- The contracts for the next seven years no longer require golf turf everywhere.
- Plans are left to grow undisturbed in areas without active use.
- Constant mowing is often required by local residents.
The city of Tallinn has begun to listen to the increasingly louder voices which demand that the grass should not be mowed regularly everywhere to a length of a couple of centimeters and some places be left untouched.
Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet said that the mowing of green areas has been reduced during the driest period this summer. “Secondly, the new road maintenance tenders which we announced a couple of weeks ago include the option of changing the frequency of mowing, especially in the city center. According to the plan, once these tenders have been completed the city will begin to review, district by district, which areas could be mowed less frequently and in which areas the current level of maintenance must be maintained,” Svet told Postimees.
Svet added that the people could generally understand on their own why the grass is mowed more frequently in some places. “For example, it the people are used to walk their dogs all the time in some areas or children play ball on the lawn, this is probably a reason to mow more often so that these places could be used comfortably. But if there is no direct need for low grass, we shall consider whether it is necessary to mow so frequently in the future,” the deputy mayor explained.
According to Svet, the city authorities are also thinking about adding some plants to the lawn which would improve the overall picture. “When we talk about biodiversity, it means more than simply stopping mowing or mowing less frequently. This also means that certain cultures should be added there and maintained,” Svet said.
An example of excellent landscaping is the newly opened Kalaranna promenade. “We do not allow just any vegetation to grow on the promenade. Special meadow plants were planted there, which have been maintained accordingly. And if we want all that to live, these areas must be maintained in the future. Ultimately this is a more complicated matter than mowing or not mowing, but in any case we plan to reduce the overall amount of mowing in those areas where it doesn’t disturb people. We also intend to improve the quality of the green areas; that means to diversify the selection of plants there,” the deputy mayor promised.
According to Tarmo Sulg, head of the Urban Environment and Public Works Department, there is currently a clash of different schools of thought and cultures. “The city district heads keep telling at the meetings how residents complain whenever a slightly longer tuft of grass is standing somewhere and demand that someone must come and mow it. Now is the right time to make some changes and we will go along with them,” Sulg said.
“As we are now concluding contracts for the maintenance of green areas for the next seven years, we have made some concessions. Bijvoorbeeld, that the grass could be taller and the mowing of various areas could be more differentiated. But as with any new thing, it is necessary to explain to the people why it is being done, because many people do not want to go along with it right away. They complain that small dogs get lost in the grass and ticks would spread and that there are other problems,” said Sulg.
According to Jaanus Riibe, the head of Kristiine district, several places in the parks of Kristiine have been left growing this year. “And it seems to me that there are fewer complaints about mowing this year than in previous years. Maybe it is also due to the hot period but maybe the people’s views on mowing are beginning to change as well,” Riibe speculated.
“The diversity of species is certainly important also in the city; and this year we have simply planted more flowers in many areas so that there is not just the grass, but the greenery is more diverse," hij voegde toe.
Tallinn’s new regulations no longer dictate to private owners how high the grass can be in the gardens of their homes.