TAMARA NATASHA SPENC
Not only are BYU’s buildings changing in appearance these days, but also its landscapes. The plants and trees that call the campus their home are periodically ripped up by the grounds crew, replanted and occasionally find themselves co-habitating with a wider, more diverse variety of garden vegetation.
According to Roy Peterman, grounds maintenance manager, BYU is planning a new landscaping design that calls for the removal of 10,000 square feet of sod in front of the library to accommodate the library extension.
Winona Matthews, a senior in sociology, felt the university needed more vegetation not less. “We’re already in a desert, we need more grass, not less,” she said.
In some ways, this recent project is nothing new. The grounds maintenance department constantly seeks to diversify and enlarge the collection of plants, trees and shrubs on campus.
“We are always rotating the plants and trees in our gardens. The most popular now are the Norway maple, honey locust, oaks, pear and plum trees,” Peterman said.
The trees and shrubs the grounds crew chooses to plant on campus are selected on the basis of aesthetics, educational value and climate compatibility. “There currently exists over 300 different varieties of plants and trees on campus and we are continually making additions,” Peterman said.
“Some plants are specifically chosen for their beauty; pears have a wonderful white blossom and plums with their brilliant red hue are just two examples,” Peterman said.
The Field Botany Department, however, also has a vested interest in what type of vegetation exists on campus. Students studying field botany utilize BYU’s plants to further their educational studies. “The students learn to identify ornamental shrubs and trees as part of their course work,” said Blaine Furniss, professor of botany and range science.