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Sara 4
  Firstly, I don't know what type of fir it is, but this is it

 I am clearing the space to the right (facing the tree) which contains a lot of dead sticks which have been totally smothered by the overgrown honeysuckle, some of which is already on the lawn!

The back of the tree is lacking in growth (and green-ness) because there was a trellis fence thickly covered in ivy and it didn't get any light at all -


 Sorry, I uploaded the wrong back of tree photo first time, and you couldn't see much of it.

I would like to take some of the lower branches off the front of the tree so at least some light got to the beds underneath, but as they grow 'upwards' I fear that removal will leave a great denuded gap of brown needles to match the back!

Any advice would be greatly welcomed - as you can see I am in 'slash and burn' mode!

Thank you - Sara

It looks like a cupressus type of a thing. I've never known them to regrow when cut back to the main stem. I think you will be left with brown dead looking branches and a lot of dry earth in which little else will want to grow. Could you twirl the honeysuckle round and round to hide the worst of it? Do you really like the tree? Could you see yourself replacing it with something fresher?

Sara 4

I don't think I have the strength to dig it up and replace it and it actually looks fine from the front.  The back doesn't matter so much and now the fence is down I can plant something behind it anyway (there is further garden, used as a veg garden behind that bed, and there is 3 feet or so between the tree and the path).  Perhaps it would be wiser to leave the earth actually underneath it empty and extend the bed forwards in front of it.  Perhaps a decent rambling/climbing rose to break up the uniformity a bit?  The soil is pretty good.

yes, you could do that. I have a Rambling Rector (25 feet high) going over a similar conifer. I couldn't face digging mine up either!

Sara 4

Quick pause while I look up what Rambling Rector looks like, which is pretty much the sort of thing I was thinking of.  Does it repeat flower waterbutts?


no. just one gigantic whoosh then you are ankle deep in petals. 

Sara 4

I have an Albertine which is currently sitting in a big pot looking for a permanent home.  They're pretty vigorous I think (and I could plant it tomorrow, patience not being one of my virtues).

albertine is a beautiful rose. go for it!

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