Facilities Management grounds and landscape crews are busy with numerous projects to help restore the campus environment from the effects of the harsh winter and make it ready for the new season.
While the calendar still may say February, for the campus landscape, spring is already here. Plants are starting to put out their new growth with the arrival of the recent warm weather. Grounds crews start annual spring maintenance around this time of the year to make sure the campus landscape has a healthy transition from its winter dormancy to its spring explosion of new growth and color.
Thirteen 200-gallon trees recently were planted to replace those lost during the past several years due to drought and the construction impact of the METRO light rail line. The trees were planted across campus, with many of them replacing lost donor trees along the main campus entries at Cullen and University Boulevard. The trees were supplied to replace ones removed for the installation of the rail line. They are significantly larger than are normally supplied due to a successful collaboration between METRO and the university. Instead of planting a higher number of smaller trees, fewer larger trees were utilized, which make a much larger impact for shade and aesthetics.
Shrubs and bushes are being pruned and trimmed to help keep their size in check and promote new growth. For some shrubs like roses, they need an annual pruning to promote new growth and more vigorous flowering. Other shrubs like azaleas will be pruned after they are finished flowering in the spring.
Because trees and bushes lose much of their leafy foliage during the winter, it is necessary to systematically clean up and remove the fallen leaves and broken limbs. The grounds teams have been performing the annual leaf clean up. Leaves and branches are collected, chipped up and stored to be used as organic mulch throughout the year.
All of this work is being supervised and lead by Roger Warner, assistant director of Facilities Management and campus landscape architect, who can be reached for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-743-9671.