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I have 4 conifers (i think) in my garden which seem to be part dead. I'm not sure if thrre is anything that can be done to save them or whether i need to get rid of them and if so whats the best way?



Conifers don't recover from what you have there. I'd get rid of them. Saw them off as close to the base as possible. They don't regrow from a stump either


I would dig them out.  How tall are they? I have removed many conifers and would remove these.  Dig deeply all around taking out trench where you can.  I would first sever the top leaving the rest as a lever.  In my experience levering and digging is easier than ??ou might think.

Enrich the soil as much as pssible and carefully consider what you could replant there

Me too, though that's mainly cos there are very few conifers I like in a garden setting as much as the fact that they don't recover


Taxus do recover from the hardest pruning.  They are vastly under rated


Ummm ..errrr.. ..No Verdun 

Like grass is now, conifers were a fad in the 70/80s that we're still suffering from today. Conifers are great in their natural settings, as long as they're not deliberately  grown as mono-cultures. I love Scots Pine in the wild, but unless I lived in a really big garden - say Kew - I wouldn't have a conifer.Personal preference of course 

Then there's the legacy. People see this cute little conifer in the garden centre, plant it and 20 yrs later have a ruddy great monster blocking out all their neighbours light. 


It's when people plant them by the front door QR and twenty years later they're wondering why they're sitting in their front room with the lights on all day! Why they don't just take them out and put something else in I'll never understand. They do suck the life out of the surrounding ground  as well which creates a problem. In our wet climate up here it's less of a problem though.

They're fine in the right place but when they're bought at a foot high and the label says '1m x1m after five years' the buyer stops reading - and they think it magically stops growing! 

Taxus is a different beast entirely from conifer anyway. Can't really beat it for hedging -especially in a big plot- and of course it's ideal for shaping into something exciting. Verd - have you got any nice topiarised yew?


"conifers" need to be chosen wisely.  Those I have change in foliage colour quite dramatically throughout the year.  And let's not confuse them with Leylandii and hype surrounding these monsters.  I have 7 scattered throughout my garden....each evoking praise at some time during the year.....and love them.  Not to grow any of them is like denying yourself clotted cream with your strawberries!  ( like that!)

Fairygirl, I have a dark green Taxus simply shaped as an exclamation mark that I plan to turn into......ME, viz., a simple Cornish yokel, wearing a hat, a straw sticking out of his mouth and holding a garden fork!  And a garden cat never get to continue its pruning.



Not a conifer lover, but the needle drop does acidify the soil around it, limiting what can grow under  neath. I'd remove it , thoroughly enrich the soil, & replace with a flowering (if poss) deciduous bush/tree. Or even something like a honeysuckle or've got a nice strong fence there to put up vine eyes & wires for training!

I have just had a large old juniper bush/ tree removed. It was looking really sick and one damp day I discovered what appeared to be quantities of orange jelly clinging to its branches. Horrifying!   I identified Cedar apple rust, an alarming fungus  that affects cedars/ junipers and apples/ hawthorns. It relies on both sets of species for its life cycle. . ( probably explained why the hawthorns and newly planted apple trees nearby were not thriving. The aforementioned fashion for conifers probably introduced hundreds of  hosts for this damaging disease. Apparently juniper-type conifers should not be planted anywhere near apple orchards. who knew?

I would probably remove the conifers to be honest, as has been suggested in other posts. I have two the same (Chamaecyparis I think) and the bottoms were rough, so i just cut them back to the trunk, the tops were fine.

I do think conifers get a bad deal, probably due to Leylandii etc. I have loads of specimen conifers in my garden in pots, such as Japanese Larch, Korean Fir, White Pine, Hinoki Cypress and Mugo pine. I do a bit of bonsai so things like chinese juniper and pine make great material, so I have them at different stages of development.

I do think conifers still have a place in our gardens and provide good backdrops for other plants.

Hi, if I can join the throng .. I'd dig out too. Only because if you get rid of most of the root you can plant something else instead. Why not dig out a wider border, put loads of organic matter.Vitalearth do a good peatfree organic soil improver and or compost to improve the soil and plant something that would look really good and be wildlife friendly too.


Osakazuki, bonsai is something I would,like to learn more about.  Maybe you could start a thread on them?  

Agree with sunnydayz....I really don't think it's such a great deal in removing them.  Pushing, pulling,pushing, rocking them...after digging out, great exercise. You can curse and swear and that gives you extra strength.  then cut them up and throw them Imto next door's garden.....or burn or take them to,dump.  Then a clear, clean site to design and plant up


Conifers do get a bad press but they're no different to any other shrub/tree/plant. You look at their requirements, their rate of  growth and the eventual height.Then you look at your plot and see if they fit. If they don't- don't plant them. Or only plant them if you intend maintaining them correctly.

The 'pencil' junipers for instance can make a great statement used in a line in big pots (or directly in the ground) - as  edging to an avenue creating a vista or as a see through 'screen' into another part of the garden. They mimic the beautiful Italian cypresses but are ideal for our climate.

As Verdun says- lleylandii has a lot to answer for!

Or Freecycle them for someone who has a log burner!



Ah yes the lovely Leylandii. When I moved into this house my neighbour grew them as a hedge and kept them well clipped. Then she left, that was 10yrs ago and they haven't been cut since . Only cuts out sun from the west in my back garden, but the house opposite gets no sun on their south facing garden. There again the house next door but one has a variety of conifers. Postage stamp of a garden but LOTS of conifers! OK rant over

Woodgreen wonderboy

Conifers have their place in many gardens, just like any other plant altho' they do need to be placed carefully as most of them are forest trees.

The specimens in the picture at the start of the thread are another story... they are gonners and from the state of the garden in front of them are more than overdue for Verd's treatment. The loss of these will open up so many opportunities to improve this garden. Go for it, you won't be sorry.


Our commiserations katherine joyce ... we need a bit more information if we're going to try to help.

Tell us more about the tree, what sort it is, where it is, what its symptoms are and a photo would be really helpful 

If I could go off on a separate conifer tangent please that would be great....

we have just had a HUGE conifer cut down and are going to try to dig out the root, failing that get someone round to grind it out. Does anyone know how long the ground has be left before you can replant in that area?