|Submission Date||Jan. 31, 2011|
Office of Sustainability
Physical Plant's Grounds Department is constantly searching for ways to reduce the amount of water necessary to irrigate the thousands of plants on campus. To that end, Grounds employs a strategy called xeriscaping to help cut down on water usage.
Xeriscaping is a landscaping philosophy that emphasizes using native and drought-resistant plants which do not require supplemental irrigation. Xeriscaped areas also require little maintenance and soil preparation to survive.
PPD Landscaping/Groundskeeping Superintendent Marty Werts said, "We're very committed to reducing our water usage in landscape design at Grounds. I would estimate that 80% of the landscape projects we implement are xeriscaped, and more than half of those designs incorporate primarily native plants." Native plants offer unique advantages, according to Werts. "We can greatly reduce the labor time involved in caring for landscaped areas using natives," he explains. "They're much more hardy because they're used to the climate and the soil - we don't have to amend the soil prior to planting. Also, they're very efficient when it comes to watering - most native plants can get by with just rainwater and don't have to be irrigated constantly."
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