Big root geraniums were removed from eight tree pits on Roding Road. Photograph: Daubeney Fields

Dismayed residents are urging the council to stop its workers weeding tree pits after more examples emerged of cherished plants becoming collateral damage.

King’s Park locals who are greening up their streets spoke of their frustration after seeing flowering plants removed.

Patricia Bennett said she was “really incensed” when she returned home to discover a “gorgeous” mixture of flowers that she had grown from seeds being cut from a tree pit on Elderfield Road.

“Nobody brushed up the soil, they pulled up everything up and left it,” she said.

“The trees were humming around the flowers and there were butterflies. It looked lovely.”

Bennett remains undeterred and plans to sow more seeds in the same plot.

Elsewhere, green-fingered gardeners on Roding Road have taken the council to task for pulling up 50 cuttings of big root geranium under eight pavement trees.

They said it “flowers all summer, survives drought and helps pollinators”.

The news follows an instance in May when flowers planted by London Fields’ residents were pulled up by Town Hall contractors.

In June, locals on the Kingsgate estate complained their herbs had been ruined by weedkiller.

Cllr Caroline Woodley, cabinet member for families, parks and leisure, said: “I am sorry that some of the planting around our new street trees, that are being actively cared for by local communities, has been removed.

“I am very grateful that so many people want to help nurture and sustain the greening of our streets.”

She said Hackney is “really lucky” that residents are helping to tackle the climate emergency and increase biodiversity, adding: “I would urge anyone wanting to help us look after our green infrastructure to join our tree champions and tree carers by emailing streettrees@hackney.gov.uk.

“By working together we can ensure our new trees mature and better meet our aims and aspirations for our environment.”

Andrew Cunningham, who is in charge of Streetscene at Hackney Council, said: “Tree pit gardens are an excellent way to bring colour to our streets, whilst improving biodiversity and helping create way stations for a myriad of pollinators.”

However, he urged people to avoid planting tree pits until the fourth season after planting.

“This is the period when they need the most water and nutrients,” he said.

“Competition with planting at the base of new trees can both stress and damage the new trees.

“This is particularly important over the summer when we are having hot and dry weather.”

He added: “It is clear that some trees in the Daubeney area are suffering due to the tree pit planting.”

Cunningham said his team is keen to work with residents caring for tree pits: “We are asking residents to tie coloured ribbons or pieces of cloth to identify such locations where the site has been adopted and the tree is receiving additional watering by the residents over and above contract maintenance.”

Ten teams of council contractors were out during the extreme weather to water street trees, and the Town Hall welcomed residents’ help.

Volunteers from the Tree Musketeers were among those watering trees across Hackney.