Grass cutting

Ground Maintenance Report

A review into grass cutting and grounds maintenance has been held and led by West Suffolk Councillor Ian Shipp with support from a cross-party advisory group of councillors and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The findings are: Review of West Suffolk Council Grounds Maintenance Operations

Grass cutting

We work hard to make sure that grassed areas that we are responsible for in West Suffolk are maintained to appropriate standards.

Grassed areas include:

  • amenity greens
  • cemeteries
  • parks
  • playgrounds (amenity areas)
  • playing fields and recreation grounds,  and
  • residential highway grass verges maintained on behalf of Suffolk County Council.

To maintain an area as grass land, it must be cut or grazed. If the grass is not cut at all, the area would become scrubland and eventually wooded.

Grass areas are managed in different ways and may be left longer before cutting in order to support the local environment and encourage plants, animals and insects, as well as meeting the wishes of residents.

The total amount of amenity grass that we currently maintain on behalf of the district, including highway verges, amounts to 308 hectares (761 acres). This is the equivalent to 432 football pitches. Of this, around a quarter is classified as Suffolk County Council highway verge.

Find out about the Different types of grassed areas that West Suffolk Council manages.

We have divided the district into three areas and aim to cut approximately one third of the amenity grass in each area, each week. Grass grows at different speeds subject to temperature and moisture; with a sufficient amount of these two ingredients, grass can grow 7 to 15 centimetres in a week.

The various types of land we maintain can also be found by using Find my nearest which provides a mapped image of the different areas under the Tree and Grounds Maintenance tab.

We are sharing the amenity grass cutting information weekly during the 2024 mowing season

West Suffolk Council scheduled grass cutting for the week Tuesday 28 to Friday 31 May 2024

Past weeks:

West Suffolk Council is not responsible for the cutting or maintenance of all public land

Some maintenance is the responsibility of other organisations:

No areas of land are left uncut or untreated

If we simply stopped cutting a grass area all together, the area would become overgrown, with more dominant non-grass species.

Some areas are cut less often

We cut certain areas of grass at less frequent intervals than others to increase biodiversity and encourage a wider range flora and fauna. In some instances, we have very specific cutting regimes to favour a certain species of plant, for example:

  • in The Great Churchyard, Bury St Edmunds, we cut certain areas after the flowering of cow parsley, as this particular plant is an important early source of pollen
  • colonies of orchids are cut late in the season after flowering and seed setting
  • beneath the canopy of mature trees, the reduced frequency of cutting reduces the compaction of tree roots and provides a seasonal refuge for wildlife.

We do not use herbicides in the maintenance of grass areas

The non-use of chemicals was announced by the council in December 2022 to promote biodiversity.

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