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Hi folks!

I want to remove a nasty 10ft heigh leylandii hedge at the bottom of my garden and was wondering what is the best time of year to do it? I want to cause as little bother to the birds as possible. What's the earliest I could remove it, avoiding upsetting any nests?

I'm thinking of replacing it with some hawthorn, elder and a rowan tree (which had started to grow in my guttering and is now doing well in a pot) with a rambling/dog rose growing through the whole thing. Anything else I should be thinking of adding for the local wildlife?

All suggestions welcome.



Have a good look and see if there are any nests, its going to take a while to get them out anyway, may be the disturbance will be less if its done bit by bit?

I grew a wildlife hedge consisting of hawthorn, elder and hazel with wild rose and honeysuckle growing through it - fantastic for wildlife.

I think you could take the Leylandii out from August onwards, that way even very late nests will have fledged.  

When we took a similar hedge out we were unaware that it had provided hibernation cover for hedgehogs - we've since replaced the dry shade with more undergrowth and log piles as well as hedgehog houses.  

Just thought I'd mention it. 


March 1st to end of July is recommended by Natural England as a nesting time and suggest no hedge cutting during this time. lots of info on the net..

Farmers aren't allowed to cut hedges till the end of July, by law as disturbing nesting birds of any sort is a criminal offence. End of July is the best time as few if any nests will be occupied by then.


Steve the Gardening Vet

Very little actually nests in leylandii, the chap who removed ours said that apart from the odd pigeon, he never finds anything in them!

Thanks guys. I'll wait until august then. Better to be safe than sorry. I've got quite a pile of logs in my wildlife garden from a previous attempt at clearing an old laurel last year so hopefully the hedgehogs won't be too annoyed. I also have a hogitat hedgehog house nearby. I might put in a hazel as well, sounds a good idea and free nuts too!
Free squirrels? Even better!

the best way to remove leylandii I've found is in autumn after some heavy rain wrap a very sturdy chain around the bottom of the plant (about a foot off the ground)

Then attach the other end to a very powerful machine (a JCB is great although other tractors may work) and then slowly back away from the hedge.

works well as long as there aren't any fences/power cables/buildings in the way!

Steve 309

Could cut it off a few feet up first.

Are your squirrels likely to be proper native red squirrels or horrible invasive alien North American tree rats?


I'm afraid I'm going to have to hand dig them as my garden has no access for machinery, more's the pity. I'll just have to take my time and cut them into sections.

Re squirrels, alas they'd just be the grey ones as the only red squirrels round here are isolated on Brownsea Island.

Quite a few birds nest in leyllandi, including blackbirds and the goldcrest. 

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