|Submission Date||March 4, 2022|
Washington University in St. Louis
OP-9: Landscape Management
|1.06 / 2.00||
Grounds & Landscape Design Manager
Total campus area:
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||12.70 Acres|
|Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed||210.70 Acres|
|Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices||0 Acres|
|Total area of managed grounds||223.40 Acres|
A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:
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)
- University owned and managed off-campus properties, including Greenway and Lofts Apartments, 560 Music Center, and Lewis Collaborative
Danforth campus (main): 199.1 acres
Medical School Campus: 141.9 acres
North, West, and South Campuses (administrative): 39.9 acres
TOTAL: 380.89 acres
The acreage has increased from the draft submission because areas that were counted for landscape management and water use (such as a plot of park land east of Skinker Blvd) are not included in the acreage on the university’s campuses page. These areas are managed by the university and should be included in our overall acreage.
The acreage was overestimated for the landscape management (OP-9) category because a lot of private or hospital-owned land was counted for the Medical School campus. This has been amended to reflect the new total in PRE-4 of 380.89 acres.
Percentage of grounds managed organically:
A brief description of the organic landscape management program:
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 managed organically include: The Family Learning Center Meadow, Seasonal Annual Beds, Forsyth 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, Heitzman bioswale, 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 and stormwater treatment planted areas.
In the areas above (rain gardens, bioswales, bio retention areas, and all annual beds), no chemical pesticides are used and products such as Mroots, C20, and compost are used as organic fertilizers.
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:
The purpose of the integrated pest management (IPM) plan is to guide the use of environmentally sensitive pest management strategies and using the least-toxic control methods at Washington University to enhance the health and safety of campus landscape users and protect the environment
The goals of this IPM program at Washington University are as follows:
1. To protect human health and the surrounding environment by utilizing a range of preventative strategies and using least-toxic products for pest control and eradication.
2. Inspect and monitor pest populations to enhance or adjust control strategies.
3. Maintain the low use of the quantity and toxicity of chemicals used for pest management.
4. Keep environmental impacts low by using species-specific pesticides and targeting all application areas very carefully when needed.
5. Establishment of clear criteria for acceptable circumstances in which using a pesticide other than a least-toxic pesticide is necessary; toxic pesticides should only be used when there is a threat to public health and safety, or to prevent economic or environmental damage, and only after other alternatives have proven to be ineffective.
6. Provide campus landscape users with advanced notice of IPM activities involving use of a pesticide other than a least-toxic pesticide.
At Washington University, we take IPM seriously and strive to practice the program at all times. Being proactive in our plant choices, plant location, maintenance, and irrigation are just a few example of things that we practice to help reach the IPM goals. Constantly scouting for pests and staying up to date with the current knowledge of pests, also helps to achieve the IPM goals as well.
We take pride in the fact that we do not perform any blanket pesticide applications on campus and have minimized our use down significantly. We do not use any pesticides on our turf unless it is absolutely necessary. On occasion, we do use a granular insecticide around the base of a tree if it has a pest population that will kill it. We do what is best for the landscapes and the community at Washington University and understand that a solid IPM program is vital for health and longevity of our ecosystems.
The Washington University Grounds/Horticultural Manager is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the IPM plan and ensuring compliance with the landscape contractor.
The landscape contractor is also responsible for adhering and practicing this IPM program and policies.
Any employee of the landscape contractor who is applying pesticides shall have the proper applicator license and training.
We do not do blanket pesticide applications. Pests are specifically targeted and we weigh the need for control.
In sum, the approach is:
- Set Threshold limits for pest
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.
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. For example, in winter 2021, Focal Pointe inventoried and removed thousands of plants from a popular courtyard in our urban medical school and transplanted to other areas throughout campus in preparation for a planned major construction project.
Further, a massive construction project on the main campus was preceeded by transplanting 60 mature and semi-mature trees in order to preserve them, which is a regular practice if conditions warrant.
In general, 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. The last stand of Bradford pears were removed in winter 2021 and replaced with numerous special varieties of magnolias, in a student-engaged planting.
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.
Focal Pointe is working with grounds to top-dress turf areas with compost which will intern improve soil structure, water infiltration and holding capacity.
Focal Pointe has multiple certified landscape irrigation auditors. Technicians routinely look for improvements to the irrigation system for better coverage, repair leaks, increase efficiencies and reduce water use.
New Hunter Hydrawise Smart Controller are being phased in over time that is able to monitors current (rain sensor, temperature, wind speed and humidity) and historical daily weather data to adjust run times. It has an option for a flow sensor master value to auto shut off if a leak or stuck valve is detected. It is also able to be controlled remotely from a from mobile device. The average water savings of this system is 30%; some of the savings on residential properties at Danforth has been as high as 55% in 2021. (Many variables that play into this.)
On the Danforth campus, 22 controllers were converted over the last 3 years (2019-2021). Barnes converted 15 controllers and the School of Med is converting 22 controllers in 2022.
A 30,000 gallon cistern installed in 2020 in the new East End underground parking garage is able to support a full irrigation cycle for the turf and landscaping above.
A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:
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. It is also common practice to plant evergreens on the north side of buildings to act as winter wind break.
A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:
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.
Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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