Grounds Sustainability Measures

Plants and flowers on campus


Irrigation Management

The Grounds unit is committed to sustainability in its day-to-day service delivery. As such, conservation is foremost, ensuring for efficient and effective irrigation systems, thereby reducing water usage.

All landscaped and turf areas are irrigated as required to maintain adequate growth, health, and appearance, regardless of plant type or soil condition. Water use is regulated to avoid excessively wet or waterlogged areas, which can cause a decline in plant health, prevent turf mowing, and create excessive water run-off onto streets and structures.

To optimize water efficiency, San Francisco State uses:

  • Drip Irrigation
  • Computer Operated Irrigation Management systems, namely Calsense Irrigation
  • Maintains appropriate scheduling for the seasons
  • Engages in routine maintenance of the irrigation system


Water Efficient Landscaping

Native and Endemic Plants

The Grounds staff is committed to creating a more self-sustaining system by using endemic and native plant material on campus where feasible. Facilities Services has supported several student projects to plant native and endemic plants around campus.


Recycled Wood Chips

Wood chip mulch is created by chipping tree and landscape pruning debris. Rather than being discarded and taking up landfill space, this debris is used to provide a better growing environment in the landscape areas. Wood chips help:

  • Retain moisture
  • Reduce soil temperature
  • Reduce noxious weeds
  • Reduce erosion
  • Create natural walkway paths


Recycling Horticultural Practices

Turf recycling is the horticultural practice of leaving grass clippings on the turf when mowing. This saves time, money, and other resources like landfill space. Ultimately the clippings quickly decompose, returning nutrients to the soil. This process of recycling grass reduces mowing time, disposal costs, and water and fertilizer requirements.

This practice can have the overall impact of reducing fertilization requirements by 25 percent or more. Similar savings on water use are possible. Mowing time can be reduced by 50 percent or more because the bagging and disposal of clippings is eliminated. There are also indirect cost savings — by not handling heavy bags of clippings, back injuries and other physical ailments can be avoided.


Pest Control and Weed Abatement

Grounds uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control insects, diseases, and weeds on and around perennials, ground covers, shrubs, vines, and trees. This includes frequent monitoring and spot treatment as necessary using the least toxic methods.