Grass maintenance

Grass is cut to a schedule set at the beginning of the year. We keep to the schedules quite closely and do not change the order of when verges are mowed.

We categorise all roadside verges. This means how and when they are maintained is decided by:

  • where it is
  • what type of road it's on
  • road safety needs
  • how it can support nature and biodiversity.

Where and when we cut grass

The table gives a summary of when you can expect the different types of grass to be cut.

Grass locationWhat we cutWhen we cut
Rural grassWe cut a 900mm (3 foot) strip next to the road edge using a tractor mounted mower.First cut between March and May and a second cut between September and November to maintain highway safety and help enhance biodiversity.

Rural conservation, biodiversity grass

We cut a 900mm (3 foot) strip next to the rural road edge or cut the full width of the verge edge using a tractor mounted mower, ride-on mower or strimmers

Some verges cut in March.

Nearly all receive a cut in October to mid-November to maintain highway safety and help enhance biodiversity.

Urban grass

Grass next to roads or footpaths, normally within the town or village centre and 30 mph speed limit.

Between March and October (about once every 5 to 6 weeks) to maintain highway safety.

We wait until 6 weeks after the flowering period before cutting spring flowers, like daffodils, so they will grow the following year.

Urban conservation, biodiversity grassGrass next to roads or footpaths, normally within the town or village centre and 30 mph limit.

These verges are cut to help enhance biodiversity. We may collect the cuttings on sites with higher biodiversity value.
Once a year in October.
Visibility areasGrass that is adjacent to a road junction and is within the sight line for drivers turning in or out.Cut May, July and September to maintain highway safety.

Find out if we maintain the grass near you by checking the location on our online reporting tool.

If the grass is not maintained by us, it is likely to be the district council, parish council or housing association.

If overgrown grass is causing visibility issues for road users report it to us online.

More about how we look after grass verges

You can find out more about how we look after the different types of verges.

We do not collect cuttings following mowing, but they should be spread evenly over the surface. Any cuttings on the footpaths or roads after mowing will be blown back onto the verge and obstacles like streetlights strimmed around.

This may not happen on the same day as a different team will do this. We do not collect cuttings due to extra costs of equipment and disposal.

Watch our videos to find out how we cut the different types of grass.

Rural grass

Swathe cutting - video transcript

Urban grass

Urban grass - video transcript

Visibility grass

Visibility cutting - video transcript

As part of Kents Plan Bee Pollinator Action Plan we are identifying ways we can enhance biodiversity and conservation while balancing the important need to keep our highways safe for all users.

In addition to the approach we take for all grass maintenance, there are a few specific initiatives to increase pollinator plants and protect the habitat of insects and wildlife.

Bee roads

We are working with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) and Kent Wildlife Trust to identify and safeguard important roadside habitats to encourage the growth and spread of key pollinator plants for rare bees.

Bee roads are located along our rural roads and are higher value biodiversity verges. They may receive a 900mm (3 foot) wide cut next to the road edge. We may cut full width once every 2 or 3 years or change the order we cut the roads to give a succession of important food plants for pollinators.

B-lines

An idea borrowed from the Buglife B-lines initiative for a series of pollinator insect pathways which connect sites with wildflower rich habitats across our countryside using our road network.

In Kent, we have 4 B-lines:

  1. the main B-line is around our coast
  2. crosscounty linking Folkestone to Dartford
  3. Tenterden to Maidstone to Dartford
  4. Edenbridge, Sevenoaks and Westerham.

Most rural roads along these B-lines have been included within our lower biodiversity cut and will receive a 900mm (3 foot) wide cut next to the road edge in April and October.

Roadside Nature Reserves (RNR)

We have been working with the Kent Wildlife Trust since 1994 to manage Roadside Nature Reserves (RNR). These may contain threatened habitats or wildlife and include ancient woodland, heathland and chalk grassland. We manage over 130 RNR in line with the Trusts management plans for each site and with assistance from the Trusts volunteer teams.

Most RNR are located on our rural roads and are within our higher value biodiversity cut. They may receive a 900mm (3 foot) wide cut next to the road edge or a full width cut to the rear of the verge in early spring or late autumn. Some have the cuttings raked-up to help reduce the build-up of nutrients in the soil and are removed by us or by the trust's volunteers. We are also introducing rotational cutting, cutting in alternate years and green hay seeding techniques to some sites.

We work with the Trust's Wilder Road Verge Officer to manage our RNR sites and to develop site management plans.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

We manage verges near or in SSSI for wildlife according to the citations and requirements of Natural England.

Most SSSI are along our rural roads and are within our higher value biodiversity cuts. They may receive a 900mm (3 foot) wide cut next to the road edge, or a full width cut to the rear of the verge in early spring or late autumn. Some RNR sites are also within a SSSI.

Wildflowers

We look after wildflowers on rural verges. Where possible we allow wildflowers to die back before mowing. This may not always be possible if safety is an issue.

Bulbs

In urban grass areas we wait until 6 weeks after the flowering period before cutting spring flowers, such as daffodils, so they will grow the following year. These are cut in our planned grass schedule. While the flowers are dying back the grass will be left uncut and so may become quite long and appear untidy.

We do not collect litter, this is the responsibility of the district council who have regular programmes of street cleansing.

If you see litter you can report it to your district council.

Where roads are considered to be high speed (normally dual carriageways with a speed limit of 50mph or more) we arrange for lane closures to take place so that we can carry this out safely, alternatively we will also arrange for these to be cut during the night time to minimise disruption to road users.

High speed roads receive an annual maintenance visit. During these works we will also trim hedges and clear vegetation if it is required.

High speed roads - video transcript

If a vehicle is causing an obstruction on a grass verge or pavement, you need to report this issue to your district council enforcement team.

To report damage to the verge, please report this online.

Grass cutting

If you would like to cut the grass more often than we can, this is okay provided it can be carried out safely.

Grass cuttings can be left evenly spread over the mown verge or disposed of with your lawn cuttings. Please do not pile them on the verge or leave them where they can block drains or ditches. We are unable to collect cuttings from you.

Always make sure you can carry out any maintenance safely, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and be aware of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

If you do see a build up of litter please report this to the district council so that this can be cleared before the grass cutting starts.

Bulbs and wildflowers

If you would like to plant bulbs such as daffodils and crocus in verges, please use our online fault reporting tool to tell us the location beforehand. By telling us, we can try and make sure the verges are not cut until after the flowering period.