The Greens of UQ

Property and Facilities Grounds Team manage over 50 Hectares of grass space across St Lucia. 

Sports turf – P&F have a dedicated team who maintain the 7 natural turf surfaces, 2 synthetic surfaces and 3 cricket wicket blocks. These fields have a combined total of over 10000 booked usage hours per year and are some of the highest usage hours across the Brisbane area. The natural surface fields are irrigated with recycled water which is received from the Fairfield treatment plant across river on the southern side of campus. This is pumped under the river and to the 2 smaller holding ponds next to the UQ Lakes Busway.

Having access to irrigation allows the team to deliver an extensive nutrition and soil amendment program to ensure the turf can sustain the extreme high usage hours and be playable for all users through their seasons.

Soil tests are carried out in late June to identify deficiencies or imbalances in the soil profiles. The tests determine the level of specific soil nutritional components required to maintain turf grass growth and performance. This includes pH, TEC (total exchange capacity), organic matter % major cations and anions, essential minor nutrients. the amendment program is delivered late July to allow the turf take advantage of the warmer weather from September.

All fields receive a renovation program which includes scarifying (vertical cutting through the turf to remove all thatch levels) Aeration (solid tines punching 18mm holes 150_200mm deep) to increase water, air movement and increased root structure. Finally, a top dress with washed river sand to assists with levelling the surface and filling core holes for water movement. This process takes place at the end of each season and the fields then sit for 8-10 weeks recovering before users arrive back for preseason trainings.

To assist with the quality of surface during the winter months fields are over sown with rye grass at Easter time. Its main function is to protect the host grass species and provide a surface as the Bermuda host species goes into dormancy through colder weather.

Fields are mowed twice a week, but this can increase to 3 times per week during the growing and wet season. All fields ae line marked with 6/7 natural turf surfaces having double marking for multi-use and we have 1 field that has 3 different markings. The synthetic fields are groomed twice a week to unsure the fibres stay intact and level the infill remains level for playability.

The team deliver outstanding surfaces for the users at UQ whilst dealing with extremely high usage hours.

2. Managed turf areas – these areas are managed by the horticultural team and a predominately within the academic core areas of the campus. The treatment of these areas depends on what is irrigated. The Great Court, Forgan Smith, Duhig forecourt, Campbell place, Alumni court, UQ entry sign, QBP, chancellors place, Mansfield place, Car park 6/7, synthetics fields surrounds, and the amphitheatre are all automatically irrigated.

The Great Court and Forgan Smith turf follow the same processes as the fields with annual soil tests providing an amendment program, they also have a major nutrition program to ensure the turf is always looking at its best. These areas are also over sown during the winter months similar to the fields to provide a protection barrier for the host species but to also have a high-end aesthetic appeal.

The other areas under irrigation have a minor fertiliser program to ensure we keep the green in and around the building space for students and other visitors to UQ to use

The other lawns throughout the academic core that are not irrigated are fertilised during rain events during the year.

These areas are mown, snipped and edged weekly as the Horticultural team are also attending the extensively landscape gardens across the campus

The grounds team manage the higher profile turf areas across the campus leaving the outer lawn areas, larger lawn areas on University drive and the lakes to a mowing contractor. These areas are mowed to a frequency of weekly during the growing season, Fortnightly in spring and autumn and as required during winter. These areas are the largest component on turf maintained on campus and are not irrigated relying only on rainfall. The mowing contractor is part of the Grounds team and weekly meetings deal with any issues that arise from the campus operations that can affect the mowing to be completed.

Between Specialist and trained turf manager as well as support from mowing contractors the ground team deliverer a very high standard in turf management to be unitised by all students, staff and visitors to UQ.