Wealden District Council
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Grounds Maintenance

The Grounds Maintenance Service Standard – General Description Of The Service

The Council has land on its council estates and sheltered schemes that it maintains, depending on the site this may include grass cutting, maintenance of flower beds and borders, hedge cutting and ditch clearing, weed killing and woodland minor tree maintenance (though not surgery).

Grass Cutting across the district will begin from next week (6th March) . Unfortunately it will be a reduced service due to staff shortages. This means there will be longer intervals between grass cuts and general maintenance of the grounds.

The grounds team will observe all social distancing measures.

Site Condition

Before carrying out any grass cutting, the site (including all hard areas) shall be checked and cleared of all rubbish and debris which shall be set aside for removal at the end of the days operation on that site.

Hedge cuttings and other debris resulting from the works shall be removed from site and properly disposed of (together with that cleared prior to mowing) at the end of the days work on that site. Burning of debris on site is not permitted.

All extraneous rubbish not arising from the works but which are considered detrimental to the appearance of the site, including cans, bricks, stones, paper, debris, but excluding any arising from fly tipping shall be cleared and properly disposed of.

All Quality and Fine sites and grassed areas in car parks (including hard areas and footpaths) will be kept free of leaf fall throughout the Autumn and Winter. One additional visit to all other sites during the Autumn/Winter period will be made to clear leaves and other debris from all areas (including hard areas and footpaths).

Grass Cutting Standards

There are various standards of cut which are detailed below

  • For the first cuts in each season to Quality and Fine Cut areas, mowing shall be boxed and removed.
  • Grass around obstacles shall be trimmed immediately after mowing has been completed and the Contract sum and rates shall include for such trimming. Grass around trees will not be trimmed using strimmers.
  • Grass edges on Fine Cut areas will be trimmed every other visit by the use of shears or similar equipment to maintain a clean edge. Edges on Quality should be trimmed to a similar standard on every visit.
  • Soil should be drawn back from edges of borders and beds to permit the use of edging shears and all arisings shall be removed from site.
  • Edges to borders, beds, edging boards and kerbs. On all sites shall be reformed once a year before the first cut is completed to ensure clean straight lines or smooth curves to match existing. Any soil, grass or weeds encroaching onto areas such as footpaths, hard areas, manholes shall similarly be removed prior to the first cut of the season.
  • Although grass-cutting frequencies are specified, depending on the type of finish required, weather conditions may affect the rate of growth necessitating a lengthening or shortening of the interval between cuts.
  • Disposal of grass cuttingsThe method of dealing with grass cuttings shall apply as follows:
  • All unboxed cuttings should be left on site with hard areas swept clear. Where reasonable and where agreed with the client, boxed cuttings can be deposited on borders/beds/compost heaps, otherwise they will be removed from site.

Bulbs and Corms

Where these occur in grassed areas the contractor shall not commence cutting of the planted area until 6 weeks after they have flowered and died back.

Weed Control

Areas to be treated for weeds shall include:

  • Mowing strips – approximately 150 mm width from the base of walls, fences and hedges
  • Footpaths and hard areas in and around grass areas
  • Areas around obstacles including trees in and around grass areas – approximately 150 mm from base of obstruction

Trees & Shrub Areas

Trees, Stakes and Ties and Guy Wires. All tree stakes, tree ties and guy wires will be checked four times per annum (during Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) and additionally immediately after strong winds.


Where required after strong winds, frost heave and other disturbances, all trees and shrubs will be firmly bedded in the ground by treading around the base. Any “collars” at the base of the trunks created by tree movement to be broken up by fork, backed-filled with topsoil as necessary and re-firmed.

Pruning Generally

Pruning is to be carried out using sharp secateurs, approval and mechanical hedge cutters and handsaws. All prunings should be removed from site and disposed of properly.

Pruning trees

Crowning – Where instructed, crown prune Standard trees up to 4 m. High by removing dead branches and reducing selected side branches by one- third to preserve a well-balanced head, in each case cutting back to live wood.

Extensive pruning of Standard trees and any surgery to larger trees must be carried out by a member of the Arboricultural Association or other suitably qualified tree surgeon and will not form part of this contract.

Pruning shrubs and roses

Pruning  flowering species as follows:

  • Shrubs flowering in Winter: prune in Spring
  • Shrubs flowering in Spring and early Summer: prune immediately after flowering
  • Shrubs flowering Summer and early Autumn: cut back to old wood in Spring
  • Rose bushes: reduce by ¹/³ in Autumn to reduce wind rock then prune in early Spring to encourage basal growths and a balanced, compact habit

Trimming established hedges

  • Hedges. Trim carefully and neatly to regular line and shape, with the width at the top less than that at the base, using suitable mechanical cutters unless otherwise Specified. Remove current growth rather than old wood. Remove all arisings and extraneous rubbish from site and dispose of properly.
  • Grass within one metre of base of side being trimmed must be cut at same time.
  • If only one side a hedge is to be trimmed it is the side which faces the communal Council property i.e. Group dwelling, flat, amenity area, garage area, car park or footpath, unless otherwise stated in the schedule.
  • Where two cuts are specified the first cut must be completed in the growing season between June and July and the second cut at the end of the growing season between October and January. Single cuts must be completed during October and November.

Maintenance of beds and borders

  • Borders are currently visited seven times per annum however it may be decided to increase this by four visits to improve the standard of finish. The first visit will be in March of each of the contract years and the final visit will be made in the Autumn.
  • Reinstatement of damage. Any grass, hard areas, trees, shrubs, plants and garden furniture damaged through the fault of the contractor shall be reinstated at no cost to the Council.
  • Garden furniture. When wooden seats are cleaned, all extraneous material must be removed and the seat treated with an approved preservative. Appropriate warning signs will be left. If the seat needs to be removed to be treated at the contractor’s workshops, the seat(s) must be treated and returned within a period of two weeks and replaced in the correct location.
  • Hardstanding areas/parking/garage/play areas. Twice per year in June and October, these areas will be swept and any debris arising will be removed and properly disposed of. An approved weedkiller shall be applied to all expansion joints, boundary lines and wall lines.
  • Ditches must have vegetation including brambles and overhanging trees which may interfere with the flow of water trimmed from either side and material removed form the bottom annually to allow the free passage of water. All arisings must be removed from site and disposed of in an appropriate manner.

Grounds Maintenance Feedback

You can help us to improve the standard of the work carried out by the grounds maintenance contractors by submitting your comments using our online feedback form:

You can also contact the grounds maintenance contractors’ ISS Knowledge Centre (customer support) on 0845 270 300 or email them lisafindlay@uk.issworld.com.