The University of Texas at Austin Landscape Services branch manages a diverse 900 acres across Main Campus, J.J. Pickle Research Campus, and satellite facilities. Landscape Services uses sustainable practices and equipment such as an organic fertilization program, a central irrigation system that is constantly monitoring water flow, propane mowers, and top dressing using organic compost.
The University of Texas at Austin uses a central irrigation system to assist in managing the irrigation usage across campus. Water conservation is a top priority for the irrigation section of Landscape Services. We strive to irrigate using only the amount of water needed to keep plants healthy.
The Main Campus central irrigation system detects breaks in the system and shuts down leaks within minutes, saving over 10 million gallons of water in 2012 with just that one feature. Since the implementation of the central irrigation system and new irrigation practices, irrigation usage on campus on the automated irrigation systems has dropped by 66%, resulting in annual savings of over 100 million gallons.
The university understands the usefulness of the automated irrigation usage data collected, and irrigation staff members have posted the data in the dashboard below for anyone to access. After accessing the dashboard (see "View the dashboard" button below), click on the image to interact with the irrigation data across campus. Rainfall data from 2011 to present are also available from the three rain gauges on the Main Campus.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Landscape Services irrigation experts, with assistance from our student employees and data analyst, have developed a virtual dashboard to share daily irrigation data with students, faculty, staff and the campus community. This web-based visualization, with rainfall data collected from three rain gauges, allows seamless access to the data to facilitate its use in university classrooms, projects and home environments.
Please note that the dashboard system is updated on a daily basis.
Irrigation accounts for a large percentage of water usage across the state of Texas and throughout the United States. The EPA states that “As residents of the second most populous state in the country, Texans have a large and continually growing demand for water. According to the Texas Water Development Board, by 2060 the state's demand for water is likely to increase by 27 percent compared to its demand in 2000.”
At the university, irrigation was targeted in 2009 as an important part of campus water conservation efforts. As a result, in November 2011, the university installed a new irrigation system and centralized digital control center to improve water conservation and avoid energy consumption and related costs. Since 2011, the university has reduced irrigation water usage by 66 percent (more than 100 million gallons annually), resulting in an estimated average annual cost avoidance of close to $1 million, despite a significant drought. This amounts to enough water to cover over 300 football fields one foot deep, or to supply water to more than 600 average family homes for one year.
As a part of The University of Texas at Austin, Landscape Services understands the importance of gaining and sharing knowledge and affirms that “What Starts Here Changes the World.” We stand behind President Fenves’ dedication to Innovating Excellence. We are leading the way through innovation by sharing our daily irrigation usage online for a variety of purposes. For example, students will be able to use the data to design rain water harvesting systems for the campus. Faculty will be able to use the data in research projects and other classroom activities. Off campus, homeowners will be able to use the data to learn about plants that require minimal watering.
Our online dashboard is also available as a reference to other universities, government agencies, organizations, sustainability groups, municipalities, or states who may benefit from the information provided. Future enhancements include adding the data from moisture sensors across campus to assist us in evaluating watering schedules. We believe that working together helps us minimize the effects of drought conditions across the state of Texas.
For more information about the dashboard or to have a demonstration for your organization, contact Landscape Services Irrigation and Water Conservation Program Coordinator Markus Hogue via email or call 512-475-7750.
Pest Control provides integrated pest management services for university facilities. Our pest control technicians are licensed by the Texas Department of Agriculture Structural Pest Control Service and are trained in dealing with insect pests such as roaches, spiders, silverfish, scorpions, ants, flies, fleas, crickets, and termites, as well as rodents and dead animals.
Austin is known for its bats. However, bats (whether dead or alive) are considered a high-rabies-risk species and should never be touched. If you encounter one call the Facilities Service Center at 512-471-2020.
Keeping all campus building windows and doors shut, especially in the evening, will help keep bats and other animals from getting into buildings. Visit the university Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) bats and rabies page for more information.
For the ninth consecutive year, The University of Texas at Austin has been honored as an Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA. We provide landscape and outdoor services that promote the sustainability of our campuses.
Below is our 2015 Texas Arbor Day campaign, where we grouped events, resources and an article featuring our historic Battle Oaks:
We’re proud of the trees that grace our grounds and form a living canopy. They shade us from the Texas sun, remind us of the natural beauty that surrounds us, provide wildlife habitats, and do so much more. That’s why we created a grand celebration for Texas Arbor Day 2015.
View the Texas Arbor Day 2015 flyer (PDF)
We put together a collection of interesting and informative ways to honor our trees and to help our campus community learn more about how our Landscape Services staff and arborists provide ongoing care and conservation of our trees now and in the future.
Visit our Memorial Tree Program interactive webpage and see where the trees in memoriam are located on campus. Get more details about each tree when you click on its tree icon.
See and learn about the most unique, historic, commemorative, or champion trees on our campus with our colorful catalog of the Top 20 Notable Trees (PDF) on campus (Please view in Adobe PDF Readers for the best experience).
Read how the university's Battle Oaks survived the Civil War and destruction in the 1920s, how they got their name, and how we care for these magnificent trees in a short, but informative article.
To learn about the species preferred on the university campus refer to the Desirable Tree Species List (PDF).
The urban forestry section of landscape services manages existing trees on new development projects. More than 50 mature trees have been preserved and transplanted through the years on several projects. To learn about our tree conservation projects visit the Tree Conservation page.
The University of Texas at Austin welcomes the purchase of trees to provide living tributes to individuals or groups associated with the university. The Memorial Tree Program, administered by the university urban forester and the Landscape Services branch of Facilities Services, facilitates planting of trees by individuals and organizations. To learn about our Memorial Tree Planting see the information flyer (PDF), which includes the application. All trees need to be approved through our urban forester before submitting the application and fee.
View the memorial trees virtually in our interactive map! Locate the trees and see details when you click on the tree icons. We are pleased to provide this online version of our memorial tree program. We hope it makes it easier for the families and university community to share these living tributes.
Our newly published catalog of the most notable trees on campus is now available online! This publication was developed by our arborists and three of our Landscape Services student employees as part of a work/study project. See photos of the trees, access their GPS links, get species information, related links and more. Use our catalog for a virtual tour or download it for a walking tour on campus. We are pleased to present this publication and hope you find it useful and informative. If you have any questions about any of its content, contact Urban Forester Jim Carse at 512-475-7756 or at his email.
Top 20 Notable Trees (PDF) - Please view in Adobe PDF Readers for the best experience
Many trees on campus suffer from root damage due to compacted soils, minimal organic matter, construction disturbance, and excessive backfill. Urban forestry staff members use an air spade to break up soils, remove excessive backfill, expose roots without damaging them to inspect and correct issues, and add organic matter. They finish the process by mulching root zones and installing barriers where possible to protect the roots from further soil compaction.
Our field crew includes four International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists and four ISA Certified Tree Workers who care for over 5,000 trees on the Main Campus and surrounding UT System properties. Our tasks include tree removal, pruning, planting, stump grinding, soil remediation, air excavation techniques, fertilization, and watering. For more information on proper tree care, visit the ISA at www.treesaregood.com
Enjoy freshly picked persimmon from one of our trees at the UT Orchard (24th & San Jacinto) in this recipe for Persimmon Pudding.