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Advice on neighbours problem Leylandii?

(29 Posts)

Bought a house on a new development which had a huge Leylandii growing next to it. Looks to me like it is the remnants of an old hedge as there are four trunks very close together at the bottom. It towers more than 3 storeys high.

Obviously when we bought the house we knew it was there, but in the three years that we have been here, the tree has become very unhealthy looking and shed loads of its inner branches, it is all brown and twiggy in the inside and only the very outer bit is green.

The branches of the trees overhang our land and the branches are literally 2m from the front of our house. Not so bad when they were fresh and luxuriant looking, but now it looks all drab and horrible.

All the landscaping that we had done at the front is dead and brown and dry, the ground is covered in tree litter, tiny dead twigs etc.

The trees are owned by the people who sold the land to the developers, they got into a dispute with the developers about something and as a sort of tit for tat refused to remove the trees when the original landscaping was done. They have kept ownership of a small strip of land right along the length of the development, presumably because they live over the road and wanted some say in future issues. They cannot see the Leylandii from their house, they live round the corner.

Gosh, have whiffled on, sorry.

Essentially have every sympathy with them if the developers were being twunts (they have been twunts with the new residents too) but their dispute went on before we moved here, we had no idea about it, and now the trees are blighting my own house/land and enjoyment of my property.

What are my chances of getting them to remove them?


Naetha Mon 29-Mar-10 15:19:08

Have you asked them? Maybe offer to remove them / have them removed yourself?

ihearthuckabees Mon 29-Mar-10 15:30:03

Probably small, but you do know that you can chop off anything that overhangs your land. Technically, you're supposed to offer the clippings back to the owners of the tree, but doubt they would want them! Not sure if cutting branches back will help though, if the inner branches look dead or scruffy.

morningpaper Mon 29-Mar-10 15:32:56

more than one leylandii constitutes a 'hedge' and they are obliged to keep it to 2 metres high or under under the law

I would try and resolve amicably (ask to go halves on the cost?) and if they are arsey then
find out more about the legal side (your council can advise) and then you can start proceedings accordingly.

morningpaper Mon 29-Mar-10 15:35:28

advice here

I guess I will drop a friendly letter round there. Feel a bit nervous though as they are in "the big house" and I'm sure that this new development is the thorn in their side. Though presumably they sold the land for the cash hmm

Thanks morningpaper smile

Naetha Mon 29-Mar-10 16:33:24

I didn't realise there was a law about high hedges...<looks at the 6m leylandii blocking out summer sun from 4pm onwards...>>

I'm just a bit shy about asking as the owner is a pensioner, and it would probably cost an arm and a leg to get them trimmed. We also have some leylandii in our garden (about 3m high) but we're about to get these removed.

GrendelsMum Mon 29-Mar-10 17:35:53

If they don't want to cut them lower, then you can legally cut the overhanging branches back on your side. The branches won't ever regrow, though, so you'll be stuck with dead branches on view. On the other hand, if you cut all the way back to the trunks, you can then fence up against them...

I warn you that it can be extraordinarily expensive to cut down a hedge of that height, so they may not want to pay for them to be cut.

If it's 4 trunks very very close to each other, are you sure it's a hedge, rather than a tree with multiple stems caused by pruning at an early stage (don't know if leylandii do this though?). You do keep describing it as a single tree, so that might be what it is.

You might need to offer to pay for it yourself, and to agree to replace it with a new tree.

It looks like one tree because it is behind a six foot featherlap fence and I originally thought that it was one tree - but I've been round the other side of the verge and it is definitely four individually planted trunks about 1m spaced or less, but above 2m it all interweaves into one big clump.

It is higher than our three storey house, the branches of it are within 2m of our windows all the way up the front of our house - it is actually highly oppressive and has grown a lot since we moved in.

According to the info morningpaper directed me to, it isn't a question of whether they want to trim it way down, I think they might have to, as it is definitely a hedge. I keep calling it a tree since it is 45ft high! It probably used to be a 4m long 2m high hedge in its infancy. There is absolutely no reason for it to be there now - it may even be remants of a longer hedge, the rest of which may have been dug up and built over.

I'd be more than happy for another more suitable tree to go in its place and would be happy to either pay for that tree or a portion of it, but personally I think the cost of trimming the hedge itself should be paid by the owners of the verge or bourne jointly between the owners of the verge and the property company I pay to maintain the landscaped area who have done zilcho for the last three years apart from collect their fees.

(And breathe....)

louii Mon 29-Mar-10 19:48:01

does antifreeze or something not kill them?

Hmmm...but someone would still have to cut the buggers down wouldn't they?

lincstash Mon 29-Mar-10 20:14:55

Well i have two words of advice.

1. To kill a tree undetected, drive copper rods or nails into the base of the tree to the heart. The copper sets up a negative electrical potential with the ground, inhibiting the rising sap and the tress dies over a few weeks. Works every time.

2. PM me and ill send you my mobile number. Ill then drive round your house when you are out, chainsaw them down and go. You will have done nothing illegal.

I love the indigenous hardwood trees of the country, the oaks, elms, ashes and beeches, but the introduced softwood trees such as pines, cedars and firs are a bloody menace.

GrendelsMum Mon 29-Mar-10 20:28:56

Mmmm - I can see your point, but what I'm thinking is that it may be sufficiently expensive that the owners may feel that it's worth trying hard to avoid cutting it down at their expense.

Fruitysunshine Mon 29-Mar-10 20:38:29

My neighbours next door have 3 leylandiis in their front. They are so tall they go up through the power cables the connect our street! I mentioned it in passing to her once and she asked if DH could do it for her - she has 3 grown up sons that could help I joked back!

Two years later and the trees are still there blocking even more sunlight into our lounge - infact it is so dark in our lounge that we have to have the light on through the day occasionally.


kittens Mon 29-Mar-10 20:54:43

We looked into the high hedge act as our neighbours have leylandii taller than our house right at the side of our house and at the end of their garden. One thing to be careful about going down the council route is that they can only cut a small amount of the tree so as not to kill it and they charge a huge amount if they decide to take on your case.

We wrote to our neighbour and included pictures of our garden at the brightest part of the day so they could see the impac tthe trees were having on us, the next weekend her sons were in the garden chopping them down to a more reasonable height, but also we think they may have killed them as they tooke them down to 1/3 of their orignal height.

Make the letter friendly and not confontational and you may be lucky...

morningpaper Tue 30-Mar-10 08:10:07

I have two leylandii that are making my neighbours lives a misery

However, it will be £600 to cut them to 30 feet

I've said I'm happy to share the cost but otherwise will do so when I have a spare £600

Which I guess is going to be pretty much never, TBH, as if we had £600 we woudl have a summer holiday instead

quidnunc Tue 30-Mar-10 09:23:59

Good god how tall are they?! £600 sounds pretty steep to me. I have had a couple of quite big trees removed, including the the stumps, for about £220 after I'd shopped around a bit. Have you got more than one quote?

I have no idea if this is possible, but have you called the local council?

morningpaper Tue 30-Mar-10 09:34:51

I've had two quotes from men that have done work for me in teh past who are properly insured etc. but unfortunately the garden is enclosed and there is no road access, which makes it tricky. They are also right up against two neighbour's houses and greenhouses (they were built long AFTER the leylandii were established) and it makes removing them tricky. They are currently around 80 ft and need reducing to 30 ft.

GrendelsMum Tue 30-Mar-10 11:10:55

Sounds about right for that situation, MP - we had a whole (ex) hedge of huge leylandii taken out from a tricky situation with no official access, gardens, sheds etc everywhere, and it cost us £1000 + VAT. On the plus side, we got them to cut them up for our woodburner, and we had 2 years worth of firewood from it!

lincstash Tue 30-Mar-10 13:51:01

Cant beat the copper nails solution, cheap and easy :D

and works every time. Best bet is old copper stair rods. Drill a hole into the tree same diameter and hammer in all the way to the middle, three of four is usually enough.

lincstash Tue 30-Mar-10 13:53:00


Yes but burning too much softwood tars up the chimney, bad idea.

Might be cheap firewood, but if it then costs you £200 to get the chimney swept to avoid a fire, it was false economy. I try to burn no more than 10 percent softwood on mine.

morningpaper Tue 30-Mar-10 17:04:05

If my neighbours did the copper nails thing I would COMPLETELY refuse to take the trees down once they were dead

pinkmagic1 Tue 30-Mar-10 17:18:18

We had a problem with some absolutely huge trees of this type at the back of our garden on the persons land that backs onto us. It was so bad that you always had to have the light on in the kitchen, even midday in the height of summer. I was also terrified of one falling, as they used to sway so much when the wind blew.
I wrote a polite but to the point letter to the householder concerned ( I didn't know them personally to ask), asking them to remove the trees. The neighbour turned out to be extremely amicable and had the trees removed within a few weeks. I know this isn't always the case but may be worth a try.

Mumsnut Sun 04-Apr-10 16:10:57

Please be careful - do the chopping in stages or take advice - subsidence / heave are very much governed by water in the ground, and 4 big Leylandii guzzle a lot of liquid. Chopping them down all at once may de-stabilize your foundations on that side if the trees are close.

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