26 October 2020

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

| Ian Bushnell
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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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The clowns that proclaim they can change the global climate can’t even provide basic services that the community pays for.

It has been a very wet season resulting in unprecented growth compared to the last decade. The mix of people staying at home more due to covid restrictions (less travelling to and from work, less going away on the weekends) has also resulted in people focusing on their gardens more. At Canberra Mower Suppliers in Mitchell we have seen so many customers bringing in their mowers for repair, and heaps of new lawnmowers have been sold compared to previous years.

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

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

Capital Retro4:00 pm 28 Oct 20

The arboretum looks well mown.

Capital Retro11:22 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.

russianafroman7:51 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.

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