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has anyone removed a leylandi hedge? How/was it worth it?

(35 Posts)
dangermouseisace Thu 29-Dec-16 17:45:41

I moved into a house in the summer with a massive garden which I'm really happy about. What I'm not happy about is the leylandi which are planted in my garden for about half the length on one side. Right next to an otherwise perfect veg spot. There are conifers on the other side too but they are next doors and look like they are kept well trimmed.

Mine aren't too old but must have been trimmed once if ever. I reduced their height by about a third to 2 m but they've grown again. I think DS2 and I are allergic to them as well as we both had skin rashes. I hate leylandi- my parents have them and I think they are ugly and kill everything beneath them except for ivy. Ideally I'd have them gone.

Has anyone ever removed them themselves? I am a single mum but physically fit and strong so I never feel I need a 'man' to do anything. How did you go about it? Was it expensive? Do I need to get pros in? Will the leylandi, even if they are gone, have scuppered my veg planting ideas?

RedastheRose Thu 29-Dec-16 17:49:49

They are hard work to remove if they are big (ours had been allowed to turn into proper trees with large trunks) were taken down with a chainsaw but then had to use a chainsaw to cut away at the stumps for ages to get them below ground level. A big job for you on your own, would probably need to rope in help from someone who knows what they are doing. Best thing would to be get a quote for cutting them down from a tree surgeon or experienced gardener who is insured and save up.

muminmanchester Thu 29-Dec-16 17:57:00

DH did ours. Chainsaw to cut them down to stumps and then he dug them out. Bloody hard work by all accounts and it took ages. Lots of mess and waste too so a few tip runs needed. I'd be inclined to get a quote from a gardener if we ever need anything like that doing again

Cherylene Thu 29-Dec-16 17:57:01

We took all the branches off ours, cut them up and took them to the tip. DH and DS then used the remaining trunk to remove the roots by loosening them, digging, cutting and pulling them. It took 2 afternoons for 8 leylandii.

I wouldn't do it on my own - mainly because I am tired all the time and would have no energy left at the end of it.

Maybe get them down to trunks, then bribe some friends/relatives to come over? It is very satisfying grin.

Chottie Thu 29-Dec-16 17:59:40

My new NDNs moved in and cut down all the leylandi around their property. I went round with flowers and profuse thanks smile

anotherdayanothersquabble Thu 29-Dec-16 18:02:11

My Dad has removed mature ones from his house. Lots of hard work, great wood supply and mas made a huge improvement to his garden.

BlueGoats Thu 29-Dec-16 18:06:19

I called in the pros (six huge trees gone in less than a day). If you do it yourself, think about what will you do with the resulting debris as well as how you will get them down.

The only issue I had with growing veg nearby was occasionally hitting a tree root while digging, as they are quite shallow.

Bubble2bubble Thu 29-Dec-16 19:15:38

Oh goodness, so worth it!
A few years ago we took out a 6ft hedge at the back of the house. Got a tree surgery type company who cut them down right to ground level ( though didn't remove the stumps) . They came with one of those shredder machines and took everything away. It was a big job. We planted a laurel hedge which took quite a while to take well as 10 years of leylandi had obviously depleted the soil, but now even have thrushes nesting in it smile The other good part is that our back yard is no longer covered in green slime. And we have daylight!

Why oh why do people plant these things?

Finola1step Thu 29-Dec-16 19:25:25

We removed a big one which had been planted about 12 foot from our back door. At least 30 years old. We called in our local tree specialists because we wanted to build a small office on the spot so needed the roots broken up properly and the ground flattened. Cost about £350 (live in expensive SE town) but well worth it.

LucyLocketLostHerPocket Thu 29-Dec-16 20:54:17

In our last house we removed a 60 foot row of giant leylandi which had been allowed to grow for 20 yrs. the people opposite were ecstatic, said they'd never realised how light their house could be. It made a huge difference to our garden too and made it feel much bigger and lighter. It was expensive but so glad we did it.

shovetheholly Fri 30-Dec-16 08:33:29

Yes, get rid - it is an expensive job (and I would advise getting a tree surgeon in for anything that big unless you are already adept with a chainsaw) but will make a huge difference to your garden and your light.

Leylandii are a cross introduced in the late nineteenth century, so we still have no idea how tall they could get - it's possible they could go over 200 feet. Which is a bit sobering when you consider that many specimens are already far too big for all but the stateliest of gardens. This is one of a few plants that I think should be withdrawn from general sale because of its ability to induce long-term misery for entire neighbourhoods: so many people buy them, let them get out of control (which can happen in a heartbeat), and then can't afford to remove them.

Turquoisetamborine Fri 30-Dec-16 08:58:12

We have a big garden and have planted 50 leyllandi down one side of it. They were planted just over two years ago and are about 3ft tall now but my dad keeps them under control for us.

They are at the far side of my garden so not blocking any light for us and there is no house next to them for 30 feet. We just couldn't afford a 6ft fence for the 60ft length. I think as long as we keep them under control they won't pose a problem. I did away with my veg patches as I didn't have time to maintain them so not worried about that.

dangermouseisace Fri 30-Dec-16 12:30:17

I'm of the same opinion as to why people plant the things (sorry turquoise!). My parents planted some 33 years ago at the bottom of their garden and they've killed half the garden and are mainly trunk now.

It sounds like it will be a job for the professionals then. Thank you for all your advice- it's awful when you start doing something yourself and realise it's too much. You've saved me from having to find that out the hard way! Hopefully as the leylandi are still young it won't be toooooo expensive, and hopefully NDN won't mind. I'm glad to hear my veg planting dreams are not scuppered!

ChuckSnowballs Fri 30-Dec-16 12:55:04

Before you do pay out, do try digging one out and see how hard it is. If they are still relatively young then it might be doable.

I agree they should not be on sale [at all to be honest] there are so many better plants to put in for a hedge that are actually beneficial and not a PITA.

CointreauVersial Fri 30-Dec-16 13:03:29

We removed a 20 foot row of leylandii (probably about 4 or 5 trees - it was hard to tell!) which formed a great looming hedge alongside our patio. We tried trimming them for a couple of years, but they were just so thick and tall we just didn't have the equipment to do it properly.

We got a tree surgeon in - it cost about £750 if I remember correctly - but they took everything away and ground out the stumps. If we had done it ourselves it would have taken days and required the hire of equipment (chipper, grinder, proper ladders) so we probably wouldn't have saved a lot and it would have ended in divorce

They also took out a 15 foot palm tree which had been a casualty of a heavy winter.

One thing to factor in is fixing what is left behind! Losing the leylandii revealed a tumbledown and rotten fence which then needed replacing at additional cost. But it has transformed our garden, giving us space and light just where we needed it.

The palm tree grew back, though. It's now 4 feet tall. grin

Chillywhippet Fri 30-Dec-16 13:11:47

We got them removed when we were having building work done so the builders dug them up with a small digger.
There's a nice beech hedge there instead now

Palomb Fri 30-Dec-16 13:48:53

They should definitely be banned from
Sale imo. They are dreadful for neighbourly relationships, they are ugly as sin and make dreadful hedges. They are especially useless for wildlife.

We've got 2 full sized ones in our garden that are coming down next month. I cannot wait!

BrillianaHarvey Sat 31-Dec-16 00:23:57

We removed a row of about 10 20-foot tall leylandii five years ago and replaced them with a mixed English hedge. Bit scary to start with as it all looked very post-apocalypse, with a sea of mud interspersed with twigs - but now it is wonderfully bucolic, even in late December, with hoar frost clinging to the last vermilion-coloured rosehips.
Only trouble is that the increased light levels have played havoc with the drawing-room upholstery.

100milesanhour Sat 31-Dec-16 00:29:13

My hubby did it. He chopped them down as far as he cook and the dug them up, broke 2 spades in the process and 4 hours later, the hedge was away.

Our hedge was huge so the roots were really thick and really deep.

HaveYouSeenHerLately Sun 01-Jan-17 01:17:49

My Dad did mine. About 36ft of 8ft tall leylandii which had been planted rather densely - 35 separate trunks in all shock

Same as a previous poster he removed all the greenery which we snipped into the garden waste wheelie bin and those belonging to neighbours (with permission). Our council provides the bins free and does a fortnightly collection.
He sawed the trunks down (no chainsaw!) and levered the roots out using an iron bar...
He adores extreme pruning (strange man) but even so! Thanks Dad star

How tall is your hedge?

HaveYouSeenHerLately Sun 01-Jan-17 01:34:20

And how thick are the trunks? The greenery on mine came off with ease (8ft tall x 4ft deep hedge) using loppers and secateurs. Exposing the bare trunks is quite satisfying grin
Some of the trunks were fairly weedy due to the planting density and the roots came up with ease. My loppers were able to demolish 2-3" thick trunks before resorting to a saw. Every third one had a thick, mature trunk however sad

I've heard of people getting the stumps ground down professionally. I don't know the difference in price between the full job and the stump grinding. Maybe something to investigate if you're happy to tackle the former yourself.

Conifers on the other side will suck nutrients and water from your veg patch but you ought to be okay if you dig in plenty of organic matter. Could you install a water butt? I'm planning to attach a drip watering system to mine this summer to assist a notoriously dry area of the garden.

PlayingGrownUp Sun 01-Jan-17 01:50:39

We have 17 trees about 70 ft tall and 10 feet wide taken out of our garden this year and the majority of the stumps removed and fencing put up for £1800. While it isn't perfectly smooth it's been worth every penny. Better light, more room and as we live on a junction we can actually see now!

Scentofwater Fri 06-Jan-17 10:39:04

We are half way through removing a huge hedge. Our fab neighbor cut the branches back with his chainsaw and then my DH has been pulling them up by winching/levering them against each other while I've been removing the low branches. Some are hard, some easy, but they are v heavy so not really a one person job. If you're allergic to them then definitely get someone else, the trees are full of old leaves that get everywhere.
You won't regret it though, the light you'll get is amazing!

llangennith Fri 06-Jan-17 13:07:01

Well worth it. Horrible things!
We cut ours down to ground level but didn't bother to dig out stumps. Hasn't caused any problems.

BikeRunSki Fri 06-Jan-17 13:12:43

A word of caution - I'm a Chartered Geologist and a civil engineer- if your soil is at all clayey, it is likely that the soil will "heave" when you remove the leylandi. This in turn would damage your foundations.

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