It’s a jungle out there as spring wet keeps mowers on the grass

Ian Bushnell 26 October 2020 36
City Services mower

The City Services mowers are running non-stop to keep up with the rapid grass growth this season. Photos: Ian Bushnell.

The ACT’s mowing team is battling to stay on top of exploding grass growth in a season vastly different from last year’s drought conditions.

Across the Territory grass on verges and reserves has been getting up to knee-high levels, fed by frequent rain and warming temperatures.

As well as areas of the capital looking untidy and unkempt, the regular snake sightings this spring are also adding some nervousness to residents with properties fronting parks and pathways.

But City Services, armed with the spring weather outlook, began preparing for the bumper mowing season back in June, and its teams have been conducting regular sweeps across identified areas, including extra weekend work.

”With a wet season in 2020, we knew we would have some challenges, and prepared our team and machines early for this season, starting as soon as we finished the June mowing,” a TCCS spokesperson said.

”Additional training was done and all crews were trained in how to operate the full range of machinery in the mowing fleet.”

The fleet is 74 mowers strong, in a variety of sizes from small ride-on mowers to machines with a span of 4.5 metres for large open space areas and sports grounds.

The annual mowing program normally runs from September to March, with suburbs and areas of open space mown every four weeks, and arterial roads mown every five weeks, depending on the weather.

”Grass is mowed to specification levels, and we monitor grass length and growth patterns to balance the health of the grass with the community amenity it provides, and to protect our machines from damage,” the spokesperson said.

”Each mowing pass we undertake across the city is 4,749 hectares with each mower covering an average of 68 hectares every four weeks.”

Rivett park

Before and after: A park in Rivett this week.

The spokesperson said weekend work has been rostered automatically to keep the program on track this season.

“People are likely to see our crews out there seven days a week,” the spokesperson said.

Contractors also undertake dryland mowing along the arterial and connecting roads so TCCS crews can focus on suburban areas.

”We currently have one contractor who is mowing along arterial roads in the north region six days a week during this peak growth period,” the spokesperson said.

Certain areas are being prioritised, such as along roads and on roundabouts to ensure driver and pedestrian safety as well as maintain essential access to sites.

”Our mowing crews are regularly monitoring grassed areas to identify if any sites are becoming unsafe. These sites are then prioritised for mowing,” the spokesperson.

”We also need to keep sports grounds mown to ensure teams that hire them can use them safely. These ovals are mown to a specification which is set by the type of sport played at each oval.”

With no end in sight to the rain, the whirr of mowers and sound of slashing grass across the city is likely to be heard for some time yet.

If residents are concerned about a certain site, they can check the City Services website for its mowing map showing where crews have recently mowed and where they will be heading in the next few weeks.

If the area does not look likely to be mown soon and residents are concerned about its safety, TCCS can be at notified through Fix My Street.


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36 Responses to It’s a jungle out there as spring wet keeps mowers on the grass
bd84 bd84 9:36 pm 29 Oct 20

Most of it isn’t grass, it’s weeds. If they controlled the weeds properly, they wouldn’t need to mow as regularly.

Phil Smith Phil Smith 6:56 pm 29 Oct 20

They can’t keep up with it in a drought haha drive up Kingsford Smith any day any year it’s over grown

The foot paths are 50% covers in weeds and leaves, I’ve never seen it any different country towns with no money are maintained better!!!

Anne O'Hara Anne O'Hara 2:58 pm 29 Oct 20

Wasn't an issue until self-government. Mismanagement of basic Canberra services has been an ongoing battle. We are required to pay our rates in a timely manner, therefore we should expect the services we pay for to be completed in a timely manner.

With unemployment at a high, casual workers could be employed to assist in keeping up with basic maintenance such as mowing.

Heavs Heavs 2:04 pm 29 Oct 20

So many folks commenting here would have voted for Homer Simpson as the Waste Commissioner.

Sonya Heaney Sonya Heaney 1:36 pm 29 Oct 20

There was waist-high grass near me on the weekend. They cut it a couple of days ago, and it's knee-high again already. Short of cutting the grass *everywhere* in the whole of Canberra twice a day, I think it's a bit unfair of all the people complaining they're not doing a good enough job.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:00 pm 28 Oct 20

The arboretum looks well mown.

Eamonn McGill Eamonn McGill 9:40 pm 27 Oct 20

Dave Fuller - earning every penny!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:22 am 27 Oct 20

The hills are alive with (not the sound of music but) Pattersons Curse, St Johns Wart, African Love Grass and lots of thistles and other exotic weeds.

And snakes.

russianafroman russianafroman 7:51 pm 26 Oct 20

Terribly underfunded. Around Gungahlin it’s hip height. There should be double or triple the amount of mowers. It’s not justifiable for them to be working weekends.

Kelly Hartas Kelly Hartas 1:39 pm 26 Oct 20

Canberra and queanbeyan look like a jungle at the moment long grass everywhere

Rosemary Braiuka Rosemary Braiuka 1:20 pm 26 Oct 20

Looks so lovely around Canberra atm

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 12:32 pm 26 Oct 20

But stop mowing the new trees please!

Widya Santoso Widya Santoso 11:13 am 26 Oct 20

If you think another mob could do a better job, vote in that mob.

~ oh wai-

Nathan Horton Nathan Horton 10:54 am 26 Oct 20

This is the nation’s capital. It’s an absolute disgrace. Total and complete miss management. 🤬🤬

    Tammi Horton Tammi Horton 12:51 pm 26 Oct 20

    Nathan Horton exactly what we were talking about on weekend.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 2:42 pm 29 Oct 20

    It's been raining - a lot - that makes grass grow. It's growing the most it has been in years. Cut it and it grows again very quickly. It's hard to keep up with. There's nothing disgraceful that I've seen, and I been walking through the grass. It's very attractive close up, and from a distance too. You should stop complaining and show some patience. It will get mown. The job is huge this year.

    Nathan Horton Nathan Horton 9:21 pm 29 Oct 20

    Julie Macklin they have known for 3 months it is going to be a wet spring and summer. Yet chose not to be proactive and prepare. They chose to do nothing. This management wouldn’t last 5 minutes in the private sector.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:59 pm 29 Oct 20

    Fortunately the long grass looks prettily scenic, until they do get to mow it.

Sean Bishop Sean Bishop 10:41 am 26 Oct 20

Welcome the rain. Such a difference 12 months does when last year(s) we were in drought and everything was dead

Jen Fowler Jen Fowler 10:36 am 26 Oct 20

More staff needed. Once upon a time in City Services we even had seasonal staff with push mowers to go around the trees and edging after the rideons went through!!

Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 10:35 am 26 Oct 20

We shouldn’t complain. It’s been a great wet spring. Better than going into summer in drought!

Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 10:30 am 26 Oct 20

I love seeing all the lush green. That drought last year was so devastating. I'm not to keen to walk through it if I cannot see the ground, but other than that, I do not care.

Debbie Soxsmith Debbie Soxsmith 10:12 am 26 Oct 20

The mowing team are doing a good job but they need to mow more often than 4 weeks during Spring. Kambah was mowed last week and it needs to be mowed again now.

David Field David Field 10:11 am 26 Oct 20

Every spring is the same. City services seem surprised that grass grows more in spring then winter...

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 10:29 am 26 Oct 20

    David Field It definitely was not the same last spring. Most of the grass was dead already by then.

    David Field David Field 10:30 am 26 Oct 20

    Lin Van Oevelen there was still tall grass everywhere. The park next to our house was ridiculously high at one stage.

    Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 10:34 am 26 Oct 20

    David Field it was a lot warmer this time last year. We’ve also had more rain this year.

    Tom McDonald Tom McDonald 9:57 pm 29 Oct 20

    Correct. Same complaints year after year.

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