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The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department has begun mowing parks and verges ahead of spring blooms. The department has the annual dilemma of whether to have neat, mowed spaces, or a display of newly blossomed spring flowers. Be as it may, the City remains committed to service delivery and mowing has begun. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department is aware that their mowing programme this time of year causes equal doses of delight and dismay.

‘Mowing always causes controversy, especially around spring, as some residents are delighted with trimmed lawns while others prefer the wild abandon of flowers. The department has started to mow our parks, open spaces, cemeteries and metro road verges, even though there has already been an explosion of annuals and perennials which germinates in the wet soils, during the warmer temperatures,’ said the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

Many residents and visitors to the areas where the flowers occur contend that they should be left untouched and not mowed until the seeds have ripened and dropped.

Some of these blooming arrivals are remnants of indigenous renosterbos and strandveld, which can transform open spaces into Namaqualand-type flower shows.

Other vegetation making their appearance includes weed grasses such as Common wild oats and broadleaf weeds such as Patterson’s curse. These weeds quickly push their flower heads upwards and reach 1,5 metres high, even within a matter of days after being mowed.

‘Mowing causes contention. Residents complain every year, either for areas to be mowed or for the wild flowers to be left undisturbed. Each spring we have numerous requests for both,’ said Alderman Smith.

Recreation and Parks officials are committed to prompt and effective service delivery as the city has more than 6,461 hectares of land to be mowed, which is no small task.

‘Depending on the conservation element that needs to be protected mowing programmes take conservation principles into account. Therefore, there are many open areas throughout the city, including identified biodiversity areas or nature sensitive areas where mowing does not take place and where spring flowers can be seen. However, all efforts are being made to keep our parks and sidewalks tidy and properly maintained,’ said Alderman Smith.

Generally, if residents want the City to stop cutting grass in a certain park, they need to submit their request in writing to their local Recreation and Parks Department with signatures of support from neighbours, indicating that they agree with the request. Staff are then instructed not to mow those parks while the spring flowers are in bloom, usually during September and October.

‘The only risk is that we may receive complaints from people who feel that the uncut grass is untidy and not being properly maintained. Due to the conducive weather conditions of spring, fast growth of grass can be expected. Grass on the sidewalks would still need to be cut in order to ensure that safety standards are upheld and there is clear visibility for pedestrians and motorists.

‘We should also not underestimate the impact that the drought has had over the past years, in seeds not germinating or flowering as much as in previous years when there was enough water. We will truly see the impact in September and October. At the moment it is still winter and the flowers that bloom now are sporadic due to the sudden warm weather and recent rainfall,’ added Alderman Smith.

The City is committed to making Cape Town an inclusive place where residents feel safe and proud of their parks.

Concerns about uncut grass in parks and on sidewalks, can be directed to 021 400 9538 or 021 400 4688 or 021 400 9538.

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