Agnes Scott College
Founded in 1889, Agnes Scott College is a women’s liberal arts college located just outside Atlanta. Agnes Scott spans 100 lush acres shaded by some of Georgia’s most historic trees and is recognized as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country. In 2000, BrightView took over the landscape maintenance from an in-house staff and conducted an extensive renovation of the campus grounds. In the 2007 Princeton Review of the Best 361 Colleges, Agnes Scott was ranked No. 4 for “Most Beautiful Campus.”
The challenge faced at Agnes Scott involved improving the condition of the grounds in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Recently, the college initiated a sustainability clause in which students, faculty and staff actively participate. For the landscape, this means a focus on several key areas including growing the right plants in the right places; creating healthy soils for plant growth; mowing, pruning and trimming properly; watering conservatively; and controlling problem pests as they occur.
Tall fescue is the right turf for the mix of sun and shade on campus. Azaleas are the only ornamental plants that have predictable insect problems which are managed with low impact systemic control products that do not harm beneficial insects. Some of the color beds were converted to perennials several years ago to reduce maintenance and resource costs.
Fertility and soil health are managed with synthetic organic nitrogen in a blend of readily available and slow release sources. Mowing, pruning and tree trimming are fuel consuming tasks where BrightView is constantly seeking improvement. We currently recycle the nutrients in grass clippings by mulching them back into the lawn
Watering conservatively is an important aspect of being green on campus especially as Georgia struggles with supply issues. Agnes Scott College was ahead of its time in implementing a new high-efficiency irrigation system as an alternative to using municipal supplies. By using controllers and creating over 200 hydro zones, the water usage on the campus is managed more effectively. Ongoing monitoring of the system ensures that water is being used wisely when the landscape needs it as well as reducing irrigation when it is not needed. A retention pond captures rainwater and well-water which is used to irrigate the entire campus.
Preventing and controlling problem insects, diseases and weeds is sometimes a challenge. All products used are done so within an integrated pest management program.
Many of the shrubs and ornamental trees needed to be cut-back severely during the renovation. A crew from BrightView removed dead, hazardous, and declining trees and pruned mature trees to increase light levels on the campus. On an ongoing basis, the many large water, post and white oak trees throughout the property are pruned so the crowns always look beautiful.
The landscape is an important social aspect of the campus. We work safely and unobtrusively around the constant pedestrian traffic throughout the campus and prepare the grounds for special events like graduation ceremonies.
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