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I have a leylandii hedge along the north boundary of my garden.  I dislike leylandii as I find it boring (and I'm allergic to it!).  There are too many to dig out, and due to the terraced nature of my garden, I can't grind or pull the stumps out.  The hedge is about 5 metres long with about 18 leylandii (planted about 30 cm apart).  The hedge is currently about 1.5m high.


As it's a northern boundary, I want to have something to protect from wind etc, and a panel fence wouldn't suit the rest of the garden.  I was condidering trimming all the branches and some of the top of each leylandii to leave bare stumps of about 1m ish tall.

I then wanted to plant or transplant other plants inbetween the stumps.  I have 2 buddleia and 2 ceanothus that need relocating.  My questions are:

  1. is this a really stupid plan?
  2. will the leylandii just grow back?
  3. will anything grow inbetween?
  4. will the ceanothus /buddleia transplant?
  5. what else couldI plant inbetween?
  6. have you any other suggestions?

Thank you!



The leylandii will not grow back-once you have decimated them-but the roots will still there and you are unlikely to get anything into the near-soil-and the soil will be rubbish now anyway.

So you really can't plant any thing in between-unless you go down the container route and place those inbetween- you are then responsible for feeding watering etc

You best bet-but it will cost-is to have the trees removed and the stumps ground out by a professional company-then you can enrich the soil and you might be in with a chance

Others may have ideas for you

Gary Hobson

This is the stump of a fir tree, about 5 feet high, and about 1 foot in diameter. I planted some ivy, in the very impoverished soil, just at the base of the stump....

Ivy takes a while to establish itself. That's 3 or 4 years old. But it will cover just about anything.

Buddlea is not very demanding. It will grow in very poor situations where there is virtually no soil.

Thank you for all the advice so far. 

I don't think that I can get the stumps ground out - the machinery will need to be manually lifted up 6 steep garden steps  to the level of the trees.....

...can the stumps be killed off...without killing anything else?



Pennine Petal
I took some down in my garden and left the stumps in, was a bit worried about honey fungus, but they've been fine. Enriched the soil and carried on planting. It's been a couple of years now, perhaps it's time I had a look at them!

How old are these leylandiis and what is the diameter of the trunks at ground level?

Sorry, was away!  I'm not sure how old they are - I only moved to the property 10 months ago.  The trunks vary between 4-7cm ish in diameter.


If they're that small then you can wiggle them out as and when you have time.  Remove all the branches to prevent them gorwing any more.  This will weaken the roots over the next few months.  Then just take a trunk and wiggle it out.  

We did this when we moved into our garden in Harrow in '82.  I thad a "hedge" of 30' high leylandii planted 3 feet or so apart.  Being innocents, we started by raising their crowns by cutting off all the lower branches to head height, thus uncovering a paved path down one side of the grass and a bare conifer border.  Suddenly our garden was 2 metres wider.   Then we got on step ladders and took out the tops, then took off some more till we were left with bare stumps which gradually got wiggled out as we worked our way down the 80' garden boundary over the next year.   Our neighbours were chuffed to bits as they suddenly had no more rain shadow and got afternoon and evening sun for them and their plants.

I've left stumps after professionally having them chopped down last year. One is two feet diameter (having been 40 ft high. I have planted lots of perennials and llsome black bamboo between them and you can't see the stumps at all.

How well have the plants taken in the soil.  I've read that leylandii strip the soil of nutients....


..just have to think what to plant to obscure my view of the neighbours... (and theirs of me!)


You should add goodies such as garden or bought compost and well rotted manure to the soil to improve it before planting.  For an instant screen, erect some trellis panels and grow climbers, or not, at your leisure, or you can put up 6' high fence panels and stretch wires alon,g those on vine eyes screwed to teh fence posts.  For a less instant result stretch wires between 6' high fence posts and train climbers along those.

Hi kittyC. Are you reasonably fit? I agree with obelixx that the stumps could be pulled out relatively easily if they are that small. Try one or two! You may be surprised. There isn't much space between them in which to plant, is there? Clematis Montana could grow and spread and climb if you enriched the soil but if you dig around you may find stumps quite loose anyway. What about trying to dig every other stump and then planting in between?
Oh! Ceonothus won't transplant if they have been in place for a couple of years or more. Buddlia would grow if you cleared a space but it likes sunshine ...sounds like its dark and shady there

Thank you all for you help - you've been fantastic!  I think I may try to take one or two out to see what happens - I'll pick a little one!

It's not too dark where the hedge is - gets a fair bit of sun (I's been hard to work out so far this year!) so a buddleia may end up there somewhere.


Shrinking Violet

We had a 30 ft high leylandii hedge at the north facing front garden when we moved here.  Because the treas had been planted close to a boundary wall, we were advised not to try to take the stumps out, because it could cause damage to the wall.

We had them cut down as close to the ground as possible.  We then put in a border edging (about 2 - 3ft away from the wall) and created a "raised" border, in-filling with topsoil, and covering the stumps.  Shallow-rooting plants close to the stumps had no problem and other shrubs (wigelia, spirea, hebe and rosa rugosa for example) have found their own space, and settled in very nicely.  Interspersed with some easy annuals and freely self-seeding plants (such as poppies and aquilegias) we now have an  easily maintained area that has allowed light and air into the front garden.

it will take time for the stumps to rot down - but they are not prone to honey fungus, unlike some trees. 

Oh, that's a great idea!



If the trees are as small as you say, all you need is a willing person with a bit of muscle and they could dig them all out in a morning and leave you with clear ground. Then you need a midi-skip for the day, and if there's any space left in it you can throw in any other stuff you don't need.


Hi I have just moved in to a house with very large over grown leylandii. I have started cutting them back and topping them. Where they have been left for years there is a lot of dead branches underneath the green. After reading the comments here I'm in 2 minds to trim back to the trunk, if I do this will the tree be effectively dead and stop taking the goodness from the soil around it?



It wont regrow if that is what you are asking-but the soil around it will be rubbish now with a tree that size-I would be inclined to take the tree down to the ground and even if you can't get the root our use the area for something else