Grass shoots up in wet weather - to cut or not to cut?
MONTHS have rainfall have caused grass to grow out of control across Gloucestershire, with groundsmen facing a dilemma – to cut or not to cut.
Gloucester City Council's contractor Enterprise say many areas have become too overgrown for even their ride-on mowers to cope with – meaning some road signs are obscured by grasses.
Phil Matthews, from Enterprise, admitted they are facing a number of issues if they plough ahead with cutting, such as large bundles of vegetation clumping together, heavy mowers sinking into the soft wet ground, and wet grass clogging the machinery.
"Grassland management is extremely difficult at the moment and is not going to get any easier for the near future," he said. "The main problem is do we cut or not cut?
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"If the operation holds back for too long the grass will very quickly get away and then it is at a height where the problem gets worse.
"The growth rates will continue for at least another six to eight weeks due to the residual moisture capacity in the ground."
In May the Met Office warned that the wet weather we had seen in April was promoting strong grass growth.
In June rainfall again threatened the record books, while the warm temperatures made for perfect grass growing conditions.
And more rain is expected to hit the county this week from today until Wednesday with temperatures hovering between the 17C and 19C mark. The unsettled period is expected to last until at least mid-July, according to long-range Met Office forecasts.
The effects of the grass growth can be seen all over the county, including along the roadside on the A48 near Westbury-on-Severn, near Elton Corner, and in Bream.
And sports fields have also been affected.
Mr Matthews added: "Cricket has been severely affected over the last two months and on several occasions we have been unable to prepare both the outfield and wickets."
The rugby ground in Westbury resembles a lush meadow more than a pitch in its current state.
Gloucester city councillor Kathy Williams, cabinet member for the environment, said: "These have been exceptional weather conditions.
"We are working as best we can to get on top of it all, and we are hoping to get back to the status quo by the summer holidays.
"People have to bear with us for a while."