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Yew, laurel, leylandii or something else?

(15 Posts)
Gipfeli Tue 20-Jul-10 09:33:13

We are planning to replace the hedge between our garden and our neighbours. The current hedge is leylandii. Some bits of it are dead and others have been damaged (by someone climbing over them!).

We're wondering whether to replace with leylandii, or whether to use something else such as laurel (which is what our neighbours on the other side of our garden have) or yew. At the moment we're tending towards yew, although it's not entirely our decision and I need to hear what the neighbours would like too.

We're going to have to use large plants (1.75m) to give the neighbours privacy from our children, and the hedge is about 20m long, so yew is going to be quite expensive. I could live with that it if it wasn't all going to die with a year or two.

So my questions are:

What would you choose - leylandii, laurel, yew, something else - and why (I don't want to hear about leylandii growing out of control. They won't. Both us and the neighbours trim them regularly and the current 30 year old ones are only as tall as me. That's a non-issue.)

If we choose yew for example, how closely would we need to plant them? (or rather, just how far apart can I get away with, so as to reduce the cost?)

All comments appreicated.

Butterbur Tue 20-Jul-10 09:36:02

I have planted a hedge of thuja plicata. It looks pretty much like leylandii, but grows at about 2/3 the speed. Also you (apparently) can prune back into the dead wood, and it will regrow, unlike leylandii.

werewolf Tue 20-Jul-10 09:38:37

I'd go with laurel, I think.
Yew has poisonous berries (if you didn't know).

linspins Tue 20-Jul-10 09:50:21

Could you use a mixture, and put in some native bushes too? Holly, small mountain ash trees, hazel nuts etc? I've always thought a mixture is nicest for the general wildlife, and has a bit of interest all year round?
If not, I'd go with laurel...and throw in a few variegated ones for fun.

oldenoughtowearpurple Tue 20-Jul-10 10:08:17

Depends if you want a flat clipped straight living fence or a bushy hedge. For bushy hedge I'm with linspins - it'll be green and non-see-through when you are mostly in the garden.

If you want evergreen bushy then laurel.

If you want straight clipped I would go for somethign that regrows from dead wood. Yew for preference but it is a bit of a long-term prospect.

Whatever you plant, the soil where the old hedge was will be absolute rubbish. Nurture whatever you are putting in, it will need it.

Loads of online suppliers have advice on spacing etc. these especially interesting.

Pannacotta Tue 20-Jul-10 22:24:33

If you want evergreen then I think Yew (no berries if you clip regularly) or Portuguese Laurel would be the nicest choices, or Viburnum tinus which flowers during the winter.
Leylandii is very "matt" looking and the least attractive option, IMO anyway.
If you buy bare root (wait till November) you will save lots, much cheaper than container grown and easier to establish too.

Pannacotta Tue 20-Jul-10 22:28:09

Sorry should have said, bare root obviously only applies if you are buying deciduous plants, such as Hawthorn/Beech etc, no good if you decide on evergreen hedging...

Gipfeli Wed 21-Jul-10 09:22:26

Thanks for your thoughts.

I read werewolf's comments about yew berries being poisonous, and was reminded that I somehow knew that, but hadn't considered it as our existing big yew at the end of the garden has never had berries. Then I saw that pannacotta explained why that would be.

Whilst I generally like linspins's idea, I think the hedge does need to be fairly formal looking and evergreen. The garden is overall quite small (it's long enough but very very narrow) and I feel it needs to be a uniform hedge to look right.

I also think that is what the neighbours would prefer, although I admit I'm just guessing there, from what I see of their well-cared for and manicured garden in comparison to our wilder patch.

I found a picture of viburnum tinus as a hedge. That looks quite nice. Flowers would be a nice change. I might suggest that. I agree that the leylandii is the least attractive looking.

Thanks for the links too, especially oldenoughtowearpurple - I hadn't found that one before.

Pannacotta Wed 21-Jul-10 10:23:36

Btw ignore my second post, you can buy bare root evergreen hedging, was very tired last night when I posted that.
WOuld save you quite a bit if you need to plant up a 20m hedge.
There is a Viburnum tinus hedge near me in front of a Victorian town house and it looks nice, smart and glossy foilage and flowers for months.

Another option which is quite formal is Hornbeam, its similar to Beech and while not evergreen it keeps it leaves in winter. It is often used for pleaching and is quite traditional.

Bramshott Wed 21-Jul-10 10:26:39

Not sure I'd go with either TBH - yew is very slow growing, and laurel leaves don't break down when they fall off so you are always sweeping them up!

If money is no object I'd have a hornbeam hedge (holds its leaves in winter, a lovely coppery colour) or a mixed hazel/hawthorn one would be cheaper. Traditional heging choices like privett are also nice.

Gipfeli Wed 21-Jul-10 11:13:06

Yes, I like hornbeam too. There is one that we walk past every day and that always looks good. It also reminds me of our garden when I was a child.

I know I've read that yew is slow growing but my experience with one current bush we have is that this is not the case.

We already have laurel down one side of the garden anyway so I'm dealing with those leaves, so it might not be so much worse with more.

RedArsedBaboon Wed 21-Jul-10 14:26:09

i would plump for laurel or cypress whihc is similar to leylandii but not so quick growing and more delicate and easier to shape.

amritsky Wed 25-Jan-17 20:49:20

Yew berries are not poisonous. All other parts of the plant are poisonous however, including the seeds, so beware! The flesh of the berries is edible and quite pleasant to eat, being very sweet. If seeds are swallowed they will pass through causing no harm, but if they are crunched... Parents of tiny children with yews in the garden will want to be vigilant.

Laurel berries ARE poisonous. Mind you, a friend of mine mistook them for sloes and used them to flavour his gin; he lived to tell the tale...

amritsky Wed 25-Jan-17 20:51:11

... but actually laurel does not tend to fruit if it is trimmed into a hedge.

shovetheholly Thu 26-Jan-17 08:31:19

Zombie thread! I imagine the poster's hedge is now well established!

I always vote against leylandii. They are stately trees to be grown in an arboretum at full height where they can be admired from half a mile away and they look shit everywhere else. Laurel is fast growing and can be a pain. Yew is classy but expensive and needs to be trimmed properly.

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