Grass, weeds and shrubs

This page covers the maintenance of grass, weeds and shrubs on highways. 

Management of shrubs, grass and weed growth within parks and open spaces, housing sites, schools and other council building may be different and the responsibility lies with the department or site outlined below.

If the information on this page does not provide the details required please report the issue using the online form.


Grassed verges

The grass verges are cut eight-times in the year, which means there are approximately five to six weeks between the cuts. The grass grows at different rates throughout the year, with the fastest rate being between April and June and during the rest of the year the grass tends to grow slower, but the flowers will continue to grow quite tall.

Grass cutting programme

The first grass cut of the season was completed on the 27 May 2022;  the next cut  is programmed to be completed within a five to six week rotation. The table below shows the order of grass cutting and indicates when a ward has been.

Find out what ward your road is on

Grass cutting ward Completion 
Cranbrook  Completed
Wanstead Park Completed
Wanstead Village Completed

South Woodford






Bridge In progress
Ilford Town  
Seven Kings  


Grass cuts each year will vary, as some locations are managed differently for a specific reason. There are three main categories:

Grass verges

There are about 240 highway grass verges in the 22 Redbridge wards, covering 165,000 square metres. The verges are cut eight times each year on an approximate four to six-week cycle.

The cutting starts in March and generally is completed in November or December.

The programme is subject to alteration due to weather and ground conditions.  Cutting is not carried out in heavy rain or if the ground is too soft due to waterlogging.

Cutting may be suspended in periods of prolonged hot weather when the grass dies back; this is to prevent damage to the grass and ground surface.

Rural Road verges

Verges adjacent to farmers fields and in non-residential areas (mainly in the Aldborough and Hainault wards) are cut twice per year, to maintain sight lines for motorists.

For safety reasons, this work is generally carried out using a tractor, with a cutting arm attached to it.

Redbridge Council is  promoting bio-diversity schemes and wildflower meadows on the highway at the following highway locations to create Grow Zones:

  • Billet Road, Aldborough
  • Broadmead Road, Monkhams – near junction of High Road
  • Bunces Lane, Churchfields
  • Caernarvon Drive to Fullwell Avenue footpath, Fullwell
  • Chigwell Road, Bridge – near Park
  • Chigwell Road, Churchfields – near allotments
  • Claybury Broadway, Clayhall
  • Dale Gardens, Monkhams
  • Epping New Road, Monkhams
  • Fieldhouse Close, Churchfields
  • Fullers Road, Churchfields
  • Hazelbrouck Gardens, Fairlop
  • Hermitage Close, Wanstead Village
  • Hermon Hill, South Woodford - junction of Cranbourne Avenue
  • High Road, Churchfields
  • High Road, Monkhams
  • High Road, Goodmayes
  • Hurstleigh Gardens, Fullwell
  • Ilford Lane, Loxford
  • Lakehouse Road, Wanstead Park
  • Lambs Meadow, Fullwell
  • Loxford Lane, Loxford
  • Manford Way, Hainault – junction of Manor Road
  • Mildmay Road, Clementswood
  • Mildmay Road Car Park, Clementswood
  • Nelson Road, Wanstead Village
  • Rodney Road, Wanstead Village
  • Overton Drive, Wanstead Park
  • Primrose Road, South Woodford
  • Riches Road Subway, Ilford Town
  • Roding Lane South, Clayhall
  • Romford Road, Hainault
  • Station Road, Aldborough
  • Station Road Car Park, Chadwell
  • Sydney Road, Monkhams
  • The Drive, Wanstead Village - junction with Snaresbrook Road
  • The Vale, Churchfields
  • Tomswood Hill, Fairlop
  • Wanstead Place, Wanstead Village
  • Winston Way, Ilford Town – rear of car park

The grass at these locations is being left to grow to encourage wildflowers and grasses to sow their seeds. The areas are cut and collected once or twice a year, depending on rate of growth and location, in July and November to improve the range of species the Grow Zones can support.  Through this initiative the area now covered by Grow Zones is 17% of the total area of grass on the highway

In 2021, 5 sites were monitored to make a note of non-grass species that emerged. In April we noted 32 different species, the cumulative count of species increased to 49 in May, 78 in June 100 in July and 109 in August. The species are listed below and this helps to show the biodiversity benefit of reducing the frequency of mowing.

Common name Botanical name Month first noted
Annual Mercury Mercurialis annua June
Bindweed Convolvulus arvensis May
Birdsfoot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus June
Black Horehound Ballota nigra July
Black Medick Medicago lupulina August
Black Thistle Cirisium vulgare July
Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta May
Blue Flax Linum perenne June
Bramble Rubus fruticosus May
Bristly Ox Tongue Helminthotheca echnoides April
Brown Knapweed Centaurea jacea July
Buddleia Buddleia davidii August
Burnweed (tbc) Erechtites hieraciifolius May
California Poppy Eschscholzia californica June
Canadian Fleabane Erigeron canadenis August
Cats Ear Hypochaeris radicata May
Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium June
Chicory Cichorium intybus August
Cleavers Galium aparine May
Clover Trifolium repens May
Common Borage Borago officinalis June
Common Burdock Arctium minus April
Common Chickweed Stellaria media April
Common Comfrey Symphytum officinale May
Common Field Speedwell Veronica persica April
Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra July
Common Marjoram Origanum majorana July
Common Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris June
Common Ragwort Senecio jacobaea April
Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa June
Common Teasel Dipsacus fullonum June
Common Thistle Cirsium vulgare August
Common Vetch Vicia sativa April
Cornflower Centaurea cyanus July
Cow Parsley Anthriscus sylvestris April
Cow Parsnip Heracleum maximum June
Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens June
Creeping Cinquefoil Potentilla reptans April
Creeping Wood Sorrel (tbc) Oxalis acetosella July
Crow Garlic Allium vineale July
Daisy Bellis perennis April
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale April
Dock Rumex obtusifolia April
Dovesfoot Cranesbill Geranuim molle April
Dwarf Mallow Malva neglecta April
Dyers Chamomile Cota tinctoria June
European Corn Salad Vaerianella locusta May
Everlasting Pea Lathyrus latifolius July
Fat Hen Chenopodium album July
Field Pepperwort Lepidium campestre May
Field Poppy Papaver rhoeas June
Fools Parsley Aethusa cynapium April
Garden Candytuft Iberis sempervirens July
Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata June
German Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla July
Grape Hyacinth Muscari armeniacum April
Greater Plantain Plantago major April
Greek Mustard Erucastrum incanum May
Green Alkanet Pentaglottis sempervirens April
Ground Elder Aegopodium podagraria April
Groundsel Senecio vulgaris April
Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta April
Hairy Hawkbit Leontodon taraxacoides August
Hawksbeard Crepis biennis August
Herb Bennet Geum urbanum June
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum July
Hedge Mustard Sisymbrium officinale July
Hoary Willowherb (tbc) Epilobium parviflorum July
Lady's Bedstraw Galium verum July
Lesser Swine-cress Lepidium didymum July
Lesser Trefoil Trifolium dubium June
Marigold Calendula officinalis May
Milk Thistle Silybum marianum July
Musk Mallow Malva moschata July
Nipplewort Lapsana communis April
Oil Seed Rape Brassica napus June
Ox-Eye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare June
Oxford Ragwort Senecio squalidus June
Perennial Wall Rocket Diplotaxis tenuifolia June
Perforated St Johns Wort Hypericum perforatum June
Pineapple weed Matricaria discoidea June
Prostrate knotgrass Polygonum aviculare June
Radium Plant Euphorbia peplus July
Red Campion Silene dioica June
Red Dead Nettle Lamium purpureum April
Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata April
Rosebay Willowherb Chamaenerion angustifolium July
Rough Star Thistle Centaurea aspera May
Sainfoin Onobrychis vicifolia June
Salad Burnet Sanguisorba minor June
Shepherds Needle Scandi pecten-veneris June
Shepherds Purse Capsella bursa-pastoris April
Sow Thistle Sonchus oleraceus April
Spotted Medick Medicago arabica April
Sticky Mouse-ear Chickweed Cerastium glomeratum April
Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica April
Sweet Viola Viola odorata April
Tulip Tulipa April
Viper Bugloss Echium vulgare June
Water Avens Geum rivale August
White Campion Silene latifolia May
White Clover Trifolium repens June
White Dead Nettle Lamium album April
Wild Carrot Daucus carota June
Wild Clary Salvia verbenaca June
Wild Lettuce Lactuca virosa May
Wild Marjoram Origanum vulgare May
Wild Mustard Sinapsis arvensis August
Wild Parsnip Pastinaca sativa May
Yarrow Achillea millefolium April


Redbridge Council operates a Framework Agreement Contract (FAC) for grounds maintenance works.  All companies included on the FAC have been vetted and approved to carry out work on behalf of the London Borough of Redbridge. Contractor monitoring is carried out by both the contractor and the council, to ensure the schedule is adhered to and works are to the required standard.

The cuttings are not removed following the cutting operation, but are left atop the grass verge. During windy or wet conditions, the cuttings may blow off the verge onto the road and pavements. It may not be possible to blow the cuttings back onto the verge and the cuttings will be left on the road or pavement to disperse naturally.

All visible litter should be removed before cutting the grass verges and removed immediately on completion of the cutting operation. Litter on rural roads or on bio-diversity/wildflower sites, but the Council’s Street Cleansing Service works with the contractor on these operations, removing any exposed or shredded litter shortly after the cutting operation is completed.

Bulky items or fly-tipping will not be removed but cut around. The contractor is required to report any issues that prevent the grass from being cut to the council.

Find out more about litter removal and fly tipping 

Where bulbs (mainly daffodils) have been planted in the grass, the grass is not cut until at least the end of May. This period allows the bulbs to flower and after flowering the bulbs need to be left for a minimum of six weeks to store energy in the bulb so it can flower the following year.

The following could potentially damage verges:

  • vehicles parking
  • utility or maintenance
  • uneven surfaces caused by vehicle wheels
  • excessive stones or debris left on the grass verge

Where the above occurs, areas of verge will be left uncut until it has been repaired.



The main way weeds are controlled on the streets is through the application of a weed killer during four treatments each year. All treatments, on hard surfaces (pavements, road gullies/gutters) or soft surfaces (shrubs, roses, hedges and tree pits), should be carried out between February and December on a nine to twelve-week cycle. There has been an exceptionally large amount of growth in 2022, which is taking longer to treat.

Weed treatment programme

We completed the first weed treatment on pavements in Mid-May and the table below shows the order of treatments. The Second treatment has stared and the table below will be updated once details are available for completion. During the second treatment it is being noted that there has been a significant amount of growth since the first treatment and this is likely to do with with the favourable weather experienced between March and June.

 Find out what ward your road is on

Weed treatment ward Completion 
Goodmayes Completed
Newbury Completed
Mayfield Completed
Clementswood  Completed
Barkingside Completed
Valentines Completed
Hainault Completed
Seven Kings  
Ilford Town  
South Woodford  
Wanstead Village  

Wanstead Park



A schedule is agreed between ourselves and the contractor prior to the start of the season. Any amendments during the year are agreed by both parties. The contractor provides a weekly update on the progress of the work programme. The contractor is also required to carry out an element of self-monitoring and submit the results to us. We then carry out sample monitoring of the contractors self-monitoring.

  • Soft surfaces are treated with weed killer 3 times per year
  • Hard surfaces treatment vary between 2 and 5 times per year

The frequency of treatments throughout the borough varies depending on the growth rate of the weed within the areas. Some areas experience a greater amount of weed growth than others, due to a number of reasons, including:

  • neighbouring vegetation
  • make-up of the road and pavement surface – weed growth is generally greater on paved areas than tarmacked areas

Unless you have the appropriate licence and direct approval from the council, it is against the law for anyone apart from the council's contractor to apply weed killer on public land. 

The weed killer works programme is subject to change during unsuitable weather conditions, such as:

  • during or immediately after rainfall
  • high or gusty winds
  • extremely high temperatures (above 30 degrees Celsius)

For the majority of roads and pavements within Redbridge, the weed killer is applied manually by a member of staff, who walks the street with the weed killer within either a knapsack on their back, or a lance, where the weed killer is located within the lance.

On rural roads (areas that generally do not have footpaths) and central reservations, a specially equipped vehicle is used to apply the weed killer as it is considered too hazardous to apply it manually.

The dead weeds are not generally removed once they have died, but disperse naturally. Where weed growth is prolific, the street cleansing team may remove the larger weeds when they have died. If the weeds have not dispersed after two to three weeks of the weeds dying then you can report them to the street cleansing team to have the weeds manually removed.

Types of weed killer

There are two types of weed killer used in Redbridge:

Contact weed killer

This controls weeds that it comes into direct contact with and is absorbed by the plant, so it also reaches the root system of the plant. It becomes inactive on contact with any other surface, e.g. paving or soil. This weed killer is used on both hard and soft surfaces. We use Roundup ProVantage which is a Glyphosate based weed killer.

Residual Weed Killer

This is used on soft surfaces only and is applied directly to the soil, where it creates a shallow barrier on the surface of the soil, that inhibits any seeds within that area, from germinating; this means it prevents weeds from starting to grow.

This weed killer is normally applied only once in the year. The success of this weed killer varies greatly, depending on weather conditions. Extensive or heavy rain can dilute the weed killer and wash it out of the ground. We use Pacaya which is a herbicide that contains flazasulfuron.

On occasion, a moss killer is also applied to areas where there is significant moss growth.

Timings can vary depending on the type of weed and the weather conditions. Generally, the weeds will take two to three weeks to fully die. However, grass tends to die a lot quicker and broadleaf weeds (such as dandelions) can take longer.

Some weeds are more resistant to the weed killer and may take much longer to die. In some cases, certain species of weed are removed manually due to their resistance to the weed killer.

Weeds take longer to die if the temperature is low (below 8 degrees Celsius) or high (above 30 degrees Celsius).

As part of our community gardening initiative, residents are encouraged to apply in December to adopt street tree pits for planting with wild flowers.  The application period is over and we received an overwhelming response to adoption and over 1,300 tree pits have been adopted across the borough.

From February 2021 we will be planting replacement street trees with blue labels on them and we would like your help to adopt and water the tree outside your house without having to complete a tree pit adoption application.

To find out more about how to adopt and water a tree on the highway to help encourage tree growth and blossom in your area, please visit our Adopt and water a tree page for more information.


Shrubs, hedges and roses


Shrub pruning can be carried out twice per year, in the summer (June-August) and winter (October-February). Not every shrub will require pruning twice in the year. Shrubs are assessed prior to each pruning period to ascertain if they require pruning or not. Weeds within shrub are not removed but are treated with herbicide 3 times per year.

Shrubs are not pruned if they are in flower or if there are birds nesting within them.  It is against the law to disturb a nesting bird during nesting season (generally between March and August).


Hedges are pruned once per year, if required, in the winter period(October to February), once bird nesting season has ended.


Roses are pruned once per year in February. Weeds within rose beds are not removed but are treated with herbicide 3 times per year.


Generally, the pruning clippings are removed immediately following the pruning operation and the surrounding area left tidy. On occasion, the clippings may be mulched and left on the bed, to allow the nutrients to return to the soil and aid future growth.

Dead shrubs can be removed but not replaced, we are considering a replacement planting programme subject to funding.

If utility (gas, electricity, water) companies carry out work that requires the removal of shrubs within the highway, the council work closely with the utility company on the reinstatement of the areas damaged and shrubs, during the planting season starting in November and ending in March.

To adopt a public space for community gardening, please visit our Spruce up your neighbourhood page and see the community gardening section for more information.



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