There are over two million square metres of grass verge in Crawley that are split between Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council Highways.
All grass verges are cut and/or strimmed from mid-March to early November, depending on weather and ground conditions.
Cutting is carried out to a schedule and consequently there are periods where the grass will grow quicker between cuts, especially during the most active months of April, May and June.
The amount of grass cuttings will vary depending on how quickly it is growing. This will normally dissipate as the year goes on.
Grass cuttings can be removed but would be time consuming and expensive. It would also require additional resources at a considerable cost to residents.
We estimate that if we box mowed the verges, we would collect approximately 2000 tonnes of contaminated cuttings. We would also have to stock pile the grass that gives off methane which is a green house gas. Given this fact, grass is biodegradable and will rot and disappear after a short period.
Yes, the mower and strimmer operators are equipped with portable blowers and they will clear the paths as soon as possible after cutting.
Grass cutting is a large scale operation and therefore cannot only be cut in perfect conditions. Cutting is however suspended during persistent wet weather conditions in order to protect operator safety, prevent damage to verges and to avoid creating an eyesore.
We appreciate that demand for parking can be high, but parking on the verges can damage them, particularly in wet weather. In some cases it can also cause safety and visibility problems, especially where sight lines may already be restrictive.
We don't like to cut down bulb areas until June, if they die back early we will cut them sooner.
This again comes down to cost. At present we have two members of staff who specialise in cutting banks and bounded areas.
In some places they act as a natural defence and deter intruders. During the winter we do work at reducing them.
The staff take on several different tasks including tree lifting, verge repairs, snow clearing, litter picking, training and assisting other departments.
With the amount of verges we maintain and half of them belonging to WSCC, to remove Dandelions would be very time consuming and costly.
The Dandelion has been used as a potherb and medicinal plant since Roman times. It has a high vitamin and mineral content. Roots can be used for various medicinal purposes including a mild diuretic. Salads, beer, and wine are also made from the leaves and flowers.
It produces a strong taproot that is capable of penetrating the soil to a depth of 10 to 15 feet, but it is most commonly 6 to 18 inches deep.
Because of the extensive root system of established plants, hand-pulling or hoeing to remove dandelion is usually futile unless done repeatedly over a long period of time.
Dandelion seed can be windborne for several miles, prevention of new infestations is difficult. No single control procedure has been successful in controlling dandelion in turf grass. Early grubbing of new seedlings has been successful when practiced diligently. These plants must be dug up regularly for several years to be successfully eliminated. Spot spraying isolated plants with glyphosate can be helpful, but the turf grass is killed, leaving open areas.
Info obtained from UC IPM. (University of California. Integrated Pest Management)
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