Home  >  Divisions  >  Support  >  Landscape Services

Landscape Services

Landscape Management

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.

landscape services zone mapClick on the map to get an enlarged version of this graphic.

Irrigation

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.

Irrigation Dashboard

Welcome On Board!

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.

rain gauge installed
Rain gauge installed on the university’s Main Campus

View the dashboard

Please note that the dashboard system is updated on a daily basis.

Why provide our irrigation data as an educational resource?

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.”  

irrigation digital control centerOne of the irrigation controllers installed on Main Campus. These are the primary data components of the centralized digital control system.

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.

irrigation chart - gallons of water used and approx. avoided cost
The chart above shows a reduction in gallons of water used and the approximate avoided cost as a result of UT Austin's conservation efforts.

Leading Through Innovation

Evapotranspiration sensor (cover removed) - one of three on campus. This device provides data on temperature, relative humidity and rainfall to determine the amount of water evaporated from the soil in a given area. These smart sensors help us to identify opportunities to conserve water when irrigation is not necessary.

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.

Contact Us

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

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.

What should you do if you find a bat on campus?

Little Brown BatAustin 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 further information on who to contact for pest or wildlife concerns, please refer to the Facilities Services list of services (UT EID Required) or visit the EHS Animal Make Safe page.

Urban Forestry: Tree Planting and Maintenance

Battle Oaks - Survivors of the Civil WarPhoto courtesy of Marsha Miller
Read about the famous Battle Oaks that survived the Civil War and beyond in this short but informative article.

This feature article is part of our: Values at Work Series

Tree Campus USA

Tree Campus USA logoTree Campus USA program selected

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.

Tree Campus USA Group

Desirable Tree Species

To learn about the species preferred on the university campus refer to the Desirable Tree Species List (PDF).

Memorial Tree Program

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.

If you have any questions about this map or any of its contents or for more information about this program, contact Jennifer Hrobar by email or at 512-475-7753.

Notable Trees on Campus

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 Jennifer Hrobar by email or at at 512-475-7753.

Top 20 Notable Trees (PDF) - Please view in Adobe PDF Readers for the best experience

Root Management

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.

spading before, root managementSpading started

Spading middle of process, root ManagementSpading, 50% complete

Spading after, root managementSpading complete

Texas Arbor Day

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.

Events

Arbor Day Ceremony
Friday, November 6, 10-11:30 a.m.
Attendees gathered at the UT Orchard (24th and San Jacinto) as our arborists planted trees to commemorate the day. We also had giveaways, free seedlings, and tree and planting information on hand. See photos from the event.
Tree Campus USA Service Project
Saturday, November 21, 9 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Participants joined us for our service learning project as we planted around 80 native tree and shrub seedlings at the hillside of Clark Field to benefit wildlife and help combat the spreading of invasive species. See photos from the event.

The Battle Oaks

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.

Tree Conservation

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.

Tree Inventory & Assessment

The University of Texas at Austin recognizes the significant role of campus trees and the many tangible and intangible benefits they provide to everyone in the UT Austin community. Arborists with our Landscape Services branch of Facilities Services understand that the university’s urban forest of close to 5,000 trees are a valued community resource, an important component of the grounds’ infrastructure, and part of the campus identity.

To support the preservation and management of the campus trees, UT Austin commissioned an inventory and assessment of the trees on the Main Campus. The process yielded vital information about each tree, including species, size, condition, and geographic location. The data collected were also used to develop a detailed and quantified analysis of the current structure, function, and value of the university’s urban forest.

Results of the UT Austin Tree Inventory and Assessment are now available to view using an online resource. Follow this link to gain a better understanding of the trees on UT Austin’s campus. You can locate yourself on the map and get basic descriptions of every tree on campus. In addition, view the calculated numerous benefits the campus trees give to us, which include air quality, water quality and energy savings statistics.

If you have any questions about the UT Austin Tree Inventory and Assessment, contact Jennifer Hrobar by email or at at 512-475-7753.

Tree Maintenance

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

Arbor Day 2014 Tree PlantingTree planting for 2014 Arbor Day

Lift truck pruning trees at SACLift truck pruning trees at the Student Activity Center

Persimmon TreePersimmon Tree

Persimmon Tree Close-upPersimmon Tree Close-up

Enjoy freshly picked persimmon from one of our trees at the UT Orchard (24th & San Jacinto) in this recipe for Persimmon Pudding.

Back to Top