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Cathryn

Grass verges

What would happen if they were never cut?

They have been rather disappointingly mown again, just as everything was looking lovely. I don't know why they cut a B road that can only just take two cars. Is there some safety reason? They have decided not to grit the road this winter. That is going to be difficult for us and definitely dangerous.

Are there any useful facts you can add to my letter to my local Councillor?
Rob R

Visibility is quite severely affected if they're left long and the less you cut the more the taller weedy species encroach as the grasses rely on something either mowing, flattening or eating them.
Treacodactyl

Well there's the Plantlife campaign for a start: http://www.plantlife.org.uk/roadvergecampaign/why_are_road_verges_so_important

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22671186

I'm certainly in favour of less mowing but some trimming may be required for safety and it's not ideal when cycling around the country lanes to battle past brambles several foot into the road.

It would also help if motorists didn't sit in the middle of the road when faced with a bit of grass dangling out of the verge.
Cathryn



It would also help if motorists didn't sit in the middle of the road when faced with a bit of grass dangling out of the verge.


This is curious isn't it. That's what we've noticed. People do not pull over making passing difficult. When the verges are cut they erode the banks though and the road gradually widens.

Thanks for the other info you two.
Cathryn

They are not going to collect the cuttings and they only cut it once a year but should it be now? We can only cut our hay meadows from 15 July and we are guessing that this is the date the Council are using.
Rob R

If, as round here, you have invasive blackthorn, you just end up with a hedge where there was previously verge. It's just like any untended land area, eventually it turns to scrub, then to woodland.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

In defence of car drivers (sorry!) - unless you know the road it's often impossible to tell whether a verge is just overgrown or you're about to side-swipe a 3 foot tall earth bank Shocked

Anything completely left alone will eventually be covered in weeds and scrub; but I believe there are campaigns to leave the annual haircut until after wild flowers have set seed.

http://www.wharfedaleobserver.co.uk/news/news_local/9062072.Verges_are_a_haven_for_wild_flowers/?ref=rss
Rob R

I took a few photos of a verge that doesn't get cut today;














pollyanna

They have to cut the verges at least once a year or the ditches get blocked.
Joyously they have cut them at least 6 weeks later this year, but I think that's because the men who are contracted to do it have been too busy on silage until now.
There is a roundabout on the A40 locally with a fine stand of orchids. Two year's back I was told it wasn't mown to allow the orchids to seed. This year it was scalped quite early; too early.
The reason I'm wary of pulling over too far is hidden ditches. Funny how owners of ultra-clean four wheel drives are unwilling even to squeeze into the side of the road.
dpack

mowing good at the right times

grazing good ditto

un cut wider hedge
Mistress Rose

Agree with that Dpack. It is sensible to keep the vegetation down at junctions and where visibility is needed, but otherwise, one cut in the late summer or autumn is better. Round our way they tend to keep the verges short and employ monkeys for peanuts to do the job. It took ages for them to even wear ear defenders and hard hats, and we think at least one of the companies wasn't training their staff properly.

We cut back a public footpath along the edge of our wood that had been badly overgrown for years. The first few years we got an amazing range of flowers, but now the trees and shrubs have overgrown it, we have lost the flowers. If we really worked to cut it right back, we would get them back again though.
Rob R

It's easier to cut the whole thing as it's difficult to know where extra visibility is needed when you don't use the stretch of road or the gateways off it yourself. It has to be done in Spring or the nettles and yarrow make it impossible, and narrow roads are worse than the wider ones.

The wider verges round here tend to be cut for hay by the adjacent farms, the narrow ones cut by the council contractors, or topped by farmers if we get fed up of waiting. Often they'll only do one width nearest the road early on and then the full width later in the season.
Castle Farm

Our local council has stopped cutting verges...I do my own.

If you want a real treat have a look at the verges on the A3 surrey.

Millions and I mean millions of ragwort plants grow every where.
When we lived down there, we had to buy our hay from Hampshire and it was very expensive due to transport costs. I pull what I see growing around here, but a lot don't bother.

Cut the verges and help the wildlife.
Treacodactyl

Funnily enough you get told to leave ragwort for the wildlife. I used to always pull it up until I realised that I most often saw large patches in fields of livestock and horses.

I have noticed that round here this year only some parts of the verges have now been cut on the backroads, around junctions and the inside of a bend for example. If it's been done on purpose it seems rather sensible.
alison

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69264/pb9840-cop-ragwort.pdf
earthyvirgo

However, http://www.buglife.org.uk/news-%26-events/news/ragwort-pullers-threaten-ecology-forest

and

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3348991/Conservation-warning-over-ragwort-hysteria.html

So ragwort removal is only really important where there are grazing livestock.

EV
Mistress Rose

Having read all that lot it seems it is all right to leave the ragwort in the woods as there are no grazing animals for several hundred yards now. The coppice should start to shade it out next year or the year after anyway. Think this coup was nitrified by run off from the field next door, as the new coup I am studying hasn't grown anything like as much in one summer as this one did. You know there was interaction with the field when you find wheat growing in a hazel and ash coppice coup. Very Happy
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