When does a good screening plant become an unwelcome screening plant?
For one of our recent customers it was when they had grown so tall that they blocked all the sunlight to her greenhouse, caused surrounding plants and shrubs to suffer, and became impossible to maintain without hiring professionals.
There are two qualities that make the Leyland cypress, aka leylandii, an excellent screening plant:
- Its notoriously fast growth rate which means you get a tall hedge very quickly and economically.
- Its thick dense foliage that provides plenty of privacy.
These are the same two qualities that can also lead to problems. Huge problems.
- Leylandii can grow up to 3ft (90cm) a year. This means that within a decade you could have 30ft (9m) of tree to contend with, the equivalent of a three story house!
- The same thick dense foliage that provides plenty of privacy is also practically impenetrable to sunlight.
Our customer had a troublesome line of 8 leylandii trees in her garden that had grown to 50-60ft (15-18m) tall!
She wanted the sunlight back in her garden, particularly on her greenhouse.
This wasn’t a simple felling job though as just below the trees were decorative water features, delicate garden ornaments, and many shrubs that had been carefully grown over years.
We had to avoid any damage to this!
We weren’t worried though. Using the most up-to-date techniques and rigging we were able to carefully bring down the tree line piece by piece.
After the brash wood and timber had been removed we ground out the stumps. Just a fertile mulch was the only sign of the 8 giants that used to be there before.
8 problems removed, 1 introduced…
The problem now was that the missing trees left a direct sight line into our customer’s garden. She had the sunlight back but had lost the privacy given to her by the leylandii.
Before starting the removal we had anticipated this and talked some options through with the customer.
Together we chose to plant up a new laurel hedge which would provide the required privacy but at a much more manageable height.
We planted a straight line of 7ft shrubs, each 2ft apart.
When planting semi-mature plants you need the root plate to form properly. This requires keeping the plants stable and a great way to do this for a hedge is to use a series of stakes and taught wire along the planting line. The stems of the laurel plants were then attached to the wire with a rubber clip to avoid bark damage.
Privacy into the customer’s garden was preserved thanks to the instant screen provided by the new hedge. The height and slower growth-rate means the hedge will be easily controllable in the future compared to the old leylandii trees.
All problems solved!
Our customer had gone from a huge light-blocking tree line, which required annual maintenance by professionals, to a new self-maintainable cost-free, hedge.
She now gets the light back into her greenhouse to grow the plants she loves, with the added benefit of saving money every year as she can maintain the new hedge herself.