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Roadside Vegetation Control

In Lake of Bays, brushing involves managing trees, bushes, weeds and general overgrowth along public roads owned by the Township. Roadside brushing and tree removal are essential parts of road maintenance, contributing to safety, road longevity, and effective snow management.

Roadside Brushing

On this page, you will learn why roadside vegetation management is important for taxpayers and general driver safety, and what occurs along the roadside long after the maintenance has been completed.

Why brushing is necessary

Brushing removes overgrown trees and brush along roadsides. The machine mulches them into natural compost left to decompose in ditches over time. This vital maintenance is done for various reasons, including:

Blocked sign by tree

Road Safety

Improving Sightlines: Overgrown vegetation and trees can obstruct drivers’ visibility of oncoming traffic, pedestrians, wildlife and road signs. By removing these obstructions, sightlines are greatly improved, making Lake of Bays roads safer for everyone.

Hazards of Falling Tree Limbs: During winter months, the weight of accumulated snow on the branches may cause them to break off and/or hang down onto the roadway, potentially endangering motorists.

Sun over a road

Protecting the Road Base

Allow Sunlight and Air Movement to Reach the Road Base: Air movement and sunlight aid in the drying process of Lake of Bays roads, preventing the buildup of ice in winter, and drying out the road after rainfall. This reduces the risk of slippery conditions and prolongs the road's lifespan. A dry road is less prone to damage such as potholes, cracks and deterioration over time. This not only enhances safety for motorists but also reduces the need for costly repairs.

Snow Storage

Allow for Snow Storage: At times, Lake of Bays experiences heavy snowfall. Cleared areas along the roadside are vital for the storage of plowed snow. Without these cleared areas, snow can build up on the road itself, narrowing the available driving space and creating hazardous conditions. Additionally, storing snow in cleared areas can lead to a more gradual melt, reducing the risk of flooding when temperatures rise.

The Aftermath

Roadside vegetation management is essential for safe and efficient roads. While the initial clearing of overgrown vegetation might appear disruptive, it serves many important functions. A year after brushing, the roadsides would show signs of natural regrowth, while still providing improved sightlines and drainage. The decomposed mulch from the brushed vegetation adds organic matter to the soil helping grasses, wildflowers, and shrubs to start regrowing in the cleared areas.

Before, after and one year later photos of a road in Lake of Bays following a vegetation control program showing the difference between the process checkpoints


The edges of roads are mowed once a year by the Public Works Department, starting in late June or early July. This is done to increase safety by improving visibility, controlling the growth of trees and shrubs near the road, and facilitating proper drainage.

Spraying for Noxious Weeds

The Township does not conduct regular spraying operations on Township-owned roads. The only herbicide application that is done is for the isolated control of noxious weeds like Giant Hogweed, Phragmites, and Japanese Knotweed. 

Common Questions

Brushing initially alters the look of the roadside and ditch. However, these areas usually regrow within a year, and by next summer, their appearance improves. Compared to some other municipalities in Ontario, the Township is often more restrained in its approach to controlling roadside vegetation only removing the overgrowth deemed necessary and ensuring the site is as clean as possible upon completion.

A canopy of branches and leaves arching over the winding roads in Lake of Bays can indeed create a breathtaking sight. However, while aesthetically pleasing, these tree canopies pose significant safety concerns and reduce the life expectancy of our roads. 

Reduced sightlines around curves due to overhanging foliage can obstruct drivers' visibility, increasing the risk of collisions. Additionally, during winter months, the weight of accumulated snow on the branches may cause them to break off and/or hang down onto the roadway, potentially endangering motorists.

Another important point to consider is that removing overgrown vegetation helps make the roads safer and preserves the longevity of Township roads by exposing the road base to sunlight and air movement. Please refer to our "Protecting the Road Base" section for more detailed information.

The Township will only clear trees and brush deemed necessary within its right-of-way.

No. The Township is responsible for maintaining ditches and roadsides on Township-owned roads, and they will conduct this vegetation control in areas where these operations are required.

No. Residents are not permitted to clear-cut the ditch or roadside in front of their property. The ditch and roadside areas are owned by the Township. If you have a specific concern, please submit it to our Public Works Department.

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