Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often are the parks mowed?
Typically parks are mowed every 10 days and medians every 14 days, in the best of conditions. Parks that have reservable shelters and reservable athletic fields are mowed more often; small neighborhood parks are mowed less often ... averaging every 10-14 days.
2. How does mowing differ from early spring and throughout the summer?
As homeowners all know, grass and dandelions grow quickly in the early spring with the warmer temperatures and typically wet conditions. During this period of rapid growth in the early spring, there are approximately 25 employees dedicated to mowing and other maintenance duties for the 270 parks. Approximately 75 additional summer seasonal employees join our staff in late May through late August. Once the additional employees are hired and trained, the mowing cycle may be closer to 7-10 days.
3. With the additional summer staff why is the mowing cycle only reduced by a few days?
The Parks maintenance staff, permanent and seasonal, do much more for the Madison Parks than just mow. The staff also must empty the trash barrels in all of the parks, clean all of the shelters and restrooms on a daily basis, and prepare the parks and athletic fields for special events and recreational leagues. In 2006, the Parks Division hosted 4,365 separate sporting events, and hosted 1,360 weddings, reunions, and parties in the park shelters.
Another reason the mowing cycle is reduced only a few days is because of the time it takes to transport the mowers from park to park. There are only 3 park maintenance facilities where mowers are stored. The Madison City limits continue to expand year after year, increasing the amount of time required to haul the mowers and equipment from location to location.
4. How does the city handle dandelions and other weeds?
City staff mows. We do not use pesticides in our city parks. The pesticide policy was devised after several public meetings and is a reflection of our community’s values of environmental stewardship. Pesticides are only used very sparingly and in special circumstances on the public golf courses, conservation parks and Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Go to: Pesticide Policies
Dandelions are in bloom in May and June when the weather turns warm and the turf is wet. A dandelion flower can bloom in 3 days. The parks mowing cycle is 10-14 days. So despite the fact that staff has mowed the park or median, the dandelion grows so fast, that it appears that the grass has not been mowed.
5. Why are some parks mowed more often than others?
Parks that have activities that require more frequent maintenance such as large special events, and/or programmed soccer, softball or other sports are mowed more frequently. Community and Area parks that have these activities are mowed closer to every 10 days on the 10-14 day cycle. Smaller neighborhood parks and playlots that have fewer programmed park events are mowed closer to every 14 days. This is simply a function of using the staff in the most effective and economical way.