How we manage our grass

What grass do we manage?

Our teams manage around 1000 football pitches worth of Council owned land across Plymouth. This includes sports pitches, parks, play areas, wildflower meadows, roadside verges and community spaces.

This is a short film that explains the approach that we are taking in managing our grasslands.

 

Plymouth Meadows 2020 - Short Cut from Fotonow CIC on Vimeo.

When the grass will be cut

You will see us cutting grass between March and September but not every grass area needs the same cutting regime.

In our parks and in local areas where grass is used for recreation, we cut grass on a regular cycle which is about every four weeks depending on the ground and weather conditions. 

Grass that is not used for sport or recreation will not receive full cuts and will be managed for nature instead. 

During May grass cutting will halt as part of the national “No Mow May” campaign to help pollinators.

The amenity grass cutting cycle is broken down at a neighbourhood level to help you understand when to expect our grass cutting teams in your area.

Please note. As we are working with nature, sometimes the cutting cycle can start earlier or later and during the year it can be impacted by ground and weather conditions.  Due to this variability the cycle is indicative by weeks rather than dates.

 

  • Photograph of a field with hedges and trees in the background.
  • Photograph of a field with houses in the background
  • Photo of grass verge with road either side
  • Photograph of a grass verge next to a road being mowed

How the grass will be cut

Grass that is used for recreation is cut on a regular close-mow cycle about every four weeks.

Sports pitches and greens are cut on a suitable cycle to maintain condition for play in season. This varies according to sports type.

Some areas of grass that are not used for recreation or sport are being managed for nature which means we will let the grass grow longer. 

Grass banks and verges are more use to insects and wildlife than they are to people and so things will look different.  We will keep edges tidy by mowing a managed edge.

We also have over 100 enhanced wildflower meadows across the city.

Plymouth grassland - Overview

  • over 700 hectares of grass
  • 60% managed for people
  • 40% managed for nature
  • 76 sports pitches
  • 120 wildflower meadow sites
  • 22 formal parks
  • 127 play areas
  • 900+ roadside verges and other amenity space.

Benefits for people and wildlife

  • increase plant and insect species diversity
  • increase carbon capture
  • more opportunities for
    • connection with nature
    • interest and colour in urban environments
    • staff to do other green estate works.

Feedback and recognition

"I'm not massively into nature but I have noticed more wildlife in my areas since we have left areas to grow longer..." PCC staff

"We are looking forward to sharing your learning to support other local authorities" National Trust

"...counted 100 species of plant in the mile I walk from my house" resident, Eggbuckland

"This (regime) enables wildlife to move around the city, through the city and into the city" Buglife

"Plymouth City Council's approach to mowing is to be applauded for supporting our nature recovery and bringing nature close to communities" The Wildlife Trusts, Devon Wildlife Trust

Please open in in full screen to view the key.

Plymouth grass land overview

Letting grass grow longer is better for nature as it stores more carbon in the soil and doubles the species of plant and insect life making it their home which helps us combat climate change.

Covid 19

The pandemic and public health measures still present some challenges with some staff shielding and sometimes individuals self-isolating. 

We're doing our best to keep on top the cutting cycle and thank you in advance for your patience.

Tell us what you think

If you want to tell us about the benefits you have seen, think there is a problem or you'd like to ask a question, you can do so using the link below:

Tell us what is working well

 

Report a grass cutting issue