Common concerns around tall grass
Understandably, some people have concerns about areas with tall grass. We have carefully reviewed the concerns we hear most often, and done our best to address them.
This isn’t about cutting costs or leaving areas unkempt. We have introduced our reduced mowing and grass cutting programme carefully, to protect and enhance the environment. It is a positive way for us to manage our grasslands for the benefit of diversity within the city.
Changes in the way we do this may create some cost savings. We use any savings we make to create more volunteering opportunities and local biodiversity. All of our wildlife projects benefit our local community and green spaces.
Appearance of tall grass
We think the appearance of tall grass is a matter of personal taste. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Hopefully through this project, everyone will be able to appreciate the natural beauty of semi-natural grassland.
We also recognise that this change to our traditional management of blanket mowing might take time to get used to. Some of the sites may take a few years for the fine grasses and wildflowers to become more dominant than the vigorous grasses. With each year it will look better, and we hope that in future we will all be able to appreciate the colour variation and wildlife value of tall grass.
We are mowing edges and paths through areas to illustrate we are still actively maintaining this land.
It is every owner’s responsibility to collect their dog's waste, regardless of the grass height or environment. The biodiversity benefits outweigh any potential increase in dog fouling.
Tall grass also does not stop residents from still being responsible for not dropping litter. We will litter pick areas before we mow the grass at the end of the season.
We regularly monitor all of our parks and open spaces for hazards, including fire hazards.
If you spot a wildfire, you must call 999 and inform the fire service.
The most common causes of grass fires are from cigarettes and disposable barbecues.
Fire behaviour within grass is determined by:
- how much of the grass is dead
- the weather and seasons
- the strength and direction of the wind
For more information on summer safety and managing fires, you can read the Essex Fire website.
We sympathise with hay fever sufferers. However, studies show the wider health, wellbeing and ecosystem benefits from allowing grassland areas far outweigh the negative impact on hay fever sufferers.
In grassland and meadow areas, we will time cuts of grassland areas when the pollen becomes more dense and less dispersed. This is typically outside the critical period of May, June and July.
Generally, most types of grass release pollen only when they grow tall. The pollen comes from a feathery flower that grows at the top. If you keep your lawn mowed, it's less likely to release pollen. However, some types of grass can still release pollen even when kept short.
Increased tall grass areas will not attract more rats, pests or other vermin. Rats are part of the natural environment and present in most locations. Tall grass does not provide a food source for rats. Most rats get their food source from discarded food and food wrappers.
Ticks live in areas of dense vegetation such as grassland and woodland locations. We encourage those enjoying these environments to take care along with pet owners.
Ticks are also part of the natural environment, but for them to be present, a contributing host (such as deer) have to be present regularly. In most of our urban areas populations of both host animals and ticks in general are low.
Ticks are easily removed. It is important to examine your dog after a walk regardless of the locations they have visited.