Grass - 10,479,845 square metres to cut
Milton Keynes Council aims to mow the majority of grass in its verges, open spaces and parks to ensure areas are fit for purpose.
Link to Grass Cutting 2013 - Public Open Space and Highway Verges schedule.
Cutting / mowing takes place approximately once every 3-4 weeks, however adjustments to schedules can occur due to the variation in seasons and weather conditions. These include but are not limited to events such as:
Frequently asked questions
- Cold weather delaying in the start of grass growth.
- Drought, negating the need to cut grass as it becomes dormant.
- Persistant wet weather which creates unsuitable ground conditions.
- Biodiversity and good practice where there are planted bulbs, notable wildlife areas, seasonal meadows etc.
- Why is the grass so long?
Cutting is carried out on a cyclic schedule and consequently the grass can grow to considerable lengths in favourable conditions between cuts.
- Can grass cuttings be removed?
No. Removing clippings would generate a huge amount of waste which would have to be disposed of, as well as greatly incresing the resources required to manage the landscape for little benefit. Grass clippings break down in time and thus return nutrients to the soil. This additionally means we do not have to add costly fertilisers to the grass to maintain a healthy sward. The service provider is required to sweep off any clippings that get transferred to footpaths at the time of cutting.
- Why are certain areas of grass within the highway verges and areas of open space not cut, while the remainder of the grass is cut?
Locations where grass areas have been planted with bulbs (e.g. Daffodils, Tulips and Crocus) will not be cut until the leaves have started to die back, usually in late June. This is good horticultural practice as it ensures that the bulbs will produce flowers again the following year. Unfortunately these areas can become long in the early summer. Once cut, these areas will be maintained with the rest of the grass until the end of the mowing season.
- Why donít you strim underneath under some hedgerows in open spaces?
This is a practice similar to the uncultivated headlands of farmers fields and is beneficial for local wildlife as it encourages the return of wild flora and fauna to our open spaces.
- People keep parking their cars on the highway verge near my property which is making them unsightly, can you repair them?
Milton Keynes Council does not repair them unless they are badly rutted and therefore a safety issue. It is not possible to keep repairing them when they are continually being damaged. Restoration is not achievable because the soil structure will continue to be destroyed and reseeded grass will not grow.
Unsightly "smearing" or muddy verges due to vehicle tyres in winter generally recover without any intervention once the grass starts growing in the spring.
- People keep parking their cars on the highway verges in my road which is ruining them; can you install some railings to prevent this from happening?
Milton Keynes Council as the Highway Authority does not provide for the installation ascot railings or bollards in these situations. However where there is a local demand for it and the Local Town or Parish Council is willing to provide for it , Milton Keynes Council will work with that Local Council to satisfy the request (as long as there are no safety reasons why it cannot be installed).
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- In November, the grassed area near my house was used for a bonfire. What can I do?
Contact the Environment Services Help Line on 01908 252570 who will make arrangements for any detritus to be removed.
- Why are you cutting the grass when itís wet?
Grass cutting is too large a scale operation to only proceed in optimum conditions. It is a 5-6 day a week job and consequently in wet conditions temporary marking, as surface water mixes with the soil, can occur. Mowing is suspended in persistent wet conditions when the likelihood of causing damage, creating an eyesore or operator safety are at risk.
- Do you take account of wildflowers when carrying out rural verge grass cutting?
In rural areas we cut grass whilst aiming to maintain the natural growth of wild flowers and native habitats for wildlife. Grass cutting is carried out at a reduced level, promoting a balance between pedestrian and driver safety and the protection of flora and fauna.
For safety reasons visibility splays (e.g. severe bends and junctions) in rural areas are cut back to 2 metres, whereas the highway verges are cut 1 metre wide, both four times a year. Grass cutting in rural areas is important for a number of reasons. We aim to:
- Maintain visibility, particularly at junction areas
- Prevent grass overhanging and encroaching on both roads and footways
- Prevent the obscuring of road signs, edge posts and other highway furniture, such as signs and bollards etc.
- Provide a strip or verge, which is cut for pedestrian safety
- Inhibit the growth of injurious weeds (as defined in the Weed Act 1959, e.g. Ragwort, etc.
- What can you do to control all the dandelions on the verges?
Dandelions flower during Spring and bring a blaze of yellow colour to the verges but we appreciate that their wind-dispersed seed can be a nuisance for some gardeners. Dandelions are a valuable early nectar source for foraging insects such as honey bees, bumblebees and early butterflies which have been threatened with habitat loss and the effects of climate change and disease. Mowing which is undertaken through the borough on verges and open spaces offers some control but widespread application of chemical herbicides is not only expensive but a short term and environmentally damaging solution.