New equipment in grounds department will help Kent State be more park-like

Campus Environment and Operations has a new machine that will help improve Kent State’s lawns by loosening compacted soil. The machine is an aerator that has 10 inch solid tines that are stabbed repeatedly into the ground, breaking it up.

“The lawns are compact because of construction, cars parking on the grass and students,” grounds manager Heather White said. “The students walking is one component that I don’t want to change. We do want to beef up the grass so it can stand the traffic.”

Improving the lawns is a part of a new focus to make the Kent State campus more park-like.

“In some parts of campus, the ground is as hard as a table,” White said. “If we throw grass seed on it, it won’t do us any good. We use the aerator very slowly to make sure we break up the soil so that the seeds can get into the soil.”

Another focus is decreasing the amount of upkeep needed to maintain the beds on campus.

“Our focus used to be on the beds and adding colors to the campus,” White said. “That was easier when we had a staff of 50. Now we are finding it difficult to maintain the beds with our low numbers of employees.”

They plan to use more perennials, or plants that grow back every year, and put more small trees around on campus.

White said that it could take up to two years to achieve the park-like atmosphere goal.

-Kelly Cothren