Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Out damn Leylandii

The first task in the new garden was to get the Leylandii hedge at the back end of the garden removed.


As mentioned in my previous post, I'm not fond of Leylandii and dislike the way they stop other plants from growing under them. They are a lot of work if you want to keep them from growing out of control, and they seem to suck the light, and life, out of the garden.

The Leylandii hedge is at the East end of of the garden. The previous owners planted them as the fence behind was a metal fence and the neighbours could see straight into our garden. However, since the previous owners planted them, the neighbours have put up an additional wooden fence - I think to hide the Leylandii - so that immediate issue was resolved.

I wanted to get the hedge removed quickly as I know it takes time for soil that Leylandii has been growing in, to start to heal. Leylandii is acidic and depletes the soil of the nutrients, making it poor soil for growing fruiting trees or vegetables in. As I'm planning on putting in semi-dwarfing fruit trees in during the coming autumn I need time to get working on improving the soil.

I was fortunate to come across a good tree surgeon, Jon Gibson, who could do the work, and quickly. And wow, was it quick!

Jon already on a good start

Assistant Zack starts taking the branches away

Nearly there...

ta da!
Not only was it gone, but I gained about another metre in the length of my garden! And I now have a perfect place for putting in a large rainwater harvester to make the most of the water that falls on the large garage roof.
Zack then dug out all the remaining tree stumps

I was literally rubbing my hands in glee to see the Leylandii begone

I've now got more space and sense of light in my garden:

I was almost completely pleased. However...

The below picture was taken just before 10am and you can see the shadow the neighbours Leylandii is casting over the garden.


I wasn't too worried about this when we decided to buy the house, as we worked out that it would only cast shade for about 1 hour a day. However, despite this, I secretly harboured hopes that I might be able to convince the neighbour to at least reduce it's height, if not remove it all together. 1 hour of sunlight is pretty important given recent weather trends...

So I was delighted when I saw someone speaking to Jon at the front where he was shredding my Leylandii. Maybe this was my neighbour asking about his tree. Would you believe it - it was! I found out a little later that the neighbour wanted the whole thing gone. Out damn Leylandii! And to answer my dreams, it happened two days later!

Jon getting up to the tippy top

I feel like I'm a rather lucky Gwenhwyfar to get my way so quickly, and without even trying! I'm a completely and utterly pleased bunyip, I have to say.

Of course, the garden looks even barer now, but that is just whilst it is developing. Now that the Leylandii has gone and I see how much more space and light I have, I realise I have room to put my compost bins over at the back where they will get more sun. Originally they were going to have to go alongside the neighbours fence on the right, but being shaded would have meant a much slower composting process. The new position, once I've had the space cleared of rubbish and weeds, will be a much better place for the compost bins. They will get more sun and speed up the composting process, and will be out of the way behind the garage - though of course will be easily accessible by the path I'll put in.

I do need to think about how best to deal with the space between the metal fence, which is the technical end of our boundary, and the new fence the neighbour has put up. It's kind of 'dead space' since I cannot actually push my boundary back. Maybe a simple wildlife habitat, which would be beneficial to the wildlife and both our gardens? It would need to be easy to 'dismantle' if the neighbour suddenly decides to push their fence back to the proper boundary. Another idea to muse upon.

Now that the damn Leylandii has gone I can get started on the next phase. That will be getting the area cleared of rubbish and start sowing green manure to heal the soil, and to start drawing up a base map.

5 comments:

  1. Oh well done. They are dreadful things. Enjoy your new space and light. That metal fence looks ideal to grow some climbers up, runner beans or sweet peas?

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  2. I'm so pleased for you - it makes so much difference to the light, doesn't it? Our neighbour had a huge Leylandii - the only good thing about it was the pine-y smell in high summer. When he died, we actually went halves with the family on the cost of getting it cut down before anybody bought the place.

    Regarding that boundary strip, how about a perennimeter? John Walker talks about it in his new book. See the second page of the review I did for Smallholder. http://earthfriendlygardener.net/2013/03/22/eco-warrior-john-walker-how-to-create-an-eco-garden-smallholder-review/

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  3. Catofstripes: yes, I'm planning on growing something up the metal fence. Not sure what but maybe a mix of sweet peas and french climbing
    beans - thanks for the idea!

    Helen: I consider myself very lucky that my neighbour was encourage to remove theirs once they saw me removing mine. I've heard awful stories of neighbours fighting over leylandii. That was a great idea working with the neighbour to take the one effecting your garden before anyone bought the place!

    Thanks for the suggestion about the perennimeter. Sounds like a great idea. I've been meaning to look at John's book, so now I have no excuse not to act!

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  4. I know your joy at getting the leylandii removed as I had a similar problem when I moved into my house. There were 6 of them, and they crowded out everything, hideous things! I dug the whole area over after they'd been removed and put a large amount of compost and manure down. I found the area was useable within a few months and it is bursting with life now. It's great to have more garden to play around with isn't it.

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  5. Good move, getting rid of the leylandii. I'm sure your garden is now better off without them. 2 of my pet hates are Leylandii and Japanese knot weed.

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