Six mows enough for a summer?

Mowing sign

THE smell of fresh cut grass will soon start to fill the air around Canberra as the ACT Government commences this year’s spring mowing program.

“Approximately $9 million is allocated to mowing in the 2016-17 ACT Budget, which will see the ACT Government conduct six full passes of the city, with further mowing in some areas,” Fleur Flanery, Director, City Presentation said.

“The ACT Government is responsible for mowing 5,300 hectares of public land, including parks, sporting fields, road sides and other urban spaces. These areas are mowed a number of times, by the end of the mowing program we expect to have covered about 36,000 hectares.

“To put this in context if one ride-on mower were to mow all of this area it would have to travel more than 180,000 kilometres, or about four and a half times around the Earth. Of course, the ACT Government has more than one mower. We operate a base fleet of 76 mowers plus 14 contract mowers and additional contract mowers when needed, but it is still a huge job to maintain grass across the ACT.

“Canberrans rightly place a high level of importance on the upkeep of their city and we work hard to keep our suburbs, parks and other public areas well maintained. Not only is it important to keep our public areas looking great, it is also a matter of public safety as tall grass can obstruct lines of sight, for example.

“The mowing program, including hazard reduction mowing, is also an integral part of the ACT’s bushfire preparedness strategy through the mowing of our suburbs, arterial roads and urban edge. In addition to bushfire management, there are a number of locations which have conservation values and the mowing regimes in these areas are specific to environmental management requirements. For example, mowing in some areas may not occur on the normal schedule to allow grasses to set seed or to not disturb native insects and small creatures.”

Ms Flanery also asked Canberrans to be patient as this year’s mowing program gets underway, as a wet winter has led to very wet soil conditions across the region.

“Managing seasonal conditions remains a constant challenge to the mowing program and since January this year, Canberra has experienced significantly higher rainfall than average and the second wettest June on record,” Ms Flanery said.

“As a result of the high rainfall, Canberra’s open spaces will continue to remain wet limiting mower access to some areas. Very wet conditions restrict mower access as it can result in wheel ruts, lost time from machines bogging, damage to grass, risk to operators from mowers slipping on slopes and potential mower damage.”

The annual mowing season program runs until May. For more information or to see the upcoming mowing schedule visit www.tccs.act.gov.au. Residents are reminded they are responsible for mowing the nature strip that adjoins their property.

If members of the public wish to find out more about the conservation of wildlife in the urban area, they can visit http://canberranaturemap.org

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