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More sustainable landscapes come to Cornell

Susan A. Henry Garden Terrace on the Mann Library rooftopAn Aug. 7 Cornell Chronicle article details ways planners and grounds staff are making Cornell landscapes more sustainable.

“As Cornell becomes more sustainable — and cuts costs — Cornellians will see fewer lawns and more meadows on campus, longer grass and more green roofs and functional plantings. …

“Naturalization and sustainability have been central themes that run throughout the landscape plan. … The Susan A. Henry Garden Terrace on the Mann Library rooftop (image above), for example, is edged with 2-by-2-foot trays with sedum plant varieties growing in lightweight gravel, which reduces weeds and mimics the rocky alpine environment native to sedum. The plantings insulate the building from heat, limit sun and heat damage, extend the roof’s life and reduce water runoff. …

“The Grounds Department has also cut costs by raising their mower blades to four inches, which extends the grass-root systems and allows grass to reach close to its maximum height, thereby reducing the need to mow as often. And researchers are currently testing sustainable, low-maintenance fescue grasses on the steep slope behind Uris Library. The turf is being developed by Cornell researchers in plots near Game Farm Road.

“Campus planners have also identified key little-used spaces, mostly on the edges of campus but also below the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, where the grass has been left to grow into meadow.”

Read the whole article.

Ag Quad grass art

Participants in a workshop led by Claudia Hitt, Cortland County Cooperative Extension educator, ‘painted’ this ephemeral floral design into the turf of the Ag Quad by covering the grass with a variety of fabrics. The workshop was part of a Living Sculpture Conference organized by the Department of Horticulture’s Garden-Based Learning Program held on campus and at the Cayuga Nature Center July 22.

Ephemeral grass art on the Ag Quad
Larger images.

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