Maintenance Standards

Before performing any task, it is important to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). It is the responsibility of the Campus Manager to inform the Area Supervisors of the necessary PPE for each task and to provide that equipment. It is the responsibility of the Area Supervisor to insure that they and their crew are wearing the PPE. If there are concerns about the availability of personal protective equipment contact your supervisor immediately. It is important that hearing protection and eye protection is used when performing most of our tasks, in particular those that involve machinery.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Landscape Services uses a complete IPM strategy to deal with any pest affecting the plants we maintain.

  1. All permanent personnel are trained and licensed to apply pesticides of any type. No employee is allowed to apply pesticides unless licensed.

  2. We constantly monitor insects, diseases, weeds, etc., and only apply pesticides if necessary. We do many other control measures also, such as cultural practices, using resistant varieties of plants, biological control, mechanical control, rotating plants in certain beds, etc. In many situations certain levels of insects or diseases can be tolerated. We only apply chemicals when the health or life of the plant becomes endangered and other practices haven't been helpful in controlling the problem. We do not apply preventative chemicals like many lawn care companies do, unless we have perennial problems with certain insects, diseases or weeds. Each situation is evaluated and the campus manager makes the final decision if pesticides are to be applied.

Less toxic chemicals come out every year and we constantly look for the least hazardous chemicals to use in each situation. All federal, state and local regulations are strictly followed when any pesticides are applied. We always sign turf areas where insecticides have been applied to warn people not to be in these areas until they are dry.

Litter Control

  1. Litter containers are checked daily.

  2. The area is checked daily for litter and picked up as needed.

  3. Litter containers are emptied when 1/2 full or when garbage scent is a nuisance.

  4. Ash urns are emptied a minimum of three times weekly.

  5. Dumpster areas are cleaned thoroughly once every two months.

  6. Cigarette butts are picked up from sidewalks and mulch beds at least once per week.

  7. Trash is removed prior to mowing.

Turf Maintenance

  1. The personal protective equipment required for mowing in addition to regular work clothes will be: safety glasses and hearing protection of either ear plugs or ear muffs. Suggested equipment, as appropriate to conditions, would include a hat or hard‐hat, sunscreen, dust mask, and leather gloves. Radios or headsets are prohibited when driving or operating equipment. The PPE required for use of string trimmers or other grass trimmers are safety glasses/goggles, long pants or chainsaw chaps, ear muff and /or face shield and ear plugs if the ear protectors on the helmet are not used.
  2. Trimming turf around trees, shrubs, mulched areas, buildings, signs, lights, fences, curbs, etc. will be performed no sooner than the day before and no later than the day after mowing or as weather permits.
  3. The height of the riding mowers will be adjusted only with prior approval of the campus man ager. The height of the mowers will fall within a range of 3" to 4" based on the current growing conditions.
  4. Mowing will take place weekly in areas that are actively growing and when conditions allow. Some areas may need mowing two times per week if conditions warrant.
  5. Irrigation will take place where automatic systems or quick couplers are available. Irrigation levels should meet the needs of the actively growing turf to prevent stress from weather condi tions or pests. There are some high priority areas that are served with building hydrants and those areas will require watering.
  6. Weed control should be performed to maintain the turf to maintain less than 10% weeds. Other weeds should be controlled to prevent an infestation. All pesticide use will be done according to label instructions. All pesticide applications will be recorded in the pesticide application record book.
  7. Insect and disease control will take place on an as needed basis.
  8. Fertilization of cool season grasses (bluegrass, fescue blends, tall fescue) will take place in the spring (late April to early May) for high priority, donor and named gardens. Fertilization for all turf areas will occur in the fall (early October to early November). One (1) pound of nitrog en/1000 sq. ft will be applied at each period and an additional .5 pound of nitrogen/1000 sq. ft can be applied to other areas in late summer as needed. Fertilization of warm season grasses (buffalo grass, bermuda, zoysia, prairie grasses) will take place between June 15th and July 1st. The rate of nitrogen will be 1 pound/1000 sq. ft.
  9. Fertilizer will be removed from sidewalks the day of the application.
  10. The product MSDS and label will dictate what PPE is required. If you have questions, make sure you discuss them with the campus manager before applying pesticides.
  11. Leaf litter will be mulched with mowers as needed throughout the fall and winter months. Large concentrations of leaves may require pickup using rakes or lawn sweepers. Leaf litter will not be allowed to accumulate to the point that it will damage or kill turf.
  12. Aeration of turf areas will take place every year in high traffic or donor and named gardens.
  13. Renovation of turf will take place as needed. The appropriate seeding rate for the turf grass mix will be determined by the degree of renovation and the type of turf grass.
  14. Clippings will be removed from paved surfaces the day of the mowing . Clippings on lawn areas should be removed only when there is such a concentration of clippings on the turf that it might damage the live plants.
  15. Sidewalks, streets, and driveways shall be edged annually or more often if necessary.
  16. Plantings shall be edged every two years or more often if necessary.

Tree Maintenance

When performing pruning on trees, shrubs and perennials, it is important to use the appropriate personal protective equipment. When using hand pruning saws, bypass pruners and loppers the required PPE you and your staff will use is safety glasses as well as complete training before attempting such a task. If the work might involve falling branches the hard‐hat/ face shield combination and safety glasses or on City Campus hard‐hat and goggles are required as well as complete training before attempting such a task. If the pruning is done on the high‐ranger: long pants, hard‐hat/face shield combination and safety glasses or on City Campus hard‐hat and goggles are required as well as complete training before attempting such a task.

If tree pruning is accomplished by climbing the tree: long pants, climbing saddle, lanyard, climbing rope, hard‐hat/face shield combination and safety glasses or on City Campus hard‐hat and goggles are required as well as complete training before attempting such a task.

If a chainsaw is used to prune: long pants, chainsaw chaps, gloves, hard‐hat/face shield combination and safety glasses or on City Campus hard‐hat and goggles are required as well as complete training before attempting such a task.

  1. Tree limbs shall be removed to a height of 7 ft. over sidewalks and 14 ft. over roads and parking areas. Limbs will be removed from around area lights to prevent diminished light from the fixture. This should be typically done in the summer after full leaf out.
  2. Young trees will receive annual pruning for up to five years after planting. The purpose of the pruning will be to direct the tree into the appropriate form for the species and the site.
  3. All trees in the area should receive an evaluation three times annually. Additional evaluations may be required if there is severe weather. The "walk around" should help determine what maintenance the tree requires. Trees in close proximity to buildings, roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and high use areas should be evaluated for several conditions. Priority should be made for hazardous limbs or trees. The trees should also be checked for disease, insect infestations, dead branches, and anything that might contribute to the trees declining health. Once an evaluation is done a corrective action (if needed) will be decided and executed.
  4. Memorial trees are evaluated twice a year. The memorial plaque and post are also evaluated and if it is disrepair we replace as needed.
  5. Trees will not be removed without prior approval of the campus manager.
  6. The timing of the pruning should be to avoid bud break and leaf drop on live wood.
  7. Corrective pruning will be performed to maintain the natural shape and characteristics of the species. Pruning should be targeted at dead branches, crossing branches, suckers, water sprouts, infested branches, etc. All pruning will be done using accepted arboriculture techniques and methods.
  8. Unless approved by the campus manager, guying or staking and tree wrap will not be used.
  9. Irrigation of newly planted trees will take place at least twice monthly, unless there is adequate rainfall, during the first three growing seasons.
  10. Pest control should be done as needed.
  11. Hardwood mulch will be maintained at a minimum depth of 1 inch and a maximum depth of 4 inches.
  12. Removal of dead or badly damaged trees will take place in a manner that observes all standard safety practices.
  13. Stumps of removed trees will be reduced to a level beneath the soil grade that allows replanting in that location.
  14. Remove stump shavings and back fill hole immediately after stump grinding.

Shrub Maintenance

  1. Pruning of shrubs will be performed to retain their natural shape.
  2. Shrubs should be pruned to: A) maintain a desired size or shape; B) control traffic or allow pedestrian clearance; C) thinned in order to promote plant health. Complete renovation of shrubs should only take place after consulting the campus manager. Pruning should be performed as necessary, taking into consideration time of year, plant species, environmental conditions, and effect on flowering.
  3. Pest control should be done on an as needed basis.
  4. Weeding of shrub beds will be done to prevent minor infestations of weeds. The use of preemergence herbicides and spot spraying with post emergent herbicides should be considered when developing a management strategy.
  5. Shrubs will receive supplemental watering during the first year after planting.
  6. Hardwood mulch in shrub beds will be maintained at a minimum depth of 1 inch and a maximum depth of 4 inches.
  7. Caging of certain shrubs may be necessary to prevent pest damage.

Perennial Maintenance

  1. Pruning of perennials shall take place in the spring prior to new growth. Some beds may require cutting back in the fall depending on the location and species of plants. Beds shall be cleaned and fresh mulch added to a maximum depth of two inches, including existing mulch.
  2. Perennial beds should receive pre‐emergent herbicides treatments as needed and will be fertilized each spring with appropriate fertilizer.
  3. Compost should be incorporated in the fall, winter or spring in areas that require soil amendment.
  4. High priority perennial beds will require additional care as directed by the campus manager.
  5. Fencing may be necessary on pest susceptible species.
  6. Caging should be done on species that may fall over.
  7. Pest control should be done as needed.
  8. Beds should be irrigated as needed.
  9. Attempts should be made to berm beds to encourage drainage.

Irrigation Maintenance

  1. Spring activation and testing of existing systems. Each spring turf irrigation systems are activated and systems are checked thoroughly.
    1. Point of connection (P.O.C.) to make sure that backflow devices on the system are working properly and there are no leaks.
    2. Determine there are no “main line” leaks by confirming no water flow through water meter and by observing turf areas.
    3. Testing electric remote valves to assure proper opening and closing of each valve.
    4. Observe head function, reset sprinkler heads out of alignment, repair or replace any damaged heads and/or upgrade sprinkler head types to improve water distribution performance.
    5. Inspect controller and set controller to operate either manually or automatically. Repair, replace or upgrade controller if needed.
  2. Summer service (In use) Supervisors in each area are responsible for operating and scheduling watering of turf in that area.
    1. Setting system to control watering of turf areas.
    2. Use of quick coupler in the system to water plants/shrubs and in needed turf areas.
    3. Adjust controller to meet the needs of seed or newly laid sod grass.
    4. Observe performance of system and report leaks, malfunctioning heads, valves, or controllers to the irrigation crew for repair or replacement.
  3. New Installations Standards
    1. Design shall consider plant/soil relationship in determining sprinkler head type and its precipitation rate.
    2. Irrigation systems are constructed with high quality material using Class 21 PVC for pipe, preferred Hunter and/or Rain Bird products for sprinkler heads, valves, and controllers.
    3. Irrigation systems to be installed in a good workmanship, professional manner.
    4. New irrigation systems shall include an automatic rain shut off, solar sync sensor, or an E.T. smart timer for water usage efficiency.
    5. New irrigation systems shall be tested for distribution uniformity with a goal of meeting a factor of 75%.
    6. Drawings of new irrigation system shall be delivered to Irrigation Department for record keeping.
  4. Water Audits Chosen by random, or by reported problems. We will operate sprinkler systems and will watch for water run‐off or coverage issues.
    1. Repair obvious leaks or damaged heads.
    2. Strategically place water catch cups to test systems distribution uniformity.
    3. Replace heads or nozzles to create improved watering coverage and uniformity factor, also reducing run off.
    4. Adding rain sensor or other efficient water saving devices to system.
  5. Winterization of Systems
    1. Keep record of each system and its P.O.C.
    2. List all systems that need to be blown‐out by air compressor to protect PVC pipe during winter and proceed.
    3. List all systems that have drains and locations where drains need to be open for proper preparation of winterizing system and proceed.
    4. List all systems that need to have backflow devices removed and stored, and proceed.
    5. Protect backflows during winter and protect pipes where backflows have been removed.
  6. Maps and Records
    1. The Irrigation crew keeps maps and records of all irrigation systems installed on UNL campus and updates changes as they occur.
    2. Maps and records are referenced to when new diggings or plantings are about to occur on campus.

Snow Removal

Snow removal is an important winter responsibility of Landscape Services. Landscape Services staff works diligently to clear snow and have the campus open in time for morning classes and/or remove snow as it accumulates during the day.

All department personnel are involved in snow removal; operating snowplows, sweepers, snow blowers or shoveling by hand to make the campus as accessible and as safe as possible.  All sidewalks, parking lots and streets on campus are mapped and assigned to an equipment operator or a crew of scoopers.  Areas are prioritized so that snow removal can be done in an efficient and effective manner.

The snow removal process is initiated by a phone call from the campus managers to the individuals on the top of the calling‐tree list, followed by all employees being called and told when to arrive for campus snow removal.  Starting times are determined by the amount of snowfall and predicted weather forecast. Landscape Services utilizes several sources to predict the weather including information available through the internet.

Our goal is to have all of campus including sidewalks and parking lots cleaned and accessible before faculty, staff and students begin to arrive on campus.  The employees arriving early (sometimes at midnight, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 a.m.) for snow removal and generally leave after eight hours if sidewalks and parking lots have been cleared.  Depending on availability, one or two employees are asked to be available for calls regarding problem spots on campus later that day.  After the snow is removed, we treat sidewalks and parking lots with an ice melt product that is environmentally safe and not harmful to plant material and cured concrete pavement.

On a rotating basis, crews are assigned to be on call for evening and weekend events to remove snow and treat sidewalks before the event begins. These events are primarily held at the Champions Club, Devaney Sport Center, Kimball Hall, Morrill Hall, Johnny Carson School of Theater, Lied Center, Nebraska Union, East Union, Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, Mary Riepma Ross Media Art Center, Sheldon Museum of Art, Temple, Van Brunt Visitor Center, Westbrook and the Wick Center.

Access routes for handicapped students on campus have been coordinated with the Office for Services for Faculty, Staff and Students with Disabilities.  These areas of campus receive priority treatment for snow removal.

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