Landscape, Grounds, & Fleet Services: Stephen Bernard, Manager
The University of Michigan-Dearborn campus is comprised of 227 acres. The Grounds Crew maintains 167 acres of land that includes turf grass, ornamental plantings, 3.5 miles of roads, 24 acres of parking lots, 10.5 miles of sidewalks, and a 264,678 square foot parking structure. The campus is also home to a 60 acre research forest. The Fleet Department maintains 44 cars and trucks, 16 off-road vehicles, and over 50 pieces of power equipment.
Turf & Irrigation: The Grounds Crew maintains 58 acres of turf grass on campus, including fertilization, aeration, and disease prevention and treatment. The Grounds Crew maintains the university lawns at a taller height to reduce weeds and irrigation needs. Lawn clippings and leaves are mulched to provide additional fertilizer. Yard waste is composted whenever possible. Soil testing is done annually to determine the needed fertilization requirements. Irrigation is monitored by a weather system that uses current weather conditions and plant requirements to determine the amount of water used. The Grounds staff also includes several employees that are certified in Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This training reduces the amount of pesticides used to control pests.
Tree and Shrub Management: The Grounds Crew manages the wide variety of trees and shrubs on campus and treats for diseases and insect infestations. Existing plantings are maintained through scouting, pruning, trimming, fertilizing and sanitation. Pest infestations on all landscape materials are only chemically treated when other means are unsuccessful. New plants on campus are chosen by considering disease resistance, maintenance requirements, and environmental requirements.
Ornamental Plantings: The Grounds Crew employs a master gardener who is responsible for maintaining and planting a variety of flowers and flower beds on campus. The wide variety of perennial and annual plants add beauty to the campus grounds.
Animal Control: Problematic migratory geese are naturally and humanely controlled in pedestrian areas with the use of herding dogs and MDNR permitted nest destruction.
Parking Lots, Roads and Sidewalks: The Grounds Crew maintains, repairs, and replaces all parking lots, roads, sidewalks, curbs, and gutters on campus. The striping of lots and roadways and the sweeping of roads are also managed by the Grounds Crew. Each year, a significant amount of repair and replacement is coordinated and managed by our Grounds Manager. In addition to replacement of asphalt and concrete, the Grounds Crew fills cracks in parking lots and pavement and levels walkways that have settled or heaved. The Grounds Crew is also responsible for the upkeep of all campus parking signs, directional signs, and traffic striping.
Waste Management: The Grounds Crew manages and coordinates the removal and collection of bulk trash and recycling containers on campus. Parking lots, sidewalks, and the landscape are kept free of litter and debris. Trash containers are conveniently placed to service campus visitors. Waste oil, batteries, scrap metal, and tires are recycled.
Event Support: The Grounds Crew provides trash containers, tents, chairs, and additional setup items as needed in support of campus events.
Winter Maintenance: The Grounds Crew is responsible for clearing roads, parking lots, and sidewalks of snow and ice. They use large, medium, and small snow plows and sidewalk brushes to keep the campus safe. The department is also developing a salt reduction program by closely monitoring weather and temperature conditions. The Grounds Crew is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year but especially during the winter months.
Vehicle Maintenance: A master mechanic repairs and maintains all university owned vehicles and equipment. An annual preventative maintenance program has been created and standardized so that all vehicles receive a twice-yearly maintenance inspection. The inspection criteria follow a 17-point program that includes oil and filter changes, tune-ups, tire and brake inspections, etc. Most repairs are completed in-house. In addition, all landscape equipment including mowers, weed whips, blowers, plow trucks, and accessories are also on a preventative maintenance program. Shop chemicals used to service the vehicles are environmentally friendly and biodegradable.