Last updated:

2nd October 2023

Overgrown vegetation

Read about and report overgrown hedges, shrubs, and other plants

Maintaining hedges, shrubs and vegetation

Our contractors, Tivoli Group Ltd, maintain and cut hedges, shrubs and vegetation in public places.


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

How often are hedges cut?

Most hedges are cut once a year. This scheduled works takes place between September and March, outside of bird nesting season.

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 
  • Self-set trees, brambles, stinging nettles 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

Urgent obstruction of highway

If you're reporting an urgent issue that requires immediate attention, call 0118 974 6000 and select the 'highways' option.

An urgent issue is defined as something that is very likely to present an imminent threat to life, serious injury or serious damage to property - we aim to respond to urgent issues within 2 hours.

Overgrown hedges, shrubs or vegetation

Please provide the following information when reporting problems:

  • Exact location details
  • Additional information i.e., details of the issue
  • Photo(s) showing the problem

If you'd like to tell us about an issue please click on one of the boxes below:

Report a grass, hedge or shrub problem

Report overgrown private vegetation 

Alternatively, make a general highways enquiry.

Overgrown council vegetation

Our contractors, Tivoli Group Ltd, maintain and cut vegetation 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

We carry out scheduled maintenance of council owned hedges and shrubs between September and March, outside of bird nesting season.

Vegetation overhanging from private land

Landowners are responsible for maintaining their vegetation and we can require the owner to cut back their encroaching vegetation. Should they fail to do this we may take the decision to undertake the work ourselves and recover the costs for doing so. Please note that we receive a high volume of reports for overhanging vegetation during the growing season and these will be prioritised by risk to highway and footway users.

Advice about high hedges disputes

We recommend that you communicate with the hedge owner to resolve any disputes. Read the High Hedges advice on the website

If you have exhausted all other avenues for resolving a hedge dispute you can take your complaint to us.

Read the guidance about complaining to the council on the website and our High Hedges Complaint Procedures (PDF document.) 

If you request that we intervene in a private dispute, the fee is £751.80 for each complaint. If you disagree with our decision over a High hedge dispute you can appeal against our decision.

Apply for permission before removing a hedgerow

Hedgerows are protected under Hedgerow Regulations. Read about Hedgerow Regulations on the Natural England website. 

Normal trimming, coppicing, laying and removal of dead or diseased shrubs and trees doesn't require prior permission. But if you intend to remove a hedgerow, you will need to apply for permission. Contact us to determine whether a Hedgerow Removal Notice is required.

Useful documents

Contact us

We aim to investigate non-urgent issues within 28 days.

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