Logo for Stony Brook University

Main Campus Current Projects

Stony Brook University Tree and Bush Planting Program

Campus Operations and Maintenance has planted a total of 927 trees and bushes in the 2011-2012 school year alone, as part of their Tree and Bush Planting Program.

While the University has grown with respect to student and faculty, it has also grown with respect to it’s planting program. Our grounds staff selects native species plantings that are environmentally friendly and also aesthetically pleasing. The trees are grown first our nursery and then are transplanted to various destinations on SBU’s campuses. Once a group of trees are moved another group of seedlings trees are planted.

The program is green all the way. The trees are planted with composted topsoil from the Roth Dining Hall kitchen composter and are irrigated with rain water that is collected from our greenhouse roof in storage bins. The SBU Planting Program is a yet another example our efforts to in “grow” our sustainability program and beautify the campus.

Planting Program report:

Year Trees Planted Seedlings Planted Bushes Planted Total Plantings
2011-12 61 325 541 927
2010-11 95 0 280 375
2009-10 206 0 936 1,142
2008-09 75 0 2 77
2007-08 32 0 0 32
2006-07 248 0 0 248
Grand Totals 717 325 1,759 2,801

The Stony Brook University community can breathe easier knowing the University follows an ambitious tree, bush, and seedling planting program that is both expansive and impressive.

For those community members who do not know, the University has planted a total of 717 trees, 1,759 bushes, and 325 seedlings over the past six years. In just the past three years, the University has averaged planting 121 trees, 586 bushes, and 108 seedlings each year, which is an impressive feat for such a short period of time. Seedlings are defined as young plants developing from a seed, which mature and eventually become a full size tree. The progressive planting effort is managed through a collaboration between the Divisions of Facilities & Services and Campus Residences, and covers a variety of geography at the University. Through its planting program, the University has removed an estimated 6.97 metric tons equivalent or 15,363 pounds of CO2 from the air.

“A significant number of the plantings are grown at the R&D Park Greenhouse using organic kitchen compost… “ explains Al Dwyer, SBU Grounds Manager. “The process is unique for some plantings and seedlings as they are first planted in the nursery section of the R&D Park Greenhouse, mature, and then are transplanted to various locations on campus. The University has planted a total of 927 trees, seedlings, and bushes in the 2011-2012 academic year alone,” Dwyer adds. The R&D Park Greenhouse also has a number of sustainable initiatives on its own, including infrastructure that collects and reuses rainwater, which is used to irrigate a variety of plantings.

The Program specializes in plantings that are native species, which means oaks, pines, and certain bushes are typically planted, however occasionally non-native species are also used, especially since Long Island has been reclassified from “Hardiness Zone” 6a to 7b by the United States National Arboretum. A Hardiness Zone is a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of that Zone. Long Island was classified from Zone 6a to 7b by the United States National Arboretum in March 2012, which means that the Long Island region should expect a warmer climate, with an average temperature increase of 1 degree every 11 years. As a result of this reclassification, the University adjusted its planting program and landscaping efforts.

“For all that’s going on in terms of operations, the University has a very impressive planting program that should be recognized,” Dwyer said. Although the University has seen substantial growth with respect to students, faculty, and staff, it has also seen a tremendous amount of growth in the quantity of planted trees, bushes and seedlings. Within the planting program, the University typically selects plants that are native species on Long Island and also look aesthetically pleasing. Over the past few weeks, the University has planted approximately 100 trees, and more recent planting locations include the North Entrance, Simons Center, Administration Building, Center for Molecular Medicine lawn, Heavy Engineering and along South Drive.

Dwyer explained that the ability to own and operate a greenhouse is integral to the planting program. Not only are some of the plantings first grown in the nursery section next to the R&D Park Greenhouse, but others are grown from individual seeds which after maturation are transplanted to various locations at the University. As a result of these efforts, there is a continuous cycle and aggressive planting program. Once plantings and seedlings mature and are removed from the R&D Park Greenhouse location, another group of seedlings is planted.

The program is green all the way. The trees are planted with composted topsoil from the Roth Quad kitchen composter and are irrigated with rain water that is collected from the R&D Park Greenhouse roof. The SBU Planting Program is yet another example of the University’s collective efforts to increase sustainability, decrease its carbon footprint, and beautify the campus environment.

For more information on this initiative, please contact:

Stony Brook University
Office of Sustainability