Grass, hedges and weeds

We work with HTS ​(Property & Environment) Limited to maintain Harlow’s green spaces.

Grass cutting

HTS start cutting Harlow Council’s grass in March.

If the ground is wet, they will delay cutting until the machines can get on the ground without damaging the turf.

Grass in housing areas is cut every 17 working days until the end of September.

Open spaces, verges, and sports fields next to housing areas are cut at different rates. You can view our open space grass cutting schedule (pdf)

HTS may suspend grass cutting if there is:

  • a long period of wet weather
  • a risk of causing damage
  • a risk of creating an eyesore
  • a risk that the job cannot be done safety
  • very dry grass which is not growing
  • areas planted with naturalised bulbs

HTS stop grass cutting for 2 weeks in the summer - normally in July or August - to do cut back hedges from footpaths.

Essex County Council and some landowners and housing developers are also responsible for maintaining certain areas in Harlow. 

You can get information on Essex County Council Grass cutting on their website.

Grass cutting waste

HTS use mowers equipped with special mulching blades to cut grass. The grass is shredded finely and blown into the turf. This returns nutrients to the soil and helps retains moisture.

HTS do not collect grass cuttings because it takes more time, more equipment, uses more fuel and is not as environmentally-friendly as mulching.

Uncut grass and wildflowers

Some areas of grass are cut much less often to allow grasses to flower and encourage biodiversity.

These areas include:

  • grass on highway verges
  • non-sponsored roundabouts
  • banks
  • many open spaces
  • parts of the Town Park

Areas of grass in the Town Park are left to grow or cut later in the season to promote wildlife. These areas contribute to our success with the Green Flag Award, whose judges have praised the park’s variety of habitats.

Most meadow grass is cut once a year when the wildflowers have set seed. Some areas will not be cut at all, though a path may be cut though for walking.

Strips alongside roads may need to be cut shorter to maintain sight-lines for traffic.

Strimming and spraying

We try to keep long grass around obstacles down by both strimming and spraying. We start this in early April and move across the town. This is done up to a couple of times a year – we do not carry out strimming at the same time as grass cutting.

Hedges and brambles

HTS cut council hedges between October and March to avoid disturbing nesting birds. We use a tractor flail to cut hedges, as well as hand-held hedegcutters.

Hedges are cut once a year but sides facing onto footpaths where new growth could potentially cause an obstruction will be faced back in the summer between June and September.

If there are nesting birds, we will not normally carry out work.

Shrubs

HTS prune council shrub beds between October and March.

If you want to cut back shrubs on council land, you need to contact us to arrange a site visit

All woody cuttings from HTS maintenance of hedges, shrubs and trees are collected together and shredded, pulverised and composted. This material is used as a soil conditioner for the town.

Weeds

HTS carry out weed spraying on paths and pavements 4 times a year, around March, June, August, and November.

HTS use a systemic biodegradable herbicide which is absorbed by leaves and degrades on contact with the soil.

Ivy

HTS do not cut ivy on a programme. If your property is being affected by ivy growong on council land, a council house or garden, you can report this to us

We may sever the ivy from the ground and poison the roots. We do not remove the ivy from fences or buildings as this may cause structural damage.

If the ivy is spreading from a private property you will need to contact the homeowner.