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Hall County aims to cut costs on mowing
Herbicidal spray can stunt grass growth along roadways
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What if you only had to mow the lawn once a year?
It sounds too good to be true, but Hall County Road Maintenance will begin using an herbicidal spray along right-of-ways that will stunt the growth of grass.

Hall County Public Works Director Ken Rearden said a trial period on 10 miles of roadway this summer was successful.

"It cuts the mowing time in half," Rearden said.

The herbicide costs about $50 per mile. The county plans to begin spraying on approximately 200 miles of roadway in January.

The grass and weeds would need to be sprayed three times per year, in January, June and August and then mowed once in the fall.

The cost of the spray would be included in the road maintenance budget.

Currently, the county spends more than $58,000 to maintain tractors to mow 825 miles of roads four times during the mowing season, from March through October.

Road Maintenance Supervisor Jimmy Hightower estimates the county could save $95,000 in fuel and labor costs.

"I think it's going to turn out great for us," Hightower said. "Other municipalities are doing this and they've had good success with it."

Slowing the growth of roadside vegetation will be especially useful in rural areas.

"The poultry houses, when they clean out between growings, they take their litter out and put it on pastures. In delivering that down the roads, some blows off from time to time," Hightower said. "That fertilizer gets on the roadside and it really does help stimulate the growth of the grass and vegetation."

Hightower is also looking forward to fewer mowers being out on busy roadsides.

"It's a much safer operation for road maintenance," Hightower said. "It would give us an opportunity to use our manpower somewhere else with upcoming projects."