Grass Cutting

close up of green grass with blue sky blurred in the background

From May to October of each year, the municipality cuts the grass at 2,500 individual sites across the region and maintains over 6.2 million square metres of grass found in parks, Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) properties, athletic fields, municipal facilities, and rights of ways. Grass cutting is delivered through contractors, community partnerships and in-house resources.

Maintenance Guidelines

The municipality has grass cutting service guidelines in place. Our service guidelines outline what residents can expect from the municipality regarding grass cutting, including how often sites are maintained and the maintenance activities for each site.

See our grass cutting service guidelines mapping tool

The grass cutting service guidelines have three classifications: A, B and C and are based on:

  • Frequency of cuts; and/or
  • Number of cuts per season that is best practice for the industry
  • Maintaining optimal conditions for ball diamonds and sports fields

What are the municipality’s grass cutting service guidelines for an area in your community? Follow the steps below:

  1. Identify the type of site
  2. Review the service guidelines for that site
  3. Learn more about the additional cut periods for that site
Site Type Classification Service Guidelines Additional Cut Period
Site Type Classification Service Guidelines Additional Cut Period
Regional parks & athletic fields (ball diamonds and sports fields) A 1 cut per 7 days & 6 additional cuts per additional cut period Mowing frequency becomes 2 cuts per 7 days for a 6-week period
Community, neighbourhood and district parks, HRCE properties & municipal facilities B 1 cut per 14 days & 6 additional cuts per additional cut period Mowing frequency becomes 1 cut per 7 days for a 12-week period
Right of ways C 1 cut per 14 days No additional mowing

As part of our commitment to the community, the municipality can implement additional cuts to sites within a specific classification during high growth periods. Traditionally, these cuts start during the first week of June and provide up to an additional six cuts over a six-week period.

There may also be exceptions to the service guidelines due to weather, special events booking, use of school sites, or other unexpected daytime use.

Role & Responsibilities of Others

The municipality is responsible for cutting and maintaining the sites noted above. We are not responsible for cutting the grass of:

  • Landlords
  • Commercial properties
  • Private property residential owners
  • Sites owned by other government agencies

Property owners are expected to maintain the grass on their property and the right of way that abuts their property to a reasonable height of approximately six inches based on the Respecting Streets By-law (S-300). If the municipality receives a complaint stating that grass has not been cut, a Compliance Officer will visit the property to conduct a site inspection.

If there is a violation, the Compliance Officer will issue the property owner with an Order and date of when the grass must be cut. If the property owner does not comply by the specific date in the Order, the municipality will complete the work by hiring a contractor to cut the grass, which is billed back to the property owner and form a lien against the property. 

Impacts to grass

Despite rigorous maintenance activities by municipal staff, the quality and conditions of each site are also impacted by:

  • Age of the site
  • Overuse and/or non-usage
  • Time of the year (e.g., early spring yields increase in dandelions)
  •  Unusual seasonal weather patterns (e.g., a particularly warm or wet season)

Weed growth

Spring weeds

Every spring, the municipality receive inquiries regarding dandelion growth on municipally owned property. We do not use chemicals to curb weed growth. Clippings are a natural byproduct of mowing and mowed clippings return nutrients to the soil.

Dandelions are a perennial and occur in a two-to-three week flush (rapid period of growth) during the last few weeks of May and the first few weeks of June. At this time, the plants are very evident because of their bright yellow flowers and fluffy round-seed heads. There is a second flush (but less noticeable) during late summer, when the temperature cools down again.

The dandelion flower stalk can grow as much as three to four inches in 12 hours and can be 6-12 inches high within 24 to 48 hours. This is part of its ecological strategy to get its seed head above the surrounding grass, where the seeds can be caught by the wind and scattered. This means that even sites newly cut can look uncared for within one or two days of grass cutting. It usually takes two to three grass cutting cycles, depending on the cutting schedule, to get through the spring flush of dandelions.

Fall weeds

Every fall, the municipality experiences a surge in weeds, which can be unexpected for some residents since weeds are usually associated with the warmer months. Although the municipality continue to cut grass until late October, fall weeds grow much faster than grass and give the illusion that sites are not being cut or maintained. 

Queen Annes’ Lace, also known as wild carrot,  is a biennial plant.  After going to seed, the dried flower takes on a “birds’ nest” appearance and can move like a tumble weed to help spread its seeds.  Queen Anne’s Lace grows up to 1m in height and has an umbrella-shaped cluster of white flowers at the top of a hairy stem. Both the plant and its tap root have a carrot-like smell.

Autumn Hawkbit, also known as the Autumn Dandelion, starts to bloom and become evident in grassy areas typically starting in mid-August into October. Autumn Hawkbit has a yellow dandelion-type flower head at the tips of branches forking off a central stem and can grow up to 2 feet in height. 
 

Popular Questions

What are the types of sites the municipality maintains?

The municipality cuts the grass at:

  • Regional parks
  • Athletic fields (ball diamonds and sports fields)
  • Community, neighbourhood and district parks
  • Halifax Regional Centre for Education properties
  • Municipal facilities
  • Rights of ways 

We do not cut the grass of:

  • Landlords
  • Commercial properties
  • Private property residential owners
  • Sites owned by other government agencies

 

When does the grass cutting season start and end?

Over the next three years, the contract grass cutting season for the municipality begins and ends on:

  • May 8 to October 22, 2022
  • May 7 to October 21, 2023
  • May 5 to October 19, 2024
How often is the park in my neighbourhood mowed?

It depends on the type of park. Each site is classified based on A, B or C and this classification determines the service guideline for the site.

If the park is a regional park, it receives one cut every week and six additional cuts per additional cut period. If the park is a community, neighbourhood, or district park, it receives one cut every two weeks and six additional cuts per additional cut period. 

Please see the grass cutting service guidelines above for more information or view our grass cutting service guidelines mapping tool.

Why wasn’t the site in my community mowed based the service guidelines?

We do our best to meet, and exceed, the service guidelines in place by cutting over 6.2 million square meters of grass every two weeks. If the grass at a site has not been cut based on the service guidelines, it is usually due to weather, special events booking, use of school sites, or other unexpected daytime use.

Why does a municipally managed site look uncared-for?   

There may be two reasons that a site looks uncared-for:

  1. The site is at the end of its service cycle. If a site is cut once every two weeks for example, it may be on day 12 or 13, so there may be dandelions, weeds and/or long grass. The site will be cut shortly. 
  2. It is mid-May to mid-June and there is a dandelion flush, which includes a rapid period of growth for dandelions. At this time, dandelions are very evident because they can grow as much as three to four inches in 12 hours and can be as tall as six to 12 inches within 24-48 hours.  
  3. It is mid-August to October and there is a fall weed flush, including rapid growth of the Queen Annes’ Lace and Autumn Dandelions. Fall weeds grow much faster than grass and give the illusion of an unkept site. 
Who do I contact if my neighbour doesn’t mow their private property?

Property owners are expected to maintain the grass on their property and the right of way that abuts their property to a reasonable height of approximately six inches based on the Respecting Streets By-law (S-300). Contact 311 and a Compliance Officer will visit the site for inspection.

I rent an apartment. Is the municipality responsible for mowing our property?

No. We are not responsible for cutting the grass of:

  • Landlords
  • Commercial properties
  • Private property residential owners
  • Sites owned by other government agencies