So, About that grass cutting thing:

Some of you may be having questions and / or concerns lately related to grass cutting operations. I received some info today on this and thought it best to share the following information from our Sports and Leisure Grounds teams that may be helpful:

Service Delivery Standards

• “A” class sportsfields have varying standards.  This mowing program runs independent of all other turf operations and mowing standards are always upheld.

• “B” class sportsfields are assigned a standard of 5 business days. These grass cutting operations are typically the ones in neighbourhood parks, and we aim to achieve this rotation by June 1st.  This is documented in City of Guelph Maintenance Standards for sports fields.

• Most general parkland is assigned a standard of 10 business days and most boulevards are assigned a standard of 15 business days.  These are both documented at Grass Maintenance

Service Delivery

• Our department is organized to address average growth rates, not the 3-4 week window of impressive growth we are currently in. With a narrow view on these 4 weeks, we may appear unorganized and inefficient, however the department runs efficiently over the duration of the growing season. 

• A random scan shows the majority of our ~800 locations/assets are achieving their assigned standards.  “B” fields are visibly falling short of standards, despite efforts being made to compensate for this.  Worth noting, certain “B” fields are always difficult despite our efforts because they are constantly wet and our equipment may get stuck.

• At this time of year, the most efficient use of our machines is to mow everything in the park in a single visit; making separate trips for the “B” fields slows down the entire wide area mowing program  i.e. we can achieve 5 business day mowing on “B” fields, but general parkland could extend to 15+ business days.

• Acutely, the storm this past weekend placed a significant number of branches and debris into our parks; this will delay the delivery of services as staff need to remove the debris before they can mow.  Those delays will become apparent in the coming days.

Parks Operations

• Seasonal Park staff begin their onboarding each year at the end of April.  With a large number of seasonal staff, it takes time for training, orientation, and deployment.

Dandelions – Yes, worthy of their own heading

• Dandelions are aggressive growers at this time of year.  In a matter of days, a cut park or field will have 20cm/8” tall dandelions covering it, while it will take the grass another week to reach the same height.  From a distance, there is no visible change in how “shaggy” a park looks between the 3rd day after a park is cut until the 10th day after a park is cut, which may leave people feeling like a park hasn’t been “cut in ages”. 

• Dandelions contain a lot of water, which can cause mowers to move slower as parkland with dandelions are noticeably “heavier” and place more strain on our equipment.  The additional moisture also affects the ejection of mowed material, and we get “clumping” or piles of mowed material instead of an even distribution.  That material often needs to be re-mowed to better distribute it, meaning a park may need to be mowed twice (or even 3 times) to get a proper cut.

• Dandelions that go to seed can also get sucked into our equipment grills, which reduces airflow into our equipment. This reduces available power and also requires additional maintenance to clean the machines, downtime where the equipment isn’t mowing.

Hope this info helps.


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