Grass cutting

Grass meadows

Some areas of grass are left uncut throughout the spring and summer so that they can establish as grass meadows.

Grass meadows promote biodiversity and improve conditions for wildlife. The decline of many of the UK's species has been widely publicised in the media and we recognise we need to make a commitment to reduce these declines where possible. We also frequently review grounds maintenance operations and leaving areas uncut allows us to assess the sustainability of alternative management practices.

The edges of larger grass meadows will still be cut in order to prevent longer grass overhanging footpaths and pavements. Informal footpaths may also be cut through these areas. 

The grass and other plants on these sites are left to grow until they have flowered and set seed. Cutting of these areas takes place around late summer and early autumn depending on weather and ground conditions. Cuttings may be collected, or they may be left on the surface to break down naturally.

Grass meadow sites may change in future years based on our continued learning and management of these areas.

Flower meadows

In addition to grass meadows, there are also a number of flower meadows around the borough. These areas provide a source of nectar for important pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The areas also produce colourful displays of flowers during the summer months and are situated at prominent locations throughout the borough.

Grass maintenance

Poole has over 300 hectares of grassland to maintain in parks, sports pitches, housing estates, cemeteries and roadside verges. That's equivalent to 420 Wembley-sized football pitches. Additionally there is around 60 kilometres of path edging to manage.

General grass cutting is the largest element of all our grounds maintenance work.

Cutting the grass on cyclical rounds during the cutting season. This can be as early as February if the weather is good. Cutting is reduced during drought periods and will not take place during, or immediately after, periods of heavy rainfall. Reasonable attempts will be made to:

  • clear cuttings from paths
  • clear litter when on cutting visit
  • repair minor damage; for example vehicle ruts

As well as general grass cutting they also maintain the following:

  • high speed roads such as dual carriageways. Cutting happens four times a year and can require additional traffic management and mobile traffic works
  • high Amenity Grass. Includes roundabouts with ornamental bedding or shrub displays and ornamental parks; for example Poole Park
  • fine turf. Limited to the putting greens and lawns surrounding floral displays (Poole Park only)
  • rough grass. Includes banks, sloping areas, grass tracks, informal paths and other miscellaneous areas, which cannot be managed as general grass
  • wildflower areas/nature conservation areas. These receive one cut each year, usually in late summer/early autumn once grasses and wildflowers have set seed
  • edging of paths, pavements and residential roads may take place during the winter when grass cutting is not required. Not all paths are edged every year

To keep our costs to a minimum (and to help protect the environment), we do not collect grass cuttings or systematically spray weeds. (Weed spraying may only occur on sports pitches and fine turf areas).

Our grass meadow sites are continuing this year following consultation with ward councillors and positive feedback from the public. Sites may change in future years based on our continued learning and management of sites.

Page last updated: 04 November 2020
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