Vilnius is mowing the blooming meadows after the Midsummer Day
After the summer plants have finished blossoming and matured the seeds, Vilnius is starting the first mowing this year in the places where sustainable meadows are. Meanwhile, the lawn will be cut short in the residential environment (yards, children’s playgrounds, by the houses) as always.
The biggest changes will be seen in the places were sustainable meadows are formed – in the places further from residential zones, in the reservations of some streets and on the roadsides. All the meadows will be mowed until the end of July in order to prevent weeds and invasive plants from finding their home there. If meadows are mowed once or twice a year and the invasive plants are removed, only the species of plants characteristic to blooming meadows will become predominant there. They will push out nettles, pigweeds and other undesirable plants.
At the same time, the general algorithm of sustainable mowing is supplemented with the mowing maps specified according to the needs of residents.
“It is only natural that the standardized algorithm of sustainable mowing does not reflect the needs of each yard or neighbourhood well. We have been revising the mowing maps in consideration to particularity of certain places and habits of human activities since the very beginning of the mowing season, and the districts have been actively participating in the process,” – says the Head of the Urban Landscape Division of Vilnius City, Mrs. Ramunė Baniulienė.
More than 120 mowing places have been specified since the beginning of the mowing season. The residents ask to maintain short law or on the contrary, to allow the meadow to thrive there.
“Children have found their favourite spot for playing in some remote meadows, in some places no people are walking under the windows, and thus, the residents ask to leave the meadows that provide coolness and privacy,” commented Mrs. R. Baniulienė.
In order to assure better visibility of drivers, the section of short lawn at the crossings was extended to 10 meters. Short lawn is maintained in wider approaches to roundabouts. The lawn up to 10 cm will be maintained in narrow sections between the street and walkways and in the green areas between the street and houses, where the residents are used to walk their pets or to plant flowers, from July.
According to her, the smooth green changes are not unilateral, so Mrs. R. Baniulienė encourages the city residents who want to correct the ratio between the meadow and lawn to refer to their districts who are eager to help and forward the requests to the people maintaining the territory.
The lawn shorter than last year will be in the residential environment, i.e., in yards, sport courts and playgrounds, parks, squares and places. Mowing is more frequent here than earlier. Regardless of the fact that grass is growing very fast this wet summer, all efforts are made to prevent the grass from reaching medium height. The short lawn is maintained in order to make it more comfortable for children to play, to help the city residents not to be afraid to sit on the lawn in the square or park, to put down a blanket, and to spend leisure time actively. Prior to introduction of sustainable mowing, the grass would often reach its medium height there, which is not very convenient.
The places where it is reasonable to leave freely growing wild plants will not be mowed yet at all. They include approaches to highways, steep slopes of streets and rivers, in some roundabouts and reservations, i.e., in the places, where people are not walking. The thriving green plants have justified their presence because high grass and freely growing bushes and trees not only help to fight heat waves, but also absorb strong precipitation.
According to the experience of other cities, the benefit of sustainable mowing outweighs the inconveniences and risks, such as hazard of ticks or allergies. The tangible temperature may be reduced by shade created by trees or bushes even by five degrees, which is especially relevant in case of hot temperatures. The absorbed showers flood the streets less; the air gets cleaner, with less dust.
Vilnius is surrounded by nature, so, allergic people always need to take special care about their health. The allergologists remind that the first allergic peaks appear before the plants start blooming, because pollen is brought by winds from southern countries.
The real-time monitoring system of pollution and pollen concentration started operating in Vilnius this year (https://miestoplauciai.vilnius.lt). It allows checking the pollen concentration of particular plants at any time of the day.
Public Institution “Vilnius City Parks” is starting monitoring of city meadows. At first, monitoring of slopes of the Neris quay and Geležinio Vilko street will be started, and later the Western bypass, etc. will follow. According to Director of “Vilnius City Parks”, Mrs. Dovilė Ivanauskienė, the purpose of monitoring is to have a clear map with predominant types of plants, to control spreading of invasive plants, and to improve the mowing plans by separating the meadows that have to be mowed once in a season or twice, three times and more in a season. The monitoring of the state of meadows, their types and mowing regime will be performed by a professional team – a botanist, specialist of environmental protection, Mrs. Vilma Gudynienė, and expert of this field, Dr. Zigmantas Gudžinskas, who is working in the Council of Control of Invasive Species, and in the Natural Research Centre.
Sustainable mowing modes:
Short lawn – where is life is going on
More frequent and always short mowing in the yards, sport courts and playgrounds, parks, squares and places, along the streets and paths.
Free-growing plants – where the wild nature can be found
Massive and thriving green plants (including trees and bushes) are left in unused slopes, approaches to main streets. Only invasive plants are eliminated.
Sustainable meadow – where no people are walking
The meadows are mowed once or twice a year where the blooming meadows are wanted. Only windrows by the paths and streets are mowed regularly.
Photos by S. Žiūra
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