Leylandii is the fastest growing conifer in Britain and is largely very tolerant and easy to grow. This has made it very popular as a quick solution to obtaining a boundary hedge for many properties, especially those new houses built in the 1970s and 1980s. But as the years pass, have those trees become a problem? Those very qualities which made leylandii attractive – quick and easy to grow – can now work against them in maturity.
On the positive side, a Leylandii hedge is easy to keep in check if maintenance has been done regularly throughout its life. When hedges are newly planted it is best to have a twice-per-year regime aimed at formative pruning. Thereafter, a once-per-year clipping will keep leylandii at a chosen height and width without problem. If this is a task the hedge owner would prefer to outsource, most professional tree care providers will undertake the trim (and disposal of clippings) for a modest fee. A tree care professional can advise on the best time to do the trim for the overall health of the trees and also to accommodate your preference in it appearance. A trim in spring will mean that for most of the year new growth will be visible. A trim in autumn will mean that for most of the year the hedge will looked ‘clipped’. But a word of warning, it is always best too avoid trimming in times of drought.
If leylandii trees have gone unchecked over the years, then they may well have grown to great height and width. Leylandii can grow up to 3 feet per year. When remedial work needs to be done on unchecked leylandii, advice from a tree surgeon would be recommended. Generally, there is no difficulty in reducing the height of leylandii as far as the health of the tree is concerned. There are practical difficulties and dangers in cutting large branches from mature trees, of course, especially when the work is to be done at height. This task definitely falls under the remit of a job best left to the professionals. Reducing the width of a leylandii can be a problem, however, if green regrowth is desired. Cut side branches of a leylandii do not rejuvenate well. Expert advice from an arborist is a must! He or she will be able to advise on what is possible in each situation and most tree surgery companies will offer free advice and a quotation for work needed.
Remember that hedges on your property are your responsibility as far as the law is concerned. If your hedge affects your neighbour or adjacent local council maintained areas like pavements and roads, is it especially important therefore that you maintain your leylandii regularly and appropriately.