Landscapes of the Month: Caring for ‘Baseball Heaven’ - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Landscapes of the Month: Caring for ‘Baseball Heaven’

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Busch Stadium is home to the Cardinals, and each spring, it receives millions of visitors.

The client desires for the ballpark’s visitors to have an overall good experience each time they visit, and to do this, the atmosphere inside and outside of the park is taken into consideration. The client wanted a landscape that can endure the number of people that come to the park each year while still maintaining a high-touch feel.

Photo: Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions

The client hired Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions, Inc., based in Caseyville, Illinois, to take on this difficult task. The project ended up receiving a Gold Award in the 2022 Awards of Excellence.

Challenges presented by existing conditions consisted of crowd control, completing plantings around a large formation, and all of the cleanup that has to be done after events or games. Thousands of people also come in and out of the stadium, as well as those who are just walking by on a daily basis, which can cause issues when it comes to the plant material.   

There are microclimates that are situated around the stadium, each requiring various types of care depending on the location of the plants. A raised highway runs through the southern side of the ballpark, meaning additional care has to be performed on the plants located there.

Photo: SwitzerFilm

Since Busch Stadium is a higher-traffic site, it requires plants that can withstand being around a large number of humans. It is also a high-touch site that harbors a ton of seasonal color. The crew is on the property between four and five days a week during the season.

Extra plant material is stored in shade houses to replace other plant material when necessary.

Red tulips and white daffodils represent the team colors and different bloom varieties are used each year. They are selected to be in peak bloom in time for the stadium’s home opener game. Focal Point swaps out the spring bulbs for Cardinals-themed annuals when the team is out of town.

The crew learned that communication is key over their 15 years of caring for the site. They have learned how to anticipate any issues that would come up. Communicating regularly allowed for a trust system to be built with the stadium operations team. The Cardinals rely on the crew to ensure the stadium is always well-prepared for guests.

Photo: Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions

The company has also gotten involved in the ceremonies that take place for the passing of Hall of Farmers, the 2009 MLB All-Star Game, along with anything else the Cardinals may need during a World Series run. Back in 2006, when the Cardinals won the World Series on a Friday night, the following morning, the crew was cleaning up all of the trampled bushes, broken limbs, and more.

On their way back to the shop, the parking manager called them and requested they help clean up the remaining trash in the parking lot since no one from the trash company was answering their phones because it was a Saturday. The crew went back to the shop, retrieved their backpack blowers along with a few of their dump trailers, and helped clean up.

Interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence? Be sure to enter your projects by July 10, 2023.