Severe pruning...

  Quickbeam 11:26 13 Sep 2008

I'm going to cut back a conifer hedge when the dew dries this after noon. I want to take it back about 4 feet as it's been gradually covering the bottom of the lawn causing a lot of lawn moss and toad stools to grow.

This of course will leave it quite bear and open on the garden side. Has anyone done this, and how long before it will grow green again?

  anskyber 11:42 13 Sep 2008

Some conifers will not ever grow green again if they are cut hard into the wood. Usually they require regular pruning but only to the geen parts.

  dms_05 11:46 13 Sep 2008

My experience is Leylandi conifers won't grow fresh foiliage from old wood. I cut some back by a smallish amount and they never regrew in that area.

  Quickbeam 12:55 13 Sep 2008

If they don't grow back green they're going. I've lost about 8' of lawn space over the years without noticing until now as they're touching a summer house I built about 10 years ago that had the missing 8' of lawn between the hedge and summer house.

I might plant a beech hedge instead. I'm not going anywhere now after 38 years... I should have done that then, I'd have a nice mature beech hedge by now:)

  wiz-king 15:26 13 Sep 2008

Well I could suggest your namesake but it is not a good hedging plant, far to vigorous. Try yew hedging, grows fast for the first few years then only a couple of inches a year after that.

  crosstrainer 15:38 13 Sep 2008

This could be the job for you then :))

click here

Dig out that chain saw, and go for it!

  Quickbeam 17:03 13 Sep 2008

There is signs of green grown on the inside, so it's got until the spring to show signs of recovery now that the light is inside the hedge.

Unfortunately it looks like three pairs of birds will be stating their nests from scratch next spring.

  crosstrainer 17:07 13 Sep 2008

What, no chain saw? No fun without one of those :))

The birds will nest elsewhere, so don't feel guilty about that!

  Diemmess 17:58 13 Sep 2008

Its been pretty fast growing, sounds like the sort of leyland planted all over 1960s estates and now being removed wholesale.

There are varieties which are plainly ornamental and grow very slowly, but the great big green plant which looked nice for a year or two after planting is a disppointment on almost every count.

As a hedge which is left untrimmed they will grow to 40'+ and spread sideways to a gloomy impenetrable barrier.

If they have already spread sideways to occlude an 8' gap then there is no way you can prune them back that much and expect them to survive.
Better to plan a total replacement and carry it out in the dead season after the end of October.

The replacement these days by most people around here, is beech or hornbeam.
Expect 2-3 years after planting before it even looks like a hedge.

wiz-king is right to mention yew. It grows fast to begin with, but IMO a bit dull, dark green and formal though great for topiary.

If you stick with scooping out the shed side of the hedge, the other side must now be well outside your boundary or is it just a divide to another part of your land?

  Forum Editor 18:00 13 Sep 2008

out of the side of any conifer isn't destined to have a happy ending, especially when it's done in one violent afternoon.

Cross your fingers and hope; miracles can happen.

  crosstrainer 18:09 13 Sep 2008

I'm not a great lover of these conifers. I have a large collection of the Dwarf "stand alone" trees, which I find attractive, but If it's a privacy issue, then I can understand.

As the FE has pointed out (and my chain saw link wasn't completely tongue in cheek) I fear they may not re-grow.

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