Sometimes there really are very few options when a tree has simply outgrown it’s space, but to fell it and start again.

This is sometimes the case when we’re talking about Cupressus varieties that can grow very large indeed, and often relatively quickly.  We have all heard the stories about the downsides of an unmanaged Leylandii hedge and it was this species in particular which was evoked in the development of laws to deal with high hedges in the 1980s.

Unmanaged is the real issue here: Like all species, Leylandii can be enormoulsy useful in the right space.  But because they are such strong growers, Leylandii need to be regularly trimmed and/or pruned to avoid becoming an overpowering green wall which blocks light and causes claustrophia on the neighbours.

Cyclical pruning of many cupressus varieties is a good idea, not least because they do not grow back if cut beyond the foliage.  In practice this means that if they are trimmed too hard, brown patches will appear**.  There is no remedy for this except to fell the dead sections and replant, but this can obviously be a long job and the look of the hedge suffers in the short term while the new plants catch up with the rest.

In this garden, the trees had been left unpruned for many years.  The householder wanted light and a sense of spaciousness in the garden that the trees prevented, so the only way was down.  It was a testatment to the skills of the team that they felled cleanly and safely in such a tight space. 

** There are a number of potential reasons for brown patches in Cupressus varieties beyond simple over-pruning, including insect infestation, fungal infection and toxicity such as salt poisoning.  

For advice and a free quote for work to your trees and hedges, or suggestions for the right species for your garden space, call Andrew on 01256 817369, 07771 883061 or email him  For more stories and information about our day-to-day work visit us on Twitter @PrimaryTreeSurg