Vegetation Management

We offer a wide range of Vegetation Management services to our clients working for developers on site clearance projects as well as for customers such as Natural England on sites of a sensitive nature. We have worked extensively on stud farms carrying out Vegetation Clearance to provide safe equine environments.

S.P. Landscapes & Tree Contractors has a wide range of both equipment and expertise to deal with the most challenging of sites. We have equipment capable of working on steep inclines safely and efficiently with a broad spectrum of cutting and collection attachments including flails, forestry mulchers, band rakes and mechanical felling equipment.

We are experienced at working adjacent to and in watercourses carrying out extensive watercourse/ ditch maintenance within the Cambridgeshire area, working with our clients to ensure their watercourses run effectively and helping them react to the increasingly difficult weather conditions, safeguarding local communities.

Our staff are competent and experienced in treating and removing invasive species including Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, Ragwort and Rhododendron.

Types of Vegetation Management services offered

  • Wildflower cutting and collection
  • Meadow and bank grass cutting
  • Site clearance of Brambles and Scrub
  • Control of invasive weeds
  • Reservoir cutting

Plant used for vegetation management

  • Specialist bank mower, capable of working on angles up to 45 degrees, with flail grass cutting deck and rake for grass collection.
  • Remote controlled bank mower, capable of working on angle up to 55 degrees, with flail grass cutting deck and forestry mulching deck for Brambles and Scrub.
  • John Deere 5100M tractor with front mounted and side-mounted cutting equipment.

Vegetation Management FAQs

There are a number of varying factors that can affect this so we always like to attend site to fully assess the extent of the work and provide a fixed-price quotation, however we are also happy to work on a day rate basis. 

If undertaking regular routine grass cutting, with our tractor out-front flail, or our Reform bank mower, we can cut around 50,000 to 60,000m2 of grass per day. This can be reduced slightly when working on steeper banks. 

If undertaking annual grass cuts, such as meadow or wildflower areas, we can cut around 40,000m2 of grass per this. As the grass is longer, the machine has to work at a slower speed to ensure the grass is cut neatly. 

If undertaking one-off vegetation clearance works, such as areas of vegetation that have not been cut for several years, then we can cut around 10,000 to 20,000m2 per day. Again, the denser and thicker vegetation is cut at an even slower speed to allow the flail to cut through, and mulch, the vegetation. 

Other factors that can affect the amount of vegetation cut in a day include:

  • The number of obstacles – Open areas of vegetation cut be cut much quicker than if we have to cut around obstacles.
  • Access – If the site has good access, then we are able to maximize our work time on site, where as sites with difficult areas can slow progress.
  • The gradient of the ground – The machines are able to work at optimum speeds on flat ground but have to be operated at slightly slower speed when working at steep angles.
  • The distance of the site from our depot – The closer the site is to out depot, the less travel time and the more work time on site. We do try to accommodate this by working a longer day, if the site is further away, to provide a minimum of 6 hours actual work time per day.

Not all ground is flat and we maintain several areas that have steep and difficult gradients. These include coastal embankments, reservoirs, highway verges and large mounds that form part of environment land management areas.

We have two main types of machines that we used for cutting these steep banks:

  1. Reform bank mower – This machine has a very low centre of gravity and is capable of working on angles up to 45 degrees. It is fitted with an out-front flail with a 2m wide cutting deck. This makes ideal for cutting larger areas, such as embankments or reservoirs, and the flail deck can handle very long grass, weedy vegetation and low-level bramble.
  1. Bomford Flail bot – This machine also has a very low centre of gravity but is much more compact and is remote-controlled. This allows it to operate on a steeper gradient bank and is capable of working on up to 55-degree angles. The out-front cutting deck is only 1.2m wide, so it is not able to cover as much ground as the Reform bank mower, but it can work on a steeper gradient. We also have two types of cutting deck attachments;
    • A grass cutting flail designed to cut very long grass, weedy vegetation and low-level bramble, similar to the Reform bank mower.
    • A forestry mulching deck designed to cut through thicker, denser vegetation such as bramble and self-set trees.

Between the two machine, we can tackle any density of vegetation on any banks with a gradient of up to 55 degrees.

Our tractor is a John Deere 5100M. This has a 100hp engine with 88hp PTO.

This operates our Bomford Kestrel Power Plus side-arm attachment with a 5.7 metre out-reach and a 1.2-metre-wide flail attachment.

The set up is powerful enough and has adequate out-reach to take all types of domestic, commercial or agricultural type hedges including annual or bi-annual cutting regimes. It is also used on the highways to cut back overgrowing vegetation and trees that is not maintained as part of routine maintenance.

As well as cutting and maintained hedges, the side-arm flail attachment can also be used to cut verges and ditches.

In addition, we also have an out-front 2 metre wide flail deck that is used for paddock grass cutting and meadow or wildflower cutting.

The aim of wildflower meadows is to encourage a diverse mix of attractive flowering plants that also provide a benefit to the surrounding wildlife in particularly insects and bees.

To allow flowering, the meadow areas must not be cut between May to August and, following flowering, sufficient time should be left to allow for the plant to disperse its seed. We tend to undertake one cut per annum between September to November. The meadow is cut with the arisings left in situ. This is to allow any remaining seeds to disperse and settle into the ground.

Approx. 2 weeks following the cut, we return to rake up the arisings and remove from site. The arisings are removed from site to remove as much of the nutrients from the soil as possible, as wildflowers prefer low-nutrient soils. If the cut arisings were to remain on site, they would decompose and put more nutrients back into the soil.

In some circumstances, such as meadows where the grass is lush, is may be appropriate to undertake a spring cut in March or April.

If this process of only cutting the meadow once, or twice, per year (avoiding the flowering period of May to August) and removing the cut arisings is repeated, it should encourage more and more wildflower each year. This is a natural process that can take several years to achieve. It is possible to rotavate an area to bare earth and sow wildflower seed but this can be costly. It is also possible that areas of high nutrient soil are not suitable for wildflower.

If you are interested in creating a wildflower meadow and want advice then please get in contact. Our Landscape team is experienced is preparing and sowing wildflower seed and our Vegetation Management team is equipped and experienced to maintain it.

Case Studies

Reservoir embankment cutting