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I have several large rhododendrons on my boundary. They are around 4 metres deep so not only Am I losing a lot of ground but they also are such an untidy plant! I would prefer to remove the lot and plant a more formal Yew hedge. I have read that Yews might not like to be planting in a Rhoddendrum patch? Am I also being a bit silly losing 20 odd metres of mature plants to start again with a more 'neutral' plant?

No, but I would look carefully at a) the Ph of the soil you hope to replant after removal of the rhodies, and see what will grow happily there,  and b) consider resting it and giving it a good feed and water, as such large plants must have reduced the fertility of the soil in that area. Adding some organic well rotted manure will help recondition the soil, and give better drainage.  

There are many attractive and wild life friendly plants that would suit such a situation, but much depends upon what you really want.  Some things stay quite small, but if you want to replace the old plants with ones that will become the same size as those you are removing, you'll need to look well at that too. 

Why do you want yews particularly?  They are lovely as a mature hedge it is true, and can be shaped well, but they do take their time getting to a biggish size.  May be you would consider a mixed boundary with British native plants, imagine sloes, blackthorn, dog roses, willow, hazel etc., all looking lovely with flowers at differing times, and full of wildlife?  Just a thought …………..


I would rejuvenate the Laurel hedge, cut it back and then keep it to a tidy shape. they take a prune and provide privacy and windbreaks.

Thanks. I am looking at redesigning my entire garden as although it is resonable all the the plants were pretty much just left alone and as such they are all a bit wild.

I am looking at setting a more formal design, as such my choice of a yew. I am looking at using it as a backdrop to a parterre. The Rhodies will not sit right in a formal setting.

As Bookertoo has said Yew takes time to grow large and after removing the Laurel you need to amend the soil to improve and feed it. Lots of top soil, manure and compost.

Het Loo and Versailles use Hornbeam to offset and protect their Buxus parterre.




 This is the area i'm looking at. The shrubs have been planted randomly and so i would like to rip it all out and start again. There is a cherry tree in there on a 45' angle and another tree that is reaching like mad for the light!

Might also lose the conifer and the bed is where I plan to build my Parterre.




Several, mostly connected with jealousy that you have such a lovely area to start again!! 

A few people mentioned laurels, but I thought you said rhododendrons formed the hedge - either way, if it is formality you want then yew seems a good choice, though it is slow. Holly can and does make a beautiful formal border with its shine in the winter,  it takes a very hard clip and looks good all year round, but is also not of the fastest.  Still, you never said you wanted speed. 

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