Shrubs and hedges

Find out how we maintain shrubs and hedges, and how you can help.

Report a problem online

Hedges that we own are cut during autumn or winter to maintain highway safety. Hedges shouldn't be cut during the spring or summer months when birds are nesting, unless for safety reasons.

Most hedges, especially rural ones, are privately owned and are on property boundaries. These are the sole responsibility of the landowner.

Find out if we maintain the hedges near you by using our online reporting tool.

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

Find out how we cut back hedges and shrubs:

We prune and weed shrub beds during the autumn and winter months. Shrubs are trimmed enough to allow for next year's growth, and to ensure that the highway is safe to use. This includes cutting back from kerb edges and nearby fences.

Over the spring and summer months, weeds may grow within the shrub beds. We will remove these at our annual maintenance visit during autumn or winter, unless they are causing an issue to the highway.

Find out if we maintain the shrubs near you by using our online reporting tool.

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

Buses are an important part of Kent’s transport network. Under the Highways Act, property owners have a responsibility to keep vegetation on their property under control, to ensure safe passageway for buses and other vehicles.

Watch our video and find out how we maintain our standards of bus route clearances.

Read our guidance on our requirements when cutting back vegetation on bus routes (PDF, 1.7 MB).

We manage the maintenance of off road cycle tracks and the clearance of vegetation along routes to allow use by bicycles. These routes are normally away from main roads and travel across rural areas.

We maintain the vegetation within cycle routes during May and again in September to keep them clear.

We do not maintain public rights of way paths. You can report a problem on a right of way online.

If you would like to change how the highway verge looks outside your house you need to apply for a cultivation licence (PDF, 184.4 KB). This licence is needed to:

  • plant additional shrubs or flowers in one of our shrub beds
  • chang a grass verge into a shrub bed.

A licence will allow you to manage the verge or shrub bed as long as it is safe to do so and the requirements of the cultivation licence are met. The licence is free and needs to be applied for every year.

If you want to cut back shrubs and hedges there may be birds nesting in them between February and September. It is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to disturb the nests of wild birds so you should check the areas you plan to cut beforehand.

Using hand shears saves energy, reduces emissions and keeps noise down. Always make sure that you can carry out any maintenance safely.

If your vegetation is overhanging the highway and causing an issue please cut this back and adhere to health and safety standards.

If you spot a problem that is not covered by the information provided, you can report it online.