Outdoor Services Crew

Friday, May 1, 2015

It happened this week - Mulching

Many mulch mounds of mulch, if many mulch mounds of mulch how much mulch does CU mulch?  Say that ten times fast. 

The Boulder CU campus uses Western Red Cedar mulch around flower beds and trees.  Deliveries arrived this week and the mulching began all over campus.  Of course, I had to ask, how much mulch will CU mulch and why Western Red Cedar?

Putting down mulch is nothing new to those of us with landscaped yards.  We’ve been told that mulch helps conserve moisture, reduces weed growth and overall just makes the flower beds and trees look great.  But there is another side of mulching with red cedar.  It doesn't decompose as quickly as other mulch.  So what CU puts down will last longer.

Bertie Knowles and Adrian Francis deliver mulch

So how much mulch does CU mulch?  A quick estimate is around 330 yards.  Scott Redder, Outdoor Services Main Campus Supervisor, helped me look at it another way.  It would take 18 tandem dump trucks lined up end-to-end to deliver that much mulch.  Fortunately, Scott spreads his deliveries out over the year with the bulk of it arriving in Spring.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Let the water flow!

A few weeks ago, the water on campus began to flow again.  Campus plants were screaming for water.  Some patience and many man hours were needed to make sure everything was ready.  After the irrigation team checked their communication equipment and pump houses, they moved on to the finer details of the system.  They had to be sure the miles of piping hidden below ground were ready to carry gallons and gallons of water. 

Until the water flows, areas such as you see in the pictures below, stay dry. 

 Remember the water hammer we were worried about a few weeks ago? Well, it is a real thing that could happen if care isn't taken in starting up the flow of water on campus. A four-man team splits up with one person standing in the pump station and the others stationed at the highest spot where quick cuplers have been placed. In manual mode, the water is slowly allowed to enter the line.

Air pockets built up over the winter are released.  If too much pressure is allowed in the line too fast...     BAM   water hammer will burst a line. The break could happen anywhere along the water line and hard to find. So this step is extremely important.

Success.... the campus turf, plants and trees now have water!

Work for the irrigation team doesn't stop.  They constantly monitor the use of water (not too much...not too little) and any problems that occur.  As new buildings come on line for the University, the irrigation team is called in to discuss irrigation needs for the new landscaping.  Now you know.  On campus, when you see water, think irrigation team!  They make it happen!

Stay tuned for:  Burst of Color!


Friday, April 24, 2015

It happened this week--Day of Service

If you were on campus Thursday, you might have seen people in yellow t-shirts.  A little over one hundred Division of Administration employees responded to the invitation from Steven Thweatt, Vice Chancellor of Administration, to take part in a Day of Service on April 23, 2015.
Rail Painters arrived and ready to go!

Hard at work.  First the rails were sanded and then painted.

Fresh coat of paint before Commencement Day

Painting rails with a smile!

Lunch is delivered!

Sticker Removers take a break to enjoy their bag lunches.
The groups tackled Boulder Creek cleanup, mulching, rail painting and sticker removal. For many, who usually work in a building all day, it was a chance to roll up sleeves and get outside. 
The work done was not only acknowledged by smiles from those passing through campus but several students walked by the volunteers and said “thank you”.  It is that type of interaction between staff and students that makes the University of Colorado Boulder campus such a great place to work and study.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Arbor Day--Now you know Latin!

I was curious about Arbor Day so I began reading a lot of articles about it.  I wanted to know when the first one was held and why.  My thought was that the holiday had to be named after someone famous named Arbor.  Nope...no Mr. Arbor was involved.

Then  I discovered Arbor was the Latin word for tree.  Who knows Latin?  Turns out, J. Sterling Morton did.  He moved to Nebraska in 1854 from New York to become the editor of the Nebraska City News.  Nebraska wasn't even a state yet.

Morton didn't have a grand plan, he just wanted his new home in Nebraska to have trees around it.  So, he and his wife began digging, planting and watering.  Soon their efforts were observed by others in the area who began to do the same thing.  Viola...Arbor Day!

Well, it didn't happen that fast.  Morton's first trees were planted at his home in 1854 and the first Arbor Day in the United States wasn't until April 10, 1872 but the idea of planting trees in the barren Nebraska land grew over the years.  Arbor Day even became law in Nebraska in 1885.

Planting trees caught on all over the United States.  Politicians used Arbor Day in their campaigns.  Everyone was planting trees, at least once a year.  Then, the day became less popular and a few decades passed with fewer Arbor Day parades and fanfare.

Keith Wood, from CO State Forest Service presents TCUSA 2014 certificate to CU Arboist, Vince Aquino  (April 18, 2015)
Fast forward to present day and a renewed vigor for all things natural.  We're in Boulder after all!

Alan Nelson, Senior Grounds Specialist (now retired), was the driving force getting the University of Colorado certified with Tree Campus USA (TCUSA) in 2010.  Every year since, CU has qualified and received a certificate showing it has engaged its students and campus community in promoting and maintaining trees.
University of Colorado Students: Holding flag left: James Watt; right Bodie Hultin. Standing from left to right:  Elizabeth Seaver, Joaquin Lagarrigue, Shannon Votaw, Erin Hauer, Emma Friesland, Grayson O'Roark, Caitlin Keller, Drew Holler, Asia Peters.  In back:  Keith Wood (CO State Forest Service), Vince Aquino (CU Arborist)  
CU celebrated Arbor Day on Saturday, April 18th.  Arborists Vince Aquino and Joel Serafin led a group of students and staff planting several trees on the Business Field (northwest side).  Keith Wood from the Colorado State Forest Service presented the University with its 2014 TCUSA certificate.  Thanks to the many students who took part.  Snow and rain did not deter them.  They are truly an inspiration as a group ready to safe guard our environment.  Great turn out by SALA (Student Association of Landscape Architects)! 

This year the official date for National Arbor Day is April 24th.  There will be a lot of digging, and planting by groups all over the United States.  Their goal will be to ensure safety, landscape needs and healthy homes for their new trees.

Fun Facts:  (1) an estimated one million trees were planted on the first Arbor Day in Nebraska. (2) The First World Arbor Day was held in 1805 in Villanueva de la Sierra, a small Spanish town. (3)  There is an Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, NE (4) Colorado's State tree is the Blue Spruce.  (5)  There are 92 Tree City USAs in Colorado, (Boulder has been a Tree City for 30 years). (6)  Colorado Arbor Day was April 17, 2015.

Utilities and irrigation lines were marked.  Students had to move snow to flag sites for new trees! (April 17, 2015)

Then the digging began.  Time to move the dirt. 

Once Vince Aquino, CU Arborist, explained the best method for planting trees, the students carefully put all six trees in the ground.  The trees are now growing on the Northwest corner of the Business Field.  (2 State Street Maples, 1 Bur Oak and 3 Montmorency Cherries)
Coming up next:  Let the water flow!


Friday, April 17, 2015

Wrapped up and going to a new home!

Tree selection is serious business for CU arborists (Vince Aquino and Joel Serafin).  On a recent visit to a local nursery, they found six trees perfect for campus.  With the location planned and trees picked out, it was time to truck the trees home. Neither rain nor snow will get in the way if it is time to plant.  Wrapped and ready for transport are 2 State Street Maples, 1 Bur Oak and 3 Montmorency Cherry trees.
Joel Serafin with one of the State Street Maples selected for CU

The local nursery wraps and secures the trees for transport
The plastic containers are removed before loading onto the CU truck
Inspection by Joel Serafin confirms that trees are loaded on the truck properly
Heading for a new home at the University of Colorado Boulder campus