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Trees, grass cutting and pruning

Trees, grass cutting and pruning

There is no fixed schedule for grass cutting and pruning. We cut grass and prune hedges according to set standards. Read on to find out more.

Dangerous trees

Contact us to report a dangerous tree. 

Maintaining grass, parks and open spaces

Our contractors, ISS Facilities Services Landscaping, maintain and cut grass on:

  • Highway verges
  • Parks and open spaces
  • Children's play areas, youth shelters, skate parks and multi-use games areas
  • Cemeteries at St. Sebastian’s (Finchampstead), Grovelands Road Cemetery (Spencers Wood), and St Mary’s Closed Cemetery (Shinfield)
  • Sports pitches and tennis courts
  • Some ponds, lakes and watercourses
  • Grassland and wildflower areas 
     

How often is grass cut?

We monitor grass cutting to make sure it's carried out to agreed standards. 

The standards are:

  • Grass is no longer than 125mm (5 inches) and no shorter than 30mm (1 inch) in general grass areas - most highway verges and parks where it has not been left for wildflower planting or long grass areas
  • Where grass is left to grow long then litter should not be a cause for complaint
  • Care and attention is given to edges and obstacles e.g. fence posts, trees, etc.
  • Finish is free of litter, debris, weed flower stalks and grass culms
  • Paths and surrounding edges are free of clippings
  • There is an even spread of well mulched clippings


We want to increase these standards in high use areas - for example football pitches and play areas. To do this we will let grass grow long in some areas. This helps biodiversity and wildflower's life cycles. This is a trial and we will monitor customer feedback to ensure we get the right balance.

To find out more read our long grass and wild flower information (PDF document).

Dog fouling and ticks

It's the owner’s responsibility to collect dog waste whatever the height of the grass. We believe the benefits from greater biodiversity are greater than the potential increase in dog fouling.

Veterinarians say the health of a dog is the dog owner's responsibility. Ticks are easily removed and it's important to examine your dog after any kind of walk.

We're making sure that we still have lots of regularly cut areas maintained to higher standards than before.

Report overgrown grass

If you spot an area where the standards are not being met contact us.

Maintaining hedges, shrubs and vegetation

Our contractors, ISS Facilities Services Landscaping, maintain and cut hedges, shrubs and vegetation in public places.

How often are hedges cut?

Most hedges are cut once a year.

Hedges, shrubs and vegetation standards

We monitor hedges, shrubs and vegetation on public land to make sure they are maintained to agreed standards. 

These standards are

  • Hedges and shrubs are not allowed to interfere with - entrances, pathways, etc
  • Bird nesting legislation is adhered to - see bird nesting and vegetation (PDF document)
  • Self-set trees, brambles, stinging nettle etc are removed when requested
  • Litter does not become out of hand
  • Any dead or diseased plants are removed and gaps replaced or protected
  • Base of hedges are managed sustainably
  • Leaves, hedgerow flora, mulch, and organic material remain if they don't interfere with entrances, pathways, etc

Report overgrown hedges, shrubs or vegetation

If you spot an area where the standards are not being met contact us

Dangerous trees     

We will undertake work to trees on public land to maintain public safety or the health of the tree. 

We can't prune privately owned trees. It is the landowner’s responsibility to prune back trees that overhang their property and ensure that a tree is not protected before carrying out any works.

Our tree maintenance policy

Overhanging trees

There is no legal requirement or obligation for cutting back of height or spread of roots and branches from overhanging trees.

Where trees are reported to overhang private properties and gardens we will agree to cut back only if it is causing or will cause physical damage to a property wall, fence or roof.

We are not able to cut back trees for the following reasons

  • Height and size
  • Fouling birds
  • Light
  • Falling leaves, sap, berries, flowers or pollen
  • Overhanging with no danger to property
  • Views
  • Roots - unless they cause structural damage 

Privately owned trees

With the exception of protected trees - trees included in a Tree Preservation Orderor in a conservation area - any property owner is within their legal right to cut back to the boundary line if they wish to do so. The cuttings will have to be disposed of by the property owner. 

For emergencies relating to privately owned trees, contact a local tree contractor, visit the  Arboricultural Association website, or read our  Frequently Asked Questions about trees (PDF document.) 

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