Bursts of frosty weather, alongside very wet conditions throughout the winter have prevented the grass from starting into growth – when the soil is wet and the weather is frosty the grass roots freeze and the plant stays dormant.
This is very fortunate as the soft and muddy soil conditions mean that our ride on mowers would mark the surface of the ground at the moment, if we had to drive them on it. We had the foresight to continue cutting right into November last year, so the grass is still short across all of our sites. As a consequence, we are not anticipating starting our grass cutting season until the middle of March, by which time surface conditions should be much more favourable.
This year we are receiving lots of helpful information from community groups about the location of bulbs so that we do not cut them down when they are starting into growth. This information is being incorporated into our schedules.
We have been very busy over the winter carrying out large scale landscaping, clearance and improvement works at some big industrial and commercial parks. Such works, albeit on a smaller scale, has also been carried out for parish councils.
This has been one of our best winters for pruning tasks and we have done a huge amount of work across all of our sites. We had some help from the Community Payback team in Felixstowe who cut back shrub growth around the beach huts for six weeks from the beginning of December until mid-January.
We are now in the process of completing a programme of herbicide spraying around obstacles before the grass cutting season commences. For health and safety reasons, these days spraying is undertaken in preference to strimming as excessive amounts of strimming could cause Hand-Arm-Vibration issues for our operatives.
In recent years we have won a number of maintenance contracts with schools and our winter sports pitch marking programme for these clients is currently on-going.
Summer still seems a long way off, but we have already ordered all of the summer bedding which we put in for a number of Town Councils, although we will not be planting these until June. We are also finalising requirements for hanging baskets for those customers who request them.