Sustainable and Ecological Landscaping at Givens Estates
Givens Estates is committed to sustainable and ecological landscape management. We strive each day to be good stewards of the 215 acres of mountain meadows and forest we call home. Here are some of the ways we accomplish our goal:
- Meadows – Givens Estates has 14 acres of meadows. These areas provide a sustainable landscaping solution for problematic areas, support a variety of wildlife, and reduce carbon emissions.
- Trails – Givens Estates has 5 miles of trails on campus. These areas provide an important platform for the appreciation and viewing of nature. They also promote a more walkable community.
- Forests – Approximately 120 of the 215 acres of the Givens Estates campus is forested. Wildlife thrives in these areas and they are managed to encourage healthy development of native trees and wildflowers. Staff manages these areas to exclude invasive exotic species including: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Oriental Bittersweet, and Multiflora Rose.
- Native Plants – The Grounds Department emphasizes the use of native plants in the landscape. Plants in the meadows and other natural areas are often incorporated into more formal designs. Invasive exotic plants that have been used in previous landscapes are no longer approved for use and are removed as the team performs renovations.
- Water Quality – In addition to improving water quality through the installation of underground retention systems to capture parking lot and building run-off, Givens Estates has also participated in stream remediation/restoration projects and was awarded a $310,000 grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to improve water quality on campus.
- Organics program – The Landscape and Turf Programs of the Grounds Department are transitioning to an all organic management plan. Standard petrochemical fertilizers not only present serious health concerns, they allow salts to build up in the soil and create a cycle of “the more fertilizer applied, the more salts are in the soil, thus requiring more fertilizer”. Organic management is safer for humans and pets and builds the ecology of the soil. By improving the soil structure and improving the balance of fungal and bacterial life, plant health will improve. This will lead to less and less of a need for fertilizers and pesticides. Instead of tearing the soil down, organic management builds the soil up.
- Compost – Givens Estates composts approximately 100,000 pounds of food scraps and additional 70,000 pounds of leaves. Leaf Compost is used as a soil amendment for campus landscape beds and turf renovations. Additionally, Givens Estates recently purchased a Compost Tea Brewer. Compost tea is a concentrated organic liquid fertilizer that is made from steeping biologically active compost in aerated water. Compost tea is nutritionally rich and can help provide plants with beneficial soil bacteria. A compost tea is generally produced by combining one volume of compost material with several volumes of water. This type of liquid fertilizer can be administered to plants with a sprayer or by drenching the soil surrounding plants.
If you would like to learn more about our sustainable and ecological landscape program, please give us a call today!