Grounds Maintenance is committed to providing a safe, clean, environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing and academically supportive campus environment that contributes to the University's mission of teaching, research and service. Members of the Grounds Maintenance crews handle routine landscape maintenance duties, including trash removal, mowing, fertilizing, tree and shrub pruning, pesticide application and snow removal. Other work includes turf renovation, plant material installation, hardscape construction, sign maintenance, traffic control devices and line painting.
Penn State has a rich history of grounds management, horticulture, and arboriculture. Landscaping on campus began almost immediately after the founding of the college in 1856. William G. Waring, one of the first employees of the college was appointed to the position of Superintendent of Farms and Grounds, and supervised the planting of trees, orchards, and shrubbery on campus.
The tradition of having well-maintained grounds continues today. The campus landscape influences everyone’s perception of the quality of the University, and the educational experience it offers. Its quality contributes to fostering lasting relationships between our students and the University. It enhances the students’ academic experience by providing places to study, relax, and recreate. The campus landscape acts as a living laboratory for our land grant institution. It benefits the environment by managing storm water, and reducing the urban heat island effect. And it is often the venue for social and political change, witnessing some of the most important, saddest, and proudest moments in our history.
Most importantly, the campus landscape acts as an important symbol of Penn State’s tradition, dignity, and pride. It is more than a place where young people come to learn. It is also where they live, where they establish lifelong friendships, and where they experience some of the most memorable times of their lives.
As the only two-time winner of the Professional Grounds Management Society Grand Award Winner for Grounds Maintenance Excellence, we want the landscape at Penn State to continue to be the best maintained college campus in the United States, and for the landscape team to be nationally recognized for its policies and procedures.
University Tree Care Plan
The University's tree care plan was designed to identify the policies, procedures and practices used in establishing, protecting, maintaining and removing trees on campus. The goal is to ensure a safe, attractive and sustainable campus urban forest.
The plan's objectives include:
- Ensuring proper species selection, high-quaity nursery stock acquisition, and industry-consensus planting procedures
- Promoting species diversity and proper age strcture in the tree population
- Protecting high-value campus trees during construction and renovation projects
- Promoting tree health and safety by utilizing best management practices when maintaining campus trees
- Ensuring trees are reasonably replaced when there is mortality due to weather, pest infections, injury or construction displacement
- Encouraging campus community members to respect and value the campus urban forest
The Office of Physical Plant keeps a detailed inventory of all the trees found in the University Park canopy. The inventory offers the opportunity for visitors to search by location, browse the historical archive and learn more about individual trees.
Our mission is to strategically manage our horticultural asset and add value to Penn State Landscape and Horticulture is committed to:
- Maintaining standards of quality in the landscape
- Understanding, preserving and enhancing design intent
- Encouraging professionalism
- Staff training and education
- Using sound horticultural practices
- Carrying on the traditions
- Incorporating color into the landscape
- Using plants to announce the seasons
- Practicing creative horticulture and trying new ideas
- Experimenting and introducing new plants
- Sharing the excitement of horticulture through public seminars
- Being mindful of "Environmentalism" in all we do
- Adding fun to the landscapes and gardens
Our Horticultural areas are normally extensive or have unusual floral plantings as part of the design. In these special areas multiple plantings are scheduled for at least two blooming cycles per year and we will provide year round interest in some areas.