Weed control

About the weed treatment programme and how weeds alongside roads are treated and managed in your area.

Browse the tabs below to find out how weed control is managed in Suffolk.

Standards for treating weeds


  •  Once a year 

Noxious weeds 

  • one-off treatment, when identified 

Injurious Weeds

The Weeds Act 1959 applies to the following injurious weeds:

  • broad leaf dock
  • common ragwort
  • creeping or field thistle
  • curled dock
  • spear thistle

Read about Invasive Plants and Injurious Weeds on DEFRA website.

Where harmful weeds have been identified, Notice may be served upon the occupier of the land requiring them to take action to prevent these weeds from spreading.

For more information on preventing the spread of ragwort to land used for grazing horses or livestock, land used for forage production and other agricultural activities, please read the Defra Code of Practice.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 states that it is an offence to "plant or otherwise cause to grow in the wild" any plant listed in Schedule 9, Part 2 of the Act, which includes giant hog weed and Japanese knot weed.

DEFRA provides guidance that if you have invasive plants or injurious weeds on your premises, you have a responsibility to prevent them spreading into the wild or causing a nuisance.

Weed treatment programme

 View the 2021 weed control programme (PDF, 237KB) 

Please be advised that the weed treatment timetable has been severely impacted by the unusual weather patterns this spring. Treatments are currently several weeks behind the plan.

You can also use the GOV.UK local council finder tool to identify your district by postcode.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions and the recent wet/windy weather we have revised the programme. 

Report a problem with weeds quickly and easily online using our Highways Reporting Tool.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The following FAQs have been complied to help answer any questions you may have around weed control in Suffolk. If your query is not answered below, you can contact the Suffolk Highways Customer Service Centre on 0345 606 6171 or put in an enquiry on our Highways Reporting Tool.

Where can I find out when weed treatment will be completed in my area?

The weed control programme is available on the second tab of this web page. The programme is split between the Districts and Boroughs, highlighting the Town and Parishes which have been completed, which are ongoing and the locations that are programmed up until the end of the season.

Please note that the programme is subject to change due to a range of factors, including bad weather, however the programme will be updated once a month over the course of the weed treatment season to ensure you have access to the most up to date information.

Weed treatment within Ipswich is carried out by Ipswich Borough Council.

Is the weed treatment solution harmful to humans or animals?

The solution we use is called Monsanto Amenity Glyphosate systemic. The solution is not harmful to humans or animals however, we would advise not having contact with the solution until it is fully dry.

How long does the solution take to work?

Once the weeds have been treated with the above solution, it will take approximately 2 weeks for the solution to take effect on the weeds and roots. 

This is weather dependant and needs dry weather to be effective. If it rains within 6 hours of application being applied, this could affect the strength of the solution and the area would require a further treatment. We monitor the forecast and apply the solution when there is a low chance of rain. We may delay treatment if rain or windy conditions are forecast.

How often do you treat the weeds?

Across the county, we undertake one treatment per year. This will commence after the emergence of the spring weed flush.

Why have you not treated the weeds at the times your programme said you would?

Please note that the programme is subject to change range of factors, including bad weather.  The target dates allow movement 1 week prior to the target date and 1 week after. The spreadsheet will be updated once a month over the course of the weed treatment season to ensure you have access to the most up to date programme.

Where do you treat?

We treat all kerb lines adjacent to carriageways and within the road channels (adjacent to the kerb). Treatment is also carried out to the back of a footpath where a building or wall is present however, we do not treat the weeds if the back of the footway is a verge.

What speed can the vehicles travel when spraying?

A quad bike is used to undertake weed control and will travel at the speed of 3mph during application. Although, the vehicle can travel up to 25mph in between treatments.

Which weeds are hazardous to health?

There are five injurious weeds detailed within the Weeds Act 1959. These are; Common Ragwort, Spear Thistle, Creeping of Field Thistle, Broad Leaved Dock and Curled Dock. Additionally, there is Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed. All of these weeds are dealt with under provisions in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Please report hazardous weeds via our online Highways Reporting Tool.

Contact us

  • Webchat is the quickest and easiest way to contact us. Available Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm.
    The web chat button will appear in the right hand corner when someone is available to talk to.
  • You can report problems easily using our Highways Reporting Tool
  • Call: 0345 606 6171