pace to achieve an increase in tree canopy to 35% by 2035 (currently at about 16%). White roofs are standard within building guidelines, and all roof replacements (20+ in the last 5 years) comply with the new standard.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution (e.g. use of environmentally preferable landscaping materials, initiatives to reduce the impacts of ice and snow removal, wildfire prevention):

In the winter months the University is careful to use magnesium chloride in place of typical rock salt in de-icing walkways. The magnesium chloride is less abrasive to the concrete and has less impact on the surrounding landscape and turf areas. At the School of Medicine campus, calcium magnesium acetate is used, which is even less harmful than magnesium chloride.
- Landscape areas along high traffic areas are treated with Gypsum in early/late winter to help neutralize the ice melt effects on plant material/soil.
- Propane mowers are used to reduce emissions.
- Plans are in place to converting some hand equipment over to electric.
- Heavy use of compost for new planting beds, annual areas and topdressing turf. In addition, the grounds maintenance contractor has added more brushing equipment to their snow removal operations. Brushes are much more efficient and effective, which eliminates the need for salt application that otherwise would have been necessary. We have also incorporated a traction grit product to reduce the amount of salt that we normally apply. There is an aggressive plan to incorporate more electric power equipment on campus to be more sustainable in reducing fuel usage and noise. Focal Pointe had an electrical mower demonstration this past fall on inner campus which was very successful. Focal Pointe has also extended the invitation to equipment companies to actually partner with them for electrical equipment testing etc.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

All green spaces are managed in accordance with IPM principles. Rain gardens, bioswales, bio retention areas, and annual beds are managed with organic land care standards. The acreage above does not currently include the East End develop plantings, which added a significant amount of greenspace, including rain gardens and bio-retention areas. (Data requested 3/2020)

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.