Have you ever wondered: Why is the grass so tall on Burnside Street?

Published: Aug. 15, 2017 at 1:35 PM CDT
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A city ordinance in Sioux Falls states that lawns must be shorter than eight inches. A viewer noticed that the grass at Burnside Park in Sioux Falls looks a little taller than that. But it's actually exempt because it's part of a designated no-mow area.

"We have reevaluated our mowing program across the park system, and we have let some of the areas go," Kelby Mieras said. "We call them no-mow areas, areas in which are passive use areas or areas that typically don't get a lot of use within the park system."

Mieras is the park operations manager for the city of Sioux Falls. He said Burnside Park isn't the only place with a no-mow area.

"We have had native areas that we haven't mowed historically. Pasley Park, the Helen Pasley Nature Area, out at Arrowhead and Great Bear," said Mieras.

The city started experimenting with this program in 2016, but the vegetation didn't take off because it was too late in the season. It's a different story this year though.

"It looks really good. It got to a good size and the desirable vegetation was able to choke out the undesirable stuff so that it makes it easy to maintain," said Mieras.

The no-mow areas don't save the city much money. It's just a different look and a different way to maintain the park system.

"We've got some people who don't necessarily like the way that it looks," said Mieras. "And we get some people who absolutely love the way that it looks."

Mieras said for the most part, the response has been positive. City workers make sure there's a buffer, so the tall vegetation isn't against the curb or sidewalk. They also pull the harmful weeds. Other than that, these areas require low maintenance because the city just lets it grow.

Mieras believes the city will continue the no-mow areas in the spring and summer of 2018.

If you have a question you'd like answered, reach out to Vanessa Gomez. Her email is