by Mog,Justin M — last modified Feb 03, 2014 06:18 PM
Taking steps to enhance environmental responsibility in the planting and maintenance of campus landscapes.
University of Louisville Commits to Sustainability: Multi-departmental approach greens a vibrant 309-acre urban campus (Turf Magazine, Dec. 2013)
Roundtable: Promoting Sustainable Campus Landscapes [with UofL's Aaron Boggs] (Sustainability: The Journal of Record, Dec. 2013)
Grounds maintenance at UofL is the responsibility of Physical Plant. The Sustainability Council works with the Grounds crew to explore ways to protect campus trees; to minimize the waste and excessive use of water, fertilizers, pesticides, salt and fossil fuels; and to find effective options for lower-maintenance and native species plantings.
UofL is serious about protecting our trees!
Arbor Day Foundation renews UofL’s Tree Campus USA status (UofL Today, Feb. 4, 2013)
UofL named Tree Campus USA; self-guided tour of trees available (UofL Today, April 27, 2011)
Although we’re located in an urban area, our 309-acre park-like Belknap campus has over 2500 trees representing dozens of species, many of which are native to our bioregion. Learn more with UofL's new TREE-App (Tree Research, Education, and Exploration-Application).
We invite you to take a self-guided 1.75mile walking tour of some of the interesting and historical trees on Belknap campus. Check out the interactive map, download the Tree Tour pamphlet or pick up a print version during business hours at the North Information Center, 1999 S. First Street (call 502-852-6565 for information).
Students win award for tree canopy plan (UofL Today, May 15, 2012)
The Importance of Trees
Check out the self-guided Belknap Campus Tree Tour
Tree Campus USA
UofL has achieved Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation every year since 2010.
Pests on UofL campus grounds are monitored for threshold levels. Cultural practices are the main defense against pests and are used in most situations to solve problems. Chemical controls are used as a last resort when there is a potential for total crop failure. These products are selected for low use rates per acre and low environmental toxicity.
The Grounds crew has been experimenting with a micro-clover plot
outside of the Miller
Information Technology Center which doesn't require frequent mowing and
nitrogen to maintain soil fertility. If the plot proves successful, it
may be a model for converting other campus areas from high-maintenance
Ice melting products are selected based on environmental conditions. The weather is monitored closely and preventative applications are used only when snow and ice accumulation is imminent. Equipment is calibrated to apply the proper amount of product to facilitate ice/snow removal.
In an effort to use less fuel and further reduce our carbon
footprint, UofL's fleet of lawnmowers has been converted to run on
cleaner-burning propane rather than gasoline.
Mowers powered with propane burn up to 30 percent less fuel, generate
less carbon pollution, and are safer and easier to maintain than mowers
powered with gasoline.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that garden equipment engines produce up to 10% of the nation’s air pollution. Studies show that a conventional lawn mower pollutes as much in an hour as 40 late model cars.
In 2011, Physical Plant switched over its entire mower fleet—eight push mowers, five riding mowers and two walk-behind mowers—to run on propane in refillable tanks. This has also helped reduce minor fuel spills at UofL. As our gasoline powered lawn trimmers reach the end of their lives, Physical Plant will also be replacing them with cleaner, more efficient propane or electric models. Learn more.
In 2012, students from REACH helped plant a Butterfly Garden on Belknap Campus.
Native trees, shrubs and grasses are specified for landscape plantings at UofL. When non-natives are utilized for special applications, they are selected on the merits of being insect and disease resistant (thereby reducing the need for chemical inputs). Non-native plants must be hardy in planting zones 6-7 (the type that thrive on our campus) to best ensure they will thrive with minimal assistance.
The University owns the Horner Conservation Property, also referred to as the Moore Observatory, which contains over 200 acres of wildlife habitat in Oldham County near Brownsboro, about 30 minutes from Belknap Campus. Get an aerial view of UofL's own wildlife refuge!
The UofL Grounds Maintenance Department utilizes selected green waste created from the care of the lawns, landscape and trees on Belknap campus to create compost/mulch on site at the Hughes Lot on E. Bloom St. between Floyd & Brook. This includes chipped/shredded tree limbs, shrub trimmings and leaves. These materials are "tub ground" once or twice per year for mixing and particle size reduction. They are then piled based on their age and turned regularly for aeration. No artificial irrigation is used for the operation. After the materials have decomposed to a satisfactory state, they are used as mulch in campus landscaping or given to the university community.
UofL is also composting animal bedding and food wastes, and you can help us out! Full details about UofL Composting here.