Integrated Pest Management

The F&S Grounds department has implemented a thorough Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to reduce the use of pesticides on the exterior of the main campus. The fundamental aspects of IPM and key examples from the program are listed below.

  • Acceptable pest levels: F&S does not spray insecticides or fungicides on campus trees. Treatments are made to landscape plants (shrubs, perennials, annuals, grass, etc.) only if a pest is causing significant harm to the plant. 
  • Preventive cultural practices: Grounds is working to replace the outdated Kentucky Bluegrass /Ryegrass mix in favor of a more durable Turf Type Tall Fescue mix in all lawn panels. This shift will allow for more sustainable irrigation practices and lawns that are more resistant to high levels of foot traffic. 
  • Mowing: Grounds does not mow grass below 3.5 inches in height. Grass can better compete with weeds and tolerate drought stress at higher mowing heights. In addition, staff avoid removing more than one-third of the leaf surface at any one mowing and accomplish this by using higher mowing heights and regular mowing cycles.
  • Monitoring: Grounds is consistently inspecting the different areas of campus; all of the staff are trained and knowledgeable on what to look for and how to identify the presence of pests.
  • Mechanical controls: F&S utilizes large amounts of green waste wood chips in the planter bed areas of campus to suppress weeds. Application of the wood chips helps to reduce the amount of germination from weed seeds in the soil while also moderating moisture levels.
  • Biological controls: Planting designs incorporate specific types of flowering plants that attract predator insects to naturally encourage an acceptable predator/pest balance.
  • Pesticide restrictions: The university is committed to encouraging and protecting stormwater and pollinators, and therefore Grounds limits the use of herbicides that contain neonicotinoids.

All employees who apply pesticides undergo rigorous training and education to become State Licensed Public Pesticide Operators or Applicators. This high level of training and  monthly meetings ensure that F&S grounds workers understand and follow the IPM strategy.