London (change)
20 messages
09/02/2014 at 18:45


Having just purchased a house from a gentleman who had much more of a green thumb than mine, I have inherited an incredibly large hedge in the garden. I have attached some pictures below. I would welcome any advice as to how to take care of it. It is so big that I don't know how to even go about starting to take care of it. It is extending into neighbors' house and also extending over the fence at the back of the house. It is about 30 feet wide and roughly 20 feet high. It must be 3-5 feet deep.

Is it something which requires professional maintenance? If so, any idea as to what is required and how much it will cost?

Many thanks in advance.



09/02/2014 at 20:01

I would get professionals in to take the height down to about 8 feet, and to shape the sides properly.  

You might then be able to maintain it yourself with the proper equipment - you'll need a safe ladder system and powered hedge trimmer and you'll also need to study some information about how to use them safely - or you could get professionals in to trim and tidy it once a year. 

Don't let anyone cut it back hard at the sides - if you cut into the older wood it is brown and will not grow new green leaves again - ever! and you will be left with a very ugly hedge.

I am sure that your new neighbours will be very happy with you if you reduce the height of that hedge - it looks like Cupressus Leylandii which can grow very tall indeed and cast deep shade over neighbouring gardens - the tallest documented at the moment is over 100 feet tall!  

09/02/2014 at 20:09
09/02/2014 at 20:10
Thank you very much. Very helpful.
09/02/2014 at 20:16

Am not sure if it will take a cut now and look ok. I suspect a replacement hedge is required.

09/02/2014 at 20:20
Really? How can I conclude on this? Does a professional need to come in and have a look at it?
09/02/2014 at 20:46

Evergreen hedges need regular cutting to keep them compact and green. Yours has been left to grow wild and cutting back will mean cutting into wood that will not regrow as Dove has said above. It is worth trying to save it but I have yet to see a hedge reduced to a reasonable size and look good.

09/02/2014 at 21:27

Leylandii that size will be almost impossible to contain. Any depth of cutting will reveal bare wood which won't regrow any greenery. Topping the hedge is possible, but if were me I'd have the whole lot dug up and removed.

They can be nice hedges when maintained, but this is a monster.

I'd start again.

09/02/2014 at 21:31
Thank you very much again. Excellent advice.
10/02/2014 at 11:07

It will also be sucking up all the water as they are very thirsty plants

10/02/2014 at 11:18

I would get rid of it, though it will not be cheap. Shop around for prices.

10/02/2014 at 11:20

I'd start again, and put something more controllable in like a beech hedge, or variegated hollies. They can be kept to the height you want without much difficulty.

10/02/2014 at 16:31

I've just had some quotes for removing mine. 

£1200 for completely removing a short length of Lawson's Cypress hedge (5 or 6 trees).

£1000 to reduce a very long and tall hedge (about 25 trees).

These were the cheapest quotes.

Still thinking about it!

19/02/2014 at 21:23

I got something similar (£800 to £1,200). It is simply too expensive for me. There is no way I can pay such a price.

Is there any way to get rid of it more cheaply? Perhaps, I can kill off the roots slowly using some weed killer and then remove it. Another option would be to rent a chain saw and cut it off myself (£150). Not sure how difficult it will be.

Any advice would be highly appreciated.


19/02/2014 at 21:25

Once it is cut down the roots will die - they won't re-shoot so no need to poison them.

 It's how to get the trees cut down safely that's the problem - they're very big.  Maybe someone on here can advise you ........... 

20/02/2014 at 11:36

I wouldn't recommend hiring a chainsaw - you might end up losing more than the hedge!

28/02/2014 at 13:27

If you try to cut them back they will look pretty bad. Once you get back to the dead brown parts past the outer branches it will not regrow and will stay that way.

I had to remove just such a hedge when we moved into our house. Ended up with a pile of leylandi branches almost as big as the house!

Just get some lopers and a saw and cut everythig down. Then once the branches and trunks are out of the way you can leave the stumps to rot away or dig them out. I dug them out, dug round each stump then just used an axe and the lopers to hack through the main roots and get the stump out.
Some of the roots can got a long way so don't worry about getting them all out, just concentrate on the main stump.

If there's anything left in the ground it will rot away.

A chainsaw is not a good idea unless you've got experience with one, they a very dangerous tools.

It's not too difficult to get them out yourself, might just take some hard work over a few days. Get some friends to help you out!

Then replace the old hedge with a nice native one like hawthorn, something with berries for the birds.

01/03/2014 at 20:53

Kashif, I'm sorry to say the price you have been quoted is reasonable, for what looks to be a 20ft hedge and 40ft long. It's a major job for any tree surgeon. 

I'd start saving if I were you.

01/03/2014 at 23:49
Thank you very much for your help. I have started cutting down the branches and a neighbour has kindly offered to help out with a chain saw. So, let's see how it goes.
02/03/2014 at 07:11

Good luck - do be careful with the chain saw!!!  I know of people who've had very nasty injuries because they didn't follow the safety advice - there's some guidance here 


Let us know how you get on with the garden 

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