Ask NOW: Should people take more care with their lawn care?

Grass clippings that blow onto pathways or roadways can cause safety and drainage issues.

Grass clippings that blow onto pathways or roadways can cause safety and drainage issues. Photo By Geoff Bruce

May 27, 2014

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Should people avoid blowing grass onto roads or pathways while mowing their lawns?

Question: A reader raises the concern of grass clippings being strewn across public rights of way during lawn mowing. Cathy Wegner wants to know if those caring for their lawns should take extra care to avoid sending the remnants of their work onto pathways or roads. Wegner brought up a safety concern, as a sheet of grass atop the pavement can result in slickness for bicycles and motor vehicles.

Response: The answer is yes.

City of Brookfield Director of Public Works Tom Grisa and City of Brookfield Zoning and Building Administrator Larry Goudy agree that grass clippings should be kept off pathways and roads if possible. Both officials acknowledged that the issue has never caused severe problems in the city.

"I think it's discouraged. There is a code section that talks about placing materials in the streets and I think you could stretch it to say grass clippings shouldn't be there either, but I don't think it's strictly used," Goudy said. "Usually (the clippings) dry up and blow away, and it's not a problem."

Grisa said excessive grass on the pavement can cause a safety hazard.

"If they get wet and greasy, certainly it can become slippery and be an issue," he said.

Grass on the pavement also can be an issue due to the potential for blocking storm drains.

"We prefer to have grass trimmings put back into the grass and not onto the roadway or the pathway where they can more easily wash into the drain," Grisa said.

Goudy noted that the city does have the power to order groups or individuals to remove materials from the public right of way.

"You should remove the material when ordered, but I don't think it's ever been too much of an issue," Goudy said.

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