London (change)
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19/11/2013 at 10:42

A large tree collapsed in the summer leaving a gap at the back of the garden. I think the remaining part of the tree will need cutting down, at least the right side trunk. 

Any ideas what can go in its place to screen from the houses beyond ?

And how long before it reached above the fence which is about 5 1/2 ft including bottom panels.

Or any ideas if I could build a raised planter along the top of the fence ( would need to be fairly cheap and easy).

Reasonable soil, south facing.

Thank you.


19/11/2013 at 10:55

Does the tree trunk really have to come down - could it be stabilised? I ask this because I think the quickest way to effectively recreate a screen will be to plant either a vigorous rambling rose such as Rambling Rector, or a clematis montana, so that they scramble up and fill the gap as in these pics

 Rambling Rector in an old tree

 Clematis montana rubra in a dead tree.

19/11/2013 at 11:08

Hi dove, that was my original and preferred idea but I'm not sure the right side will remain stable long term, the bark is still falling off, it seems diseased and there's a lot of water trapping in the fork of the trunks.I particularly like your pics where there is still space at the bottom. If the tree fell further or we decided to cut it at a later date, would that fit in with pruning the climbers once established?

19/11/2013 at 11:25

I would suggest removing as much of the trunk aspossible, especially if it is diseased orrotten.

I would then consider somethink like a liquidambar which will grow tall but not have too wide a spread at the base and will give fabulous foliage colours in spring and autumns and good leaf form in between.   As it matures, you can raise the canopy by removing lower branches if you want to plant beneath it.

Rambling Rector is good but can only ramble high if he has supports.  Otherwise he will swamp neighbouring plants as he's very vigorous.

19/11/2013 at 12:03

Thanks obelisk, that looks a nice tree. Crocus have them at £39.99 for about 5ft, just unsure it will put on the extra height quickly enough, may look around and/or consider other options. 

19/11/2013 at 12:23

No need to prune Rambling Rector other than to hack it back when it outgrows its allotted space.  The perfume is fantastic!!!

You could put in a timber support to prop the dodgy side of the tree - it would soon blend in once the planting got going.

19/11/2013 at 12:28

beware Mrs G.  Any tree that puts on rapid growth is likley to turn out to be a monster so go for beauty and a bit of patience instead.   Your local GC or nusery might have a liquidambar at a competitive price.   They soon grow if given the right conditions at planting time -


19/11/2013 at 14:09

I have a Rambling Rector (glad I'm not on my predictive text computer there) and I can confirm that it will grow 3 M a year from a six inch bare rooter. I bought mine to cover a large scar in an old conifer when the one next to it was cut down. It flowered in the first year and each year since with nice hips and a very nice scent. I've also grown a clematis through it for extra interest and if that wasn't enough a second rose which has hardly grown at all.

19/11/2013 at 14:58

I'll have to get someone to quote (will ask neighbours who they have used), for removing the tree, which I think long term will be needed, but I am tempted to go for the RR (avoiding predictive!) in the meantime. I think I have enough space, but it looks to grow huge - would I be able to keep it less bushy towards the bottom? If the tree is diseased is it likely to affect the RR or other plants? At the moment the neighbours over that part of the fence wouldn't even notice it, but future neighbours may get upset if it encroaches on their side too much - how prickly is it for pruning with regard to reaching over the fence to keep their side in check? Just so you know, it would be my first ever rose I have bought! ( got a small multi-coloured one that I inherited with the house but that's all).

When it comes to removing it (hopefully before nature takes it's course), then I'll think about replacing the tree, maybe with the liquidambar as suggested, I should have enough space to dig a big enough a hole to the right. Looking at the garden as a whole a replacement tree would be the right framework/backdrop to fit in.

19/11/2013 at 15:02

oooo just seen this....Liquidambar styraciflua 'Slender Silhouette'....

19/11/2013 at 15:13

Rambling Rector is rampant and thorny but not as thorny as Kiftsgate.  I think you should do a bit of research on rose selling sites such as David Austin, Peter beales and Harkness.  You can also ask for advice from them.  I have done this with David Austin in the past.

I'd still go for the liquidambar but would get the old stump removed first.   Save an RR for another situation where he can have free rein over a pergola or trellis or even a wall.  

Friends of mine had one trained to cover a 2 storey house wall and it also grew over a pergola which was 10' high, 12 feet wide and 2 car lengths deep over the entry to their garden.   Like I said, it gets huge and needs a lot of training and support if you don't have a handy conifer or large tree to hold it up.

19/11/2013 at 16:10

Primrose have the liquidambar in 5litre pots, 1.5 - 1.8m tall, £29.99, does that sound reasonable?

19/11/2013 at 16:19

Seems a good price Mrs G have seen at nearly £ 40 for the same size.

19/11/2013 at 16:46

I once planted a Rambling Rector on the boundary of an inner city terrace garden which had a back alleyway frequented by ne'er do wells.

It quickly provided us with the security we needed - we moved some 5 years later - must go back sometime and see how far it's spread - no one else in the neighbourhood ever went into their gardens so it could have rambled a very long way by now 

19/11/2013 at 17:14
MrsGarden wrote (see)

Primrose have the liquidambar in 5litre pots, 1.5 - 1.8m tall, £29.99, does that sound reasonable?

Reasonable, esp if it includes postage?


19/11/2013 at 17:26

free delivery, but also just seen different variety for 32.99 with 4.95 delivery. same company.This one in a 9Litre pot, this one called smoke gum the smaller one called sweet gum. 

19/11/2013 at 17:30


MrsGarden wrote (see)

Primrose have the liquidambar in 5litre pots, 1.5 - 1.8m tall, £29.99, does that sound reasonable?


I would be cautious with Primrose. I have just had a week long battle with them over 9cm potted plants put into 3lt pots weeks before sending out. I have got a refund (I say that, it hasn't appeared in my account yet) but it was a lot of hassle and I have 9cm potted plants not the 3 ltr ones I was after.

Primrose are too big which means you're too small.

 I ordered the same species, different variety from someone else also in 3 ltr pot, those plants were 5 times bigger and the same price. Sorry, you asked who else? Larch Cottage The plants I got from them were great!

19/11/2013 at 17:45

Thanks Jim, I'd seen the thread about that and was going to look back for it. Will look for other suppliers too. I'll not be ready for a while either as need to get the old tree removed first, so another decision would be if to buy now and plant when ready or even next autumn if takes too long this year, or to just buy when the ground is ready, can trees stay in the pot as delivered for a year? I guess I should wait.

19/11/2013 at 18:42

I'm impatient , but If you buy now and repot the plants as long as you look after them until you're ready they'll be bigger plants for your money when you are ready. I grow as much as I can from cuttings or seed, you'll be amazed how much a young tree will grow in a year. As soon as they've put down some roots they can put on six feet in a year depending on the species. Bare root is the cheapest way to go. It all depends what you want. The standard advice is to buy small and grow it on in situ but to be honest that hasn't panned out for me yet. As an experiment I bought three Birch. 1 BR, 1 root ball, and one pot grown, smallest to tallest in that order. The pot grown is still bigger than the other two. They've all put on six feet of growth or so at least but all in proportion. Of course other varieties won't work the same. Beech are not good trees to buy too big. I bought the silver birch to do a similar job as you. You can get a standard 8/10 for about £30 depending on the species and supplier and you'll get an instant screening effect. I wouldn't go Ashridge Trees though. My Silver Birch from them were terrible. While the ones from Ornamental Tree Nurseries were fantastic, though more expensive. But I'd buy from them again. I'll get some photos for you. 

19/11/2013 at 18:57
Oh jim, you've got me chuckling now as I always wanted a silver birch tree. In fact only this year I went for a golden ash but its not put on that much growth since spring. I've emailed a few companies for actual height they supply. But may just plan a trip to local GC and go for whatever they have in stock at the right time as I seem to love everything! Hmmm as for 'looking after' for a year and 'repotting' sounds a bit scary but im not discounting it either.
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