With the exam period and summer holidays fast approaching, it’s an important time for schools and their pupils, and a good time to think about how effective your school grounds maintenance is at present.
A typical school site presents a huge range of challenges, from grassy lawns and playing fields, to hedges along footpaths, to flowerbeds filled with shrubs and even mature trees, particularly on larger premises.
Each type of planting needs taking care of in its own unique way, making school grounds maintenance an art form in its own right.
But for schools and colleges, it’s not just a case of keeping trees healthy for their own sake, and there are plenty of other reasons why you might need a tree surgeon, or somebody to give some attention to your shrubberies, fields and lawns.
With mature trees, there may even be a safety risk if a broken limb shows signs of falling off completely – and any weakened growth should be removed before it has a chance to fall on passers-by or block a path or other entry to school grounds.
Hedges can be cut back to avoid encroaching on pavements too, while you may want to have shrubs pruned back to avoid excess leaf fall on paths, which can turn to dangerously slippery mulch in wet weather.
If you have flowerbeds and lawns at the front of the property, it’s important to keep them looking at their best, particularly around open days when you want to make the best possible impression on next year’s prospective intake.
This is a factor for schools, but especially for sixth form colleges and their equivalents, where students might have a free choice of different institutions to attend.
And naturally it is crucial to keep playing fields in good condition, with grass short enough to be playable, but also healthy enough to keep bare earth patches to a minimum even under regular use.
Finally, if your playing fields have degraded during the worse weather of winter and early spring, now is the best time of all to get the grass trimmed to the right length, attend to any bare patches, and have pitch markings and running tracks freshly painted.
Do it now while the weather is good but still improving, and your fields will be ready for use in time for summer sports days and other events – and will still be in great condition when the new intake arrives to start using them in September, too.