Landscape installation at TVMDL. Original design was unsuccessful due to soil, water, and erosion factors. Our crews adjusted the grade and fixed erosion issues and installed plants that are thriving in the soil and water condition in this location.

The summer months of the year are filled with multiple grounds maintenance projects, weekly maintenance schedules, weekly efforts of controlling turf and landscape growth, irrigation repairs/adjustments, and just keeping plants alive during the hot/dry Texas summers. Those in the Horticulture and Arboriculture department have given a ton of effort over the summer and now we are working to transition into the fall season of the year.

Crews working with horticulture throughout campus have worked on several landscape projects and have put in great effort to keep up with the Texas A&M landscape. A summary of the summer includes, weed management, mulching, irrigation management (discovering if landscape is too dry or too wet), and fixing irrigation breaks all while working to stay hydrated and well rested. As the weather begins to cool down, plant growth begins to slow down and we get the chance to begin working on landscape improvement projects. Landscape improvement projects will involve refreshing landscape and replacing plants if needed. During the month of November and December, it is crucial for us to complete these projects because during the month of January, we begin to cut back dormant plants, like ornamental grasses which then transitions into more landscape maintenance in February and March. That means in November we will be planting, renovating landscapes in need, and cleaning all the leaves up out of streets, parking lots, and landscape. While the horticulture crews are working on landscape projects, the arborists will also be transitioning into another scope of tree care.

Over the summer, the arborists have been busy pruning dead wood, providing pedestrian clearance, and removing trees that pose as a safety hazard to pedestrians either because of dead or disease infested tissue. As the season changes and temperatures cool down, the arborists will begin another scope of tree care by aerifying trees using an air spade and by planting new trees in various locations of campus beginning in November. The reason we don’t aerify or plant trees during the summer is because of heat and dry conditions and the two conditions together pose a difficult challenge in tree care when planting or using an air spade. We will plant trees according to the number of trees we have removed in 2020 thus far. For each removal, we document a detailed tree assessment and we utilize the assessment to replace a number of trees based on Texas A&M and Tree Campus USA standards. As for aerification, we will target trees with high traffic compaction, post construction, and root flare clearance that is needed. The arborists will be found blasting compressed air into the ground with the air spade tool and the overall outcome will be beneficial to tree health.

submitted by Neil Fletcher, Horticulture & Arboriculture Manager

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