"It's unusual for a university to be blessed with the amount of green space we enjoy, and it really sets the mood of this campus. Any gathering place needs to be treasured. Stewardship of the Grove is not solely the responsibility of the university, but of all who love and use it."
- Former UM Chancellor, Robert Khayat
A vision, a landmark, a legacy
One of Chancellor Robert Fulton's legacies is the beauty of the university's physical landscape. He lavished great care on the campus and is responsible for creating the university's most enduring and endearing landmark. When the library was built in 1889, the inner circle of the campus was enclosed by a wooden fence. After the completion of this new building, which was just outside the enclosure, Chancellor Fulton removed the wooden fence and extended the campus eastward to the railroad. He planted trees and ornamental shrubs in this area and privet hedge around its perimeter. To generations of Ole Miss students, this beautiful landscape would be known as the Grove.
The university's great natural beauty often drew praise from visitors. A Jackson reporter who covered the 1892 commencement noted that the "March Devil" char invades most college campuses in the spring "did not put in an appearance" at the university chat year. This reporter called the campus "the loveliest landscape in the state." University students also took great pride in their campus. An article in the October 1894 issue of the Magazine shows how extravagant wast heir praise:
Imagine your self this beautiful October day, a visitor who is approaching, for the first time, the campus of the University of Mississippi .. . . You approach from the town of Oxford, and as you approach through University Street you see the heads of the giant oaks on the campus just in front. The spire and roof of the Library building is the only thing visible above the dense foliage that wraps up all the other buildings; and so regular and green do the tops of these ancient trees present themselves to your view that you might fancy yourself nearing an elevated lawn all covered with the greenest grass and shrubbery . . . . You cross the railroad bridge and find yourself beneath the spreading arms of these matchless trees and passing over grounds that exhibit some of nature's best handiworks ... . Here and there, in artistic order, a dignified old building of venerable style reaches up into the lofty trees as if to dispute a question of height with the sturdy hickories .... There at the end of the main walk stands the grand old Lyceum with its Doric columns and classical outline. How serenely and grandly does it look down upon you and how suggestive its towering grandeur.;
Writing in the campus newspaper on May 7, 1902, a student called the campus the "prettiest place I ever saw." Spring is "busting our," he wrote, and the "magnificent oaks are beginning to cast an inviting shade [on] those hot spring days." Students could nor "resist the temptation" of "passing a ball," playing "leap frog," and ''lounging upon the green sward."
|Dec – Jan||- Mulch leaves
- Prune trees
- Normal policing, cleaning
- Repair damaged turf
- Tree replacement
|Feb – April||- Aerify Grove
- Overseed with Perennial Fescue.
- Fertilize Grove with 17-17-17 (or similiar)
- Start irrigation system
- Mulch tree rings
- Start mowing, edging turf
- Prune trees
- Tree replacement
|May – Aug||- Fertilize turf with 32-2-10, 50% slow release
- Mow, edge turf - raise mower height in warm weather
- Irrigation system monitored, repaired
|Sept – Nov||- Mulch leaves
- Football game preparation500 barrels and trash cans are placed in the Grove before each game and picked up after the festivities die down.
- Remove the approximately 200 cubic yards of trash after each game.
- After the last home football game we aerfiy, overseed, and fertilize (17-17-17 or similar) turf areas.
What kind of grass is used in the Grove?
There are several types of grass in the Grove. The one most asked about is most noticeable in the early spring and has a very light green color. This is tall fescue. Generally, Landscape Services uses a tall fescue blend that can handle the deep shade of the Grove as well as the hot summer heat. Although tall fescue is a cool season grass and does great in the spring and fall, it does a fair job in deep shade if kept moist during the summer. Also, Bermuda 419 is used in full sun areas in the Grove. Rebel Supreme - Tall Fescue Blend
How do you get the Grove's grass to look so nice?
The key to growing good grass is to understand the environment you're working in and match the best grass to meet the need. It is extremely difficult to grow turf grass in deep shade for more than one season. Cool season grasses such as tall fescue can tolerate shade, but do not do well under high foot traffic, such as tailgating, nor does it like dry, hot Mississippi heat. An automated irrigation system is vital to providing moisture to the turf and trees in the Grove during the warm season months. Generally, the Grove is aeirifed, seeded, and fertilized (13-13-13) the week after the last home football game. Ideally, this process would occur in fall during September or October when night time temperatures drop into the 60's. Another round of over seeding is needed again in the spring during February or March along with an application.
Why is synthetic turf used in front of the Grove stage?
For years the Landscape Services staff has been battling to keep this very high traffic area in peak condition. Since this area is in continuous use and its appearance was suffering the decision was make to use synthetic turf. This is the same synthetic turf used on Hollingsworth Field in Vaught-Hemingway stadium. This decision has allowed the popular spot to remain open year round without regular maintenance.
Does vehicular traffic damage the Grove?
Yes, vehicular traffic can cause soil compaction and root damage which is not healthy for the trees. Click here to read more about tree compaction.
“We do our fair share of tailgating, but we also take care of our part when it comes to cleanup.”
- Garbage in the Grove: A Saturday disappearing act | by Dwight Garner
The Grove Society
Campus map of Grove
Contact Central Ticket Office, 662-915-7411.