Skip to main content

Each year, the Grounds Work Unit composts on average around 300 cubic yards of raw material such as grass clippings, leaves, sod, used perennial bedding material and food waste.  After it breaks down, it amounts to about 150 cubic yards of finished product which is then screened and then amended with sand.  The resulting product is then used as top dressing for the many athletic fields and green spaces across campus.
Compost Tea
The Grounds Work Unit utilizes a compost tea through a process called Vermicomposting. It is the breaking down of organic material through the use of worms, bacteria, and fungi.  Organic matter like collected food waste from Dining Services is added to a worm bin for worms to eat.  The resulting product, vermicompost or "worm castings" is a nutrient rich organic substance.  A ten pound tea bag of the vermicompost is added to 250 gallons of water in a large holding tank.  Grounds staff then sprays this mixture onto flowers and plants, using it as a liquid fertilizer.  Vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.

Pretreating with Salt Brine
The Grounds Work Unit has the capability to apply liquid salt brine as winter weather pretreatment prior to icing or snowing.  The use of salt brine proves not only to be more effective on pathways and sidewalks, but it is also cost effective.  It takes four times less salt to prevent ice accumulation than to remove ice after it has formed.  This proactive approach saves resources.
Use of Natural Materials
The university Grounds staff continues to map out locations across campus where they take advantage of natural materials to beautify the campus and at the same time, conserve resources.  In example, they can plan out areas to plant trees where their shade can assist in keeping buildings cool or provide a wind break.  An excellent example of this are a row of trees planted on the east side of the Student Services building. These trees provide natural shade to the windows of the building.  They use other natural resources like boulders to keep people from entering areas that should not be open to foot traffic for the public’s safety or stones to prevent erosion of land near gardens and flower beds.
Rain Gardens
The Grounds Work Unit utilizes a wide number of rain gardens across campus.  These gardens are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also act as retention pods for a valuable resource, water.  These gardens help to capture rainwater runoff and stop the water from reaching the sewer system. Parking lots D, R, Y and P-V contain rain gardens.
Seed Technology
By keeping up-to-date with the latest advancements in seed technology, the UWSP Grounds Work Unit uses grass seed that is encapsulated with both starter fertilizer to accelerate root development and a water retention polymer designed to keep grass seeds hydrated between waterings.  The water retention polymer provides additional protection should you miss a watering because the special coating retains water when the soil is moist and automatically releases it when the soil is dry.  This makes the seed ideal for growing grass, plus environmentally friendly because it contains just the right amount of fertilizer so there is no worry about excess fertilizer disrupting the surrounding environment.  With the addition of the water retention polymer, UWSP is able to conserve water.
The Grounds Work Unit also utilizes Regenerating Perennial Ryegrass, or RPR, a subspecies of traditional perennial ryegrass that was developed specifically to withstand heavy traffic and rapidly recover.  This seed technology allows high traffic areas such as a football practice field to recover faster with less watering, again conserving natural resources.

©1993- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point