Keeping a Tidy Lawn Can Avoid a $500 Fine

From May 1 to October 31, grass over 10 inches can not only be unsightly, it can also lead to a $500 fine. As the mowing season has just begun I wanted to give folks the opportunity to not only know the rules, but also share information on how to find a good lawn care provider if they don’t have one.

I’ve already been contacted by a few residents seeking recommendations for lawn and yard care but I really don’t know of anyone in the area that does this (mostly because our yard was converted to a garden). If you have had a good experience with someone please share.

Below are the District Grass and Weed Regulations from the DCRA Web site:

District regulations prohibit property owners (commercial and residential) from allowing grass and weeds on their premises to grow more than 10 inches in height. Failing to adhere to the rule could lead to fines of more than $500. Between May 1 and October 31, DCRA can immediately mow properties and issues fines.

DCRA will be hanging “door knocker” reminders at properties where the grass height is getting close to the threshold to try to encourage voluntary compliance before the city has to intervene.

Tall grass can trigger respiratory problems like asthma and allergies in District residents and rats and other vermin are also drawn to the over-growth. This holds serious public health implications.

DCRA regulates several types of excessive vegetative growth including: kudzu, poison ivy, oak and sumac, plants with obnoxious odors, weeds, grasses causing hay fever, and any weed growth that creates a breeding place for mosquitoes. Regulations require that these weeds be cut after no more than seven days of growth.

Weeds may be defined as any vegetation at any state of maturity that:

* Exceeds more than 10 inches in height, is untended, or creates a dense area of shrubbery that is a detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the public;
* Creates a harbor (including hiding places for persons), or provides a place to conceal refuse or trash, regardless of height;
* Develops into deposits, or accumulation of, refuse or trash;
* Harbors rodents and vermin or provides a refuge for snakes, rats or other rodents;
* Creates an unpleasant or noxious odor;
* Constitutes a fire hazard; or
* Contains grass or weeds that are dead and diseased.

Failure to comply with a Notice of Violation during the growing season may result in DCRA cleaning the property and billing the owner for cost of the cleanup. Residents should report suspected violations to DCRA at (202) 442-9557 (choose option 6).

Residents can also send Tweets to @dcra – include photos if you’d like – of properties with grass and/or weeds exceeding 10 inches. Please try to get exact address before making a complaint.

Click here: DPW Vacant Lot Complaint Contact Information for information on how to register a complaint with the Department of Public Works about an overgrown vacant lot.


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2 Comments on “Keeping a Tidy Lawn Can Avoid a $500 Fine”

  1. Mike Says:


    Do you know who to contact if a house on our block is abandoned and has unsightly amounts of grass growing on the property? The house next door to us on Irving Street has been abandoned/foreclosed on since December and now the grass in the back yard is not only becoming an eyesore, but is now hosting a family of at least 8-10 rats, and we would like to know who to contact to get the situation addressed.


  2. Elaine Says:

    Home services of Washington – Mr. Joe Coner, awesome:
    (301) 839-1724
    They come to our Park View neighborhood biweekly throughout the summer.

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