Washington University is committed to establishing more resilient and sustainable campus landscapes that promote human and ecosystem health. One of the newest and largest landscape projects is situated along Forsyth Boulevard, between Wallace Drive and Tolman Way. The plants selected for the site are largely native or adaptive species and include 600 shrubs, 80 trees, and 7,000 perennials. The project team removed grass turf, which costs more to maintain and requires approximately 50% more water. The plants have an increased root depth, which will lead to greater rain infiltration. The project team will use leaf mulch from leaves generated on campus to enhance rain infiltration, as well.
Carbon sequestration is another important benefit of the Forsyth plantings. By prioritizing plants over turf, maintenance staff will no longer need to use gas-powered mowers, which emit pollutants. The trees will also capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The tree design is part of a larger succession planting effort designed to increase the campus canopy by 19% over the next two decades. Several of the plantings will even encourage habitat creation, drawing in birds, butterflies, and bees.
The Forsyth project will be completed in early August. Stop by to see it or one of another twenty specialized gardens and planting areas across the Danforth, West, and North campuses.