NOTTINGHAMSHIRE County Council’s gritting teams who did such sterling work throughout the winter are about to hit the road again – this time maintaining the county’s grass verges.
The teams, who have been on 24/7 standby since 1st November onwards, salting the county’s A and B roads throughout the night, are about to turn their hands to warmer weather tasks.
The Council is responsible for cutting more than 5,000 kilometres of grass verge right across the county and from April 1 will be swinging into action as the cutting and spraying season officially begins.
From then on it’s all hands on deck until the end of September – and possibly into October, depending on the weather.
Grass cutting takes place across the county in both rural and urban areas and is carried out four times within the season.
Despite what many people think, cutting takes place for maintenance and safety reasons – not for aesthetics.
In rural areas, the Council carries out what are known as full and vision cuts – the latter being carried out specifically at junctions where it is vital that undergrowth is kept to a minimum, allowing motorists a clear view in all directions.
For rural cuts the Council uses tractors fitted with metre-long side arm flails whilst in urban areas the task is done using sit-on mowers with flails which are a lot more manoeuvrable. Mower blades for both urban and rural are set to a height of two and a half inches.
Surprisingly, perhaps, grass grows at different rates in different parts of the county – depending on the soil.
In the Bassetlaw area, for example, much of the ground is sandy so it dries out quickly and the grass grows much more slowly. In other areas, however, the ground is mainly clay, which retains the water, helping the grass to grow quicker.
Andy Oscroft is the County Council’s seasonal works manager with responsibility for winter maintenance, grass cutting and spraying and he says that after nearly six months on salting duty his crews are ready for a change.
“They’re ready for a change in routine, the warmer weather and the smell of freshly-cut grass,” he says.
“Some of the guys have been doing both the salting and the cutting in the same area for years and know their patch really well.
“Some of them love it like it was their own back garden.”