Gungahlin Community Council is starting to get a number of complaints about overgrown grass on roadside verges in suburban areas.
After several years of not much rain, it seems that many of us have forgotten a few things about grass. So for those with short memories, here are the key points:
1/ When it rains now and then during warmer weather, that green stuff out there (known as “grass”, but sometimes mislabelled “lawn”) tends to grow longer.
2/ When it grows longer, YOU have to mow it – importantly this includes the verge area in front of your place between your property boundary and the kerb (and around the side if you live on a corner). “They” don’t mow it for you.
3/ If you live in a new estate, the developer may have done the mowing over the last couple of years. But once the development is finished and a “maintenance period” elapses, the public areas go “off maintenance”, and “they” will no longer mow it . TAMS will then mow the parks and stuff, but you have to mow your bit of verge.
4/ Living in a townhouse and not having a mower is NOT an excuse for letting it grow a metre high. Point 2 above applies to you too. (I saw a guy trimming his verge grass with a hedge trimmer on Sunday…! Scores B for initiative and A for comedy.)
Tips for townhouses residents:
1/ Talk to your neighbours – one of them may have a mower and be willing to do the whole building frontage if you all tip a bit of dosh their way (or even just a “thank you”?)
2/ If no-one has a mower, how about pooling some funds to hire a garden contractor every couple of weeks during spring/summer and every 6 weeks over winter?
3/ If no-one else will come to the party, plant it out in front of your place at least. Please avoid making yet more expanses of crushed granite. It’s ugly and hot and causes more stormwater run-off.
Steps for planting out your verge, for townhouse dwellers and renters with no idea about gardening:
1/ Scalp it with a mower back to the dirt (hire one just this once).
2/ Wait a week then spray it out with glyphosate (Roundup). Wait 2 weeks and spray it out again.
3/ Wait another 2 weeks then visit Magnet Mart for the following items.
4/ Scatter gypsum around (it helpsbreak up the clay so water and roots can penetrate. Dig it up a bit – great exercise for townhouse dwellers.
5/ Bash in some timber or plastic garden edge strips across the verge at your boundaries to keep the neighbours’ untended grass out. Magnet Mart will lend you a trailer to carry the timber edging home. Use the borrowed trailer to get some “coarse forest litter” mulch from Corhill Brothers for the princely sum of $23 per cubic metre (a 7×4 high-sided trailer will take a full metre load in one trip) and spread it around. All you need for this is a cheap rake. Make it deep so weeds won’t grow through it. Maybe drop some large-format concrete pavers in to cross the verge?
6/ Put some low ground covering native plants in. If you’ve bought a brand new place, the ACT Government gives you $250 worth via the Yarralumla Nursery. Otherwise, Magnet Mart have a great range of low-water natives. Landscapers’ tip is to cluster several of the same species together. Some species to consider: Dianella revoluta or tasmanica; Lomandra tanika or longifolia, or further away from the street hystrix; Grevillea bronze rambler or gaudi chaudi; Grevillea Mt Tamboritha; Myoporum parvifolium. Further back from the street and away from corners, a couple of low-growing shrubs like Leptospermum; Callistemon; Acacia; Banksia. Remember plants grow larger, so don’t plant anything within a metre of the footpath or kerb. Keep the mulch back from the stems of the plants.
7/ Water occasionally. Enjoy no longer worrying about mowing.