It is certainly the most notorious plant growing in the UK at the
moment due to its inappropriate planting in small gardens. If someone suggested
that any other large tree was planted in close proximity to housing, then the owners
would have a dicky fit. Somehow, this one doesn't seem to cause the same amount
of panic, although it is increasing. Maybe it's feathery leaves and the way it waves
around sort of vulnerably when small along with large spaces between the branches
mean that it seems more harmless.
On the other hand it will very rapidly form a dense and effective
hedge that remains green all year round, just don't plant it in a small garden.
Q.I have a 30 year Lleylandii hedge. I have
kept its height to about 3 metres, but it seems to be getting wider each year.
I have now decided, enough is enough.
Can I cut the branches back to the trunks, and use these trunks for supports
for clematis, climbing roses etc, or would the Lleylandii trunks sprout again?
A.It's unlikely that they would sprout again.
If they did so, they would do it slowly and weakly and would certainly give
up totally if snipped off a second time. If there are any straightish branches
of any length that you can salvage when you cut them back, they make good cross-members
nailed to the vertical trunks and present a suitably rustic image.
Q.How do I stop my Lleylandii
conifers from growing, they are now approx 30 feet high and are blocking
A. The honest and only answer
- cut them down. 30 feet for a Lleylandii isn't even a teenager. All you can
do is to regularly (twice a year) trim them back and getting to 30 feet each
time will probably be quite difficult.
Q.Can I cut back a Lleylandii tree half matured
to make a hedge, and what time of year is best?
A. It depends
on how big the tree is and how far back you want to cut it. Lleylandii like
many other conifers have green leaves on the outside only, once you cut
back any distance into it, you just have brown branches. If the tree is
quite large it is unlikely to grow green shoots again from the brown wood.
I have seen it happen, but it took about three years from being cut, during
which time the hedge was an ugly bare brown.
Conifers that have been grown as trees
usually respond to drastic cutting back by giving up the ghost completely.
You could always plant a laurel in its place and then train that as a hedging
plant. Laurels have the advantage that they will respond to drastic cutting
back by growing new green leaves from the bare brown wood.
If you want to have a go at it, I'd do
it in late spring / early summer.
Q. Hi. I have spent years developing my
little garden into what is now a very enjoyable and functional environment.
A few months ago my neighbour planted eight Lleylandii conifers against
the other side of my 6ft fence panels. I am very worried about the speed
at which they have grown (8ft now) , and about their ultimate potential
to take the light (and views) from my hard-earned garden. I get on well
with my neighbours, but do not want to risk causing any bad feelings about
this situation. Is there any legal requirement for the guardians of these
amazing trees to keep them within a specific height (in a small garden)
? I also use my garden for amateur astronomy, and the Lleylandii will eventually
make that impossible. Is there a neighbourly way of sorting this matter,
avoiding the common "Neighbours from Hell" saga which ruins so many friendly
answer at the moment is that legally there is nothing you can do. There
has been a lot of publicity about this problem in recent years and there
are moves afoot to pass a law along the lines of those that apply to planning
permission for buildings that may deny neighbours "light and air", though
it's still early days.
Your answer probably lies in that you get
on well with your neighbours. Most people plant a hedge in front of a fence
in order to hide the large expanse of wood and so once the hedge reaches
the top of the fence the job is done, the problem comes when the owner of
the hedge doesn't trim it regularly. This is not usually due to any malicious
intention or even that they really want a 20ft high hedge, but more the
effect of the casual neglect of a non-gardener on an active gardener next
hope currently is to talk to your neighbour and explain your worry, he may
not even be aware that you see it as a potential problem, and ask if he
would keep the height down. Try explaining that cutting a little and often
will make the hedge much more manageable, I'm sure one of the reasons that
large Lleylandii hedges stay that way is that it's such an almighty task
to chop off and dispose of 6ft height or more of dense conifers, so the
owner just avoids it. It may even be worth your while suggesting that if
he can't or won't cut the height down, would he mind if you did? You can't
do this without permission as the hedge belongs to the neighbour, but it
may a practical if less than ideal solution. I used to live in a house with
large Lleylandii hedges on 3 sides of the garden, two belonged to me and
one to a neighbour who never went near it. Eventually I ended up trimming
all hedges to the same height with the neighbours "permission", yes it was
galling! but it solved my problem.
Q. I just bought 15 Leyland Cypress trees
and am debating about their spacing and distance from the fence (chain link).
I realize that the most commonly recommended distance between trees is around
80cm., however I have all too often seen conifer hedges choking each other (apparently)
from too-close spacing and/or being too close to the fence. Since a Leyland
Cypress can supposedly grow to 3 or 4 meters wide, would there be a problem
spacing them at 150 centimetres rather than 80?(How much longer will it take
to form a dense closure?) Thanks Very Much! (from Spain).
A. The recommended
spacing is to achieve a good dense barrier fairly quickly while giving each
tree an adequate amount of space (they might look "choked" but they're fine
for a hedge). The main reason for choosing Lleylandii is for their growth rate.
It's difficult to give a time scale of how long it would take to form a good
hedge at 150cm spacing other than about twice as long as it would at 80cm, local
growth conditions vary enormously and I'm not even going to guess how quick
they'd grow in Spain!.
I'm not keen on the use of Lleylandii and my own approach would be that if
you are prepared to wait longer for the hedge to form, then why not use a more
attractive and less bullying hedging plant instead (at the recommended spacings)
Q. My neighbours Lleylandii
is now 15ft high and growing about 3 ft a year! I have asked him to cut
this down to a reasonable height of about 6ft which he refuses. He actually
pulled up trees under a TPO (tree preservation order) 6 years ago and planted
these monstrous green things and now the view of the valley is totally ruined.
What is the current legislation regarding this and if all else fails how do
I get rid of them?
A. Despite promises of legislation,
there is still no law about the height of a boundary hedge. Your best approach
is probably to go to your local council and ask if there is anything they can
do. If trees under a TPO were removed they can be made to be replanted as they
were, was anything done at the time? I don't know how it would be considered
so long after the event.
What you can do is to prune the roots where they encroach upon your land,
i.e. dig down and cut them at the boundary, if this damages them, then so be
it. Obviously though, this is hard work and not the best approach for a conciliatory
outcome. As for getting rid of them, this would be against the law, you are
not allowed to poison them even where they encroach upon your land.
Q. I have a hedge of Lleylandii which has
been on our property since buying it. Recently the hedge has started to fade.
It started with a couple of trees and is now progressing down the line of trees.
There seems to be an awful lot of ants at the base of the trees in question.
Could you please advise me of any diseases connected to these trees, as I know
that they are considered to be extremely hardy.
A. Difficult to say without seeing the
plants directly. The ants may be a clue though. There is an aphid that particularly
attacks Lleylandii, it's not common, but if it strikes is often in huge quantities
- take a look for them. The ants might be feeding on the honeydew that the aphids
secrete and taking them to new pastures - they actively farm them.
Other than this, they sometimes suffer from a fungal disease called Phytophthora
which affects the bark and gives a reddish tinge to the roots. Apart from these,
the commonest cause of dieback is drought, something that Lleylandii like other
conifers are often not good at tolerating, damage to the roots could be a cause
Q. I planted 30 Leyland Cypress in a fence
row style to be a hedge. I do not want them to grow taller that 5 to 6 ft. My
soil is not the best and they have been in the ground 2 years now. Most of them
are about 4 ft tall but one end is shooting to the sky. I have different
growing heights and want to top off the new growth and keep them with in the
5 to 6 ft height? Can I do that or do I just need to let them grow? I will
be doing no side to side trimming just off the top.
If I can top these trees can you root these cuttings for more trees? If so
how? Can I cut them now (October) or do I wait until spring?
A. Just cut them off when they reach 6
ft, if you let them they'll continue to 70ft+! You will need to do some side
trimming as they get older or they'll end up huge, best to do little and often.
Yes you could use the shoots to take cuttings, 6-12" long pieces in a cold
frame ideally with the foliage stripped from most of the length save the top
1/3rd. They'll take better if there's some sand mixed in with the soil. Put
them in now and don't touch them again until late spring at the earliest. They
need to be kept moist enough to not dry out, but not so wet that they rot. How
well they take will depend on your local conditions, if you need them or just
want to try, take some every time you trim them, they're free, will be in great
abundance (!) and you'll learn by trial and error.
You can cut some for cuttings now, but I'd leave any proper trimming until
they're in active growth again next year.
Q. I have been growing Cypress Lleylandii
as a hedge for about 7 years. My problem is that the ones on the ends are about
5 feet taller than the middle ones. I understand that Lleylandii do not take
fertilisers well, but would like to encourage the 'short ones' to grow taller,
any suggestions on how to encourage their faster growth? Thank you for
your kind attention to my question.
A. Give them a top dressing of a slow
acting fertiliser in the autumn - now is ok as long as it's not frozen - hoe
it in to the top inch or two of the soil. Use blood, fish and bone, seaweed
based or Gromore depending on your preference. Give them a good soaking with
a soluble high nitrogen fertiliser in April / May when they're growing strongly.
Q. I have six Lleylandii conifers located
at the bottom of my 40' garden. A surveyor friend of one of the other flats
owners visited the property a couple of days ago. Although she didn't speak
to me about it directly she subsequently mentioned that she had a slight
concern about the conifers at the end of the garden as "they needed to be kept
in check due to the risk of subsidence". Obviously I don't want to cause
a problem for myself or my neighbours and will do whatever is necessary to keep
these from being a problem. The tallest is approx 20' so my question is can
these trees cause a problem to our property although they are located 40' from
the house? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
A. It's part of the culture where no-one
puts themselves at risk by always being as careful as they can in case some-one
else tries to prove them liable for the consequences of advice or information
With most trees, a distance at least as far as the tree is tall will be ok
in most circumstances. There's a possibility that they could be left and reach
100ft + in time, so yes there is a risk. Make sure they're kept trimmed and
that your buildings insurance covers you for subsidence and you should be fine.
Q. When we moved into our house we had a lovely
Lleylandii hedge along the front of the property and between us and our semi-detached
neighbours. It's approx 6 ft high and shaped to a point at the top from 4 ft
up. Despite initial reservations we've managed to keep it up ourselves, with
one/two trims a year but the other night
some stupid idiots thought it would be fun to set fire to the hedge. Luckily
our neighbours noticed and called the fire brigade but we now have a burnt out
patch from 4 ft up and it's about 3 ft wide. Any advice on the best
way to get the hedge back to it's former glory would be most appreciated. Basically
all the green has gone, but the main branches in the centre of the hedge remain
- albeit some are pretty charred.
A. Lovely and
Lleylandii are not two words I often hear in the same sentence in emails!
Lleylandii very rarely grow again from brown wood, I have seen them do it, but
it takes 2-3 years, the chances are that they will die, your best bet is probably
replacement with a new plant/s if the burnt parts are down to ground level.
If there's a good healthy portion below the burnt part, then cut out the
burnt/brown region and train a new leader when one emerges from the lower portion,
it shouldn't take too long to fill the gap with a bit of judicious training
I have a problem with some 40ft Leylandii - 12 in all. As they are killing
just about everything within 5 m of them how can I best get rid of them?
Do I: I have been told these methods -
1 - Cut them down to 1' under ground, drill a hole in the stump, pour acid
in and cover them over allowing them to rot down. Apparently this doesn't
affect the soil around them and is the non disruptive method.
2 - Dig up the roots but this apparently makes lots of mess because you have
to dig round them.
or is there a better way?
A. There is no easy way, there is however a
chemical that is used in preference to acid. There is a further way and that
is to use a stump-grinder, these are not for the faint hearted or inexperienced
(i.e. hire someone to do it for you) it's a sort of exposed thick circular saw
that grinds away the whole stump to below ground level.
That sounds like a massive job overall in fact. Are you going to attempt
it yourself? If you haven't any experience in such things I'd strongly recommend
getting an experienced tree removal service to quote you for it. There's 4 jobs
there really, cutting the trees, removing the felled trees, removing the stumps
and tidying the area - it's going to make quite a mess and you'll need some
fairly hefty machinery or some big lads and chainsaws to deal with them.
I have just purchased a new house and have 3 Lleylandii at about 7ft currently.
I am keen that they grow (!) and wondered if they needed any feed or
will water suffice in these relatively dry conditions?
Also do you know anything about wild garlic. Some friends came around at
the weekend at it seems our garden is infested with it. To my untrained and
inexperienced eye it looks very pretty but they tell me it's dreadful stuff
for the garden! Help!
A. Lleylandii - I wouldn't start watering them,
you'll end up making a rod for your own back, if they've got to 7 feet, they
should be ok. Feeding, hoe in some blood, fish and bone meal or Gromore around
the roots any time now. Once they're growing well in April, give them a dose
of high nitrogen soluble fertiliser.
Wild garlic - never come across it specifically, all areas have their own
particular weeds/wild plants that proliferate in local conditions. The only
way I can think it's "dreadful stuff" would be in the same way as any other
weed by taking over if not kept in check. If you let it, it will overpower many
of your ornamental introductions. Should you keep it? Depends on how much you
like it and how it fits into the scheme of things in your garden. If the house
is new to you and the garden has been neglected, then you should be able to
keep it in check. Also, some weeds/wild plants look pretty for some of the time
when they're flowering and then ugly for much of the rest, when they are
often brown and flop all over the place.
Q. My Leylandii are almost 10 years
old. I have grown ten as a hedge and lost in recent years three trees. Deterioration
has taken place three years ago in the form of gradual browning of the leaves
and then its all brown and it dries up. I am very concerned about the rest.
There is no apparent cause although many specialists were unable to provide
a remedy. The weather in Amman is hot from May until end of September then
turns to cool and cold. The trees that died are at the beginning of the
row and next to each other. The last one in the row is the healthiest !!! I
would appreciate your help.
A. I'm afraid I'm not going
to be able to help much either on this one. I'm actually a bit surprised that
Lleylandii will grow in Jordan at all, and I think that therein lies the problem.
Conifers in general are very susceptible to drying out and Lleylandii are
temperate trees rather than being able to put up with hot dry conditions
like some other conifers can. Lleylandii are better in our damp European
climates as they can get through wet winters which usually means they won't
manage too well with very hot and dry places.
Conifers are also a
bit sneaky in the way they die as they don't tend to show any outward signs
until they are well gone, unlike broad-leaved plants that wilt early on to show
there's a problem. So they might die due to of a lack of water or because of
excessive heat, but not show it until at a time when they appear to have plenty
of water and it's cooler.
I'm struggling a bit here and you may well
be surrounded by lots of other healthy Lleylandii in Amman, but that's my best
suggestion. They may have lasted so long as a result of their position and water
availability so far as they were smaller, or you may have had a particularly
long hot and dry spell recently.
On the other hand, it could be a disease,
and there I'm not even going to guess as I'm sure you have things I've never
some across! I also imagine you would have mentioned anything obvious.
The answer? I'd be inclined to get something more native to your region
and go with that, if nothing else, you know there's something about where they
are currently planted that kills Lleylandii.
Q. We have lost 5 Leylands this summer, they turned all
brown. There is a brown/blackish caterpillar type larva that has wrapped
itself in a cocoon with the leaves of the tree. How to we stop this? Are the
trees gone for good? Cartersville GA, 30120 - zone 7
A. It's difficult to say without actually seeing the trees.
If conifers die as you describe, it's almost always due to a lack of water and/or
high temperatures depending on the species.
Unless the trees are overwhelmed with the caterpillar you describe I'd guess
it's an opportunist taking advantage of a weakened tree rather than the cause
of the problem.
Lleylandii are tough as old boots in a climate where they are happy, but
a bit temperamental if they are not happy - and lack of water at the roots is
usually the problem (or an excess of it in the winter).
Maybe, you have another 100+ trees that are perfectly happy, but it sounds
to me that they just aren't so great in Bartow County GA. It only takes a few
days of too-tough conditions in a long life-time of a conifer to sound the death
Q. I am considering purchasing a new house (bungalow) in
Clacton. 2 metres away in a neighbours garden is a 8-10m Lleylandii. A previous
sale fell through as the owner refused to cut the tree down.
Is this likely to cause problems to my new house? Can I dig down and prune
the roots on my side of the fence? I understand that Leylandi roots are shallow.
Will pruning of the roots protect my house. Could I dig a shallow pit (1 metre)
on my side of the fence and concrete it in to protect the house?
A surveyors report on slight cracking in the wall on that side said that
it was due to thermal expansion of the bricks and was not due to the tree. There
was no damage due to the tree.
A. With advice goes liability and as I haven't seen the tree,
garden, house, bungalow etc. I can't give direct advice as to what you should
- Is it likely to cause problems - statistically probably not, but even
a 1% chance means someone has a big problem even though the other 99% don't.
- Yes you could dig a trench and prune the roots, I don't know about the
sunken concrete wall as I've never come across this.
- Damage to property by trees is usually not by direct damage to the foundations
by the roots (though this can happen), more normally it is by soil shrinkage/swelling
through the year by the tree roots taking water from the soil. This is worse
on clay soils, least on sandy, worse with a big tree and worse the closer
the tree is.
- You say tree - singular, i.e. not a hedge? Are the branches 2m away,
or is the trunk 2m away? Some local authorities may be prepared to get involved
if it's a hedge.
- I'd suggest getting a local expert to take a look at the tree and bungalow
on the spot, maybe even approach an insurer as to whether they would happy
(or at least not grumpy) about taking on buildings insurance in such a situation.
Q. We have a Lleylandii hedge close to an outbuilding.
Cracks are beginning to appear in the building and we believe this is
subsidence due to the trees. We are loath to remove the tress completely because
of the screening they provide. Would reducing their height by half (down
to approx 8ft) have any significant effect?
A. Yes - trim the branches back too as I bet
they're wide with it. Don't leave anything brown as they'll never recover, it
should still all be green.
Q. Do Lleylandii roots spread, we have
one positioned right next to our house (in our neighbours garden) and were concerned
about our payment rising, the neighbour looked but said the roots of a Lleylandii
do not spread it is a root ball!? Is this correct?
A. All tree roots spread, some more than others,
the bigger the tree the more they spread. "root ball" is just a phrase to describe
the roots and attached soil.
Will the roots raise your payment? Payment
of what? Insurance? - I doubt it, contact your insurers. Will the roots affect
your property? maybe, maybe not, too many factors to take into consideration
to guess at, but certainly if the tree is next to (immediately next to) your
garden, then the roots will go under it.
Q. Can Lleylandii be kept in large pots?
A. Yes they can, but I doubt you could
keep up with the required pot size and re-potting requirements, not to mention
watering needs. I suggest you don't try.
Q. Help! - my 75ft Lleylandii has started
to shed like mad, already its starting to turn brown, mainly on the eastern
side at first but now on all sides, also other smaller trees of the same type
are following suit, a local tree removal company tells me that at this time
many conifers are suffering from something he calls red Mite? I thought
this was a pest for Chickens? is there some form of disease prevalent on Lleylandii
in Essex at present, or is it down to our very dry spring and now extreme rain.
I could use some advice or may have to pay out of my pension around £850.00
to get it removed, HELP!
A. It's unlikely that a mature tree will
be killed by a one-season pest. Can you spray it? A difficult job, but will
help if you can.