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Is this Leylandii?

Discussion in 'Identification Area' started by YellowLab, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. YellowLab

    YellowLab Apprentice Gardener

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    3F234D57-1A2A-4105-A460-2F01ED5C119F.jpeg4B2599A4-3E1E-4E3A-B7D7-B6CB48F7F65E.jpegE9C60AAA-DDFA-4385-ADC1-169204018D29.jpeg We’ve inherited a very large hedge growing along the back of our property, I’m assuming it’s Leylandii? It’s quite huge and overwhelming and casts a lot of shade. Is there a way for a tree surgeon to remove height without completely killing it at this point? It does provide a lot of privacy, without it we would be severely overlooked, however I’m concerned about it getting completely out of hand if left alone. Thank you.
     
  2. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    I'm not totally sure if it is leylandii but really that is irrelevant.
    To me, it's a pity that it has been allowed to go bare at the base, it could easily be cut off at the top and turned into a hedge but the bare base will alway look bad.
     
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    • YellowLab

      YellowLab Apprentice Gardener

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      I’m thinking to plant some ornamental shrubs at the front to cover the bare bases, which I agree, are not overly attractive.

      Is it really irrelevant if they are Leylandii? I have read some horror stories about them, hence my concern. Mind you, this is not coming from any first hand knowledge nor experience.
       
    • Silver surfer

      Silver surfer PLANTAHOLIC

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      The problem is that these conifers are sucking every drop of moisture from the area in front of those bare trunks.The ground will be solid with conifer roots.
      Virtually nothing will grow in these conditions.
       
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      • YellowLab

        YellowLab Apprentice Gardener

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        I see...so I’m stuffed?
         
      • pete

        pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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        Well, I know of leylandii that has formed a really nice high hedge, but you need to clip pretty much from year one, let it get away from you and it then becomes a problem.
        So, personally I dont think covering the bare stems is that viable due to what Silver Surfer has said.

        Maybe someone can come up wiuth something that might do the job, but establishment will not be easy.
        The top growth would cut back easily, just dont go into brown wood, wait till spring.
         
      • Silver surfer

        Silver surfer PLANTAHOLIC

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        I think if they were mine I would be very tempted to cut them down to about 3 m.
        Then get a machine in to rock the stump and pull them out root and all.
        Leaving the trunk in gives leverage to help wobble the root ball and get it all out.

        Add masses of compost, manure, leaf mould to the whole area and start again...with plants of your choosing.
        Maybe putting up a fence to give you privacy.

        The only conifers I know that grow back after being trimmed are Thuya.
        Thuya occidentalis Smaragd is a super neat one....but is slow.

        thuya occidentalis smaragd - Google Search
         
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        • shiney

          shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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          Unfortunately, yes. :dunno:

          I agree with the others. Virtually nothing will grow at the base because of the roots, dry soil and total depletion of nutrients. Leylandii are very greedy and thirsty trees.

          You could have them topped with no trouble but that won't solve the bare trunks below. The only plant that I know is quite happy to grown under, and up, them is ivy - which is another problem plant.

          Although it will take some time I'd be inclined to have them removed, the stumps either pulled out or ground out, then loads of manure and compost dug in. Once that is done you can grow all sorts of plants there but don't expect good results immediately. Are you overlooked from a height or just from ground level? If it's ground level then you could put up a nice fence and grow things in front of it.

          The other year, in the winter, I removed 22 conifers that had about the same size trunks as yours, then composted and manured.

          Planted it up that April
          P1220916.JPG

          P1220917.JPG

          By mid August we had this
          P1250572.JPG

          late August
          P1250611.JPG

          and mid October
          P1250967.JPG

          P1250968.JPG
           
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          • Mike Allen

            Mike Allen Gardener

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            Oh Dear. Silver Surfer, I feel that we had become friends over the years. Never cmind, we both share a great passion for plants.

            If I may. First and formost. Trees shout out at me. ''LIFE'' Without trees this planet probably might resemble Mars. Not that chocolate bar but the desolate planet. Whether we be gardeners or just an ordinary member of the humanity of planet earth. Trees are so important to our well being.

            Sadly the conifer best known as. Leylandii has become synonymouse wit a rapid growing tree that has outgrown it's usefulness. Imagine a yearly calendar. Winter, snow covered ground, frosts and all of that. Spring. Wowee, snow and slush gone. Hey! what's that peeping through the soil. Plants sudenly come to life and our seasonal world has awakened from it's winter sleep.

            However, above ground. Our woodlands, back gardens etc, our trees and shrubs have also woken up. Did you notice. Throughout thos dark cold days, despite our tree standing out there like skeletons. Branches now affording no home or protection for our native birdlife. Ah'ha, a conifer hedge, even a leylandii. This chappie or lassie has ptovided us with, alround yearly greenery. Yes it has blocked out noesy neighbours. So why the dislike. As those cheeky criters on TV might say. Zimbles'.

            Even experienced gardeners and yes, scientist, so often plant trees and shrubs and then tend to forget them. Tree or shrub grows on and then. Out comes the chain saw. So sad.

            Conifers are an interesting study, but perhaps to suffice here. Most conifers, especially those planted in gardens. They do need to be kept in check. Most are renoun to be rapid height growers. One the growing point is cut. It will not send out a new shoot. What will happen is. Growth below the cut will branch out. What perhaps might have been a slender tree, will soon become a massive spread. Given time the bare trunks will begin to sprout new growth. Sad to say though. I look out of my kitchen window and I see a stand of Letlandii that has been cut back and now. It's a stand of grey dead tree trunks.
             
          • Silver surfer

            Silver surfer PLANTAHOLIC

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            Give me shineys beautiful mixed border any day over a row of bare conifer trunks.
            It will be full of wildlife ....butterflies, birds and bees.
            A joy to look at in all seasons.

            I love conifers....but in the right situation...where they can grow naturally to full height.
            Where they are not blocking the sunlight and sky
            ie not a tiny city back garden...trimmed to look bare and ugly.
            But that is just my personal feelings.....maybe other will think these conifers beautiful.
             
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            • shiney

              shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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              Although trees, even conifers, certainly have a place in a garden for the health of the environment and wildlife I think, like @Silver surfer, that we need to be practical when discussing them in particular situations.

              I love trees but they need to suit the garden and to be managed properly. I agree with both of you that they need to be managed. Some of our trees are cut regularly, some are heavily pruned every four or five years and others are left to do their own thing.

              We have conifers that are allowed to grow naturally and some that are shaped. All these provide habitats for wildlife - particularly in the winter.

              There are three, shaped, conifers that provide considerable habitat for birds in the winter with us providing them with most of their winter feed within easy reach. They are kept at approx. 10ft high but would be impossible to leave to grow to their natural height as they would overpower the main part of the garden. Some of the conifers are left to their own thing but have been chosen for their ability not to grow too rampant. Leylandii would need constant attention and, even then, become unmanageable eventually.
              P1370017.JPG

              Just keeping those three densely packed conifers under control takes a lot of work - but it's very rewarding as they are full of nesting birds.
              P1370028.JPG

              Leaving conifers to grow to their ultimate height can only be done successfully in the right setting
              P1370025.JPG
               
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              • silu

                silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                Totally agree with @shiney and @Silver surfer . We have (inherited) a pretty large Leylandii hedge (pain in the backside to keep trimmed) and various other conifers. I have removed quite a few conifers over the years (my Discovery never was quite the same after using her to haul out the stumps:rolleyespink:). I would get rid of the Leylandii hedge but it would be 1 hell of a job to do so and the resulting mess would be some task to fix so it reluctantly stays.
                I have kept a few conifers and really love my Cedar Atlantica Glauca but I have a huge garden which can accommodate large trees. The below would look dreadful heavily pruned.
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                There are so many other shrubs and trees to choose from other than the thug type conifers which are really only suitable for big gardens unless you are fastidious in keeping them trimmed. We also have Leylandii on the road to stop people going on the grass verge. Again they do a job but do I like them? hell NO and they take a good day to clip twice a year. I think they should only be sold with a warning of just how big they grow and how fast:). I also have a large Beech hedge planted I suspect at the same time as the hellish Leylandii 1. It is great, looks really nice in summer, only looses it leaves just before the new ones appear AND unlike Leylandii can be hard pruned if left to get out of control without it then looking like an eyesore for ever more. There is a street in St Andrews whereby the majority of the houses have had Lelandii planted on the roadside of their gardens. Every 1 has had to be hacked back as to not encroach on the footpath and look absolutely terrible. The Leylandii really spoil a street with seriously expensive and attractive houses on it. If only people would be a little more patient for their "privacy" and plant slower growing varieties of hedging plants which behave and don't turn into nightmares.
                 
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                  Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
                • YellowLab

                  YellowLab Apprentice Gardener

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                  I’m thinking I can clean up the trunks to make them look neater, add in a lot of organic matter, and grow some tough plants that can grow in dry shade.

                  I think topping the height with the bare bases might look odd...perhaps thinning out some of the branches up in the canopy might help bring in light.
                   
                • shiney

                  shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                  You can try it but I don't think it will work. :noidea: Thinning out is difficult with Leylandii. You are likely to either have bare patches and showing brown sections closer to the trunks or the other branches will droop and fill the gaps - depending on how harsh you cut back.

                  The problem with trying to grow things under them is that there is very little that can compete in those circumstances. Plants that grow upright, which is what you want, will lean outwards towards the light - even if they can get enough sustenance. Most plants that will survive shady dry areas are low growing or ground cover - such as Vinca.

                  Good luck but I'd plan towards removing them completely. :blue thumb:
                   
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                  • silu

                    silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                    Could I politely suggest you try digging under the trees before you go and spend either time money or effort on improving the area. You will be lucky to even get a garden fork in the ground. Unless you have been weeding under the trees even weeds don't appear to have grown there:rolleyespink:. If you removed about 1/2 of the remaining branches there would still be a rain shadow and I honestly doubt it would make much difference. Annoying as it may be, other plants just won't survive the competition from the large Leylandii. I could send you a shed load of Vinca but even that would be doing well to accept the area and grow.
                     
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