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Sparrow infestation in leylandii hedge

We have a serious problem of sparrow infestation on the cypress leylandii hedge. We have about 40 trees formed as a tall hedge and in the late afternoon hundreds of sparrows come in the trees to sleep for the evening. It is gaining on for several months now and the numbers seem to grow. We noticed the inside brunches of the leylandii trees are starting to turn brown and die, I suppose from the birds' excrements which are too strong. Maybe this contributes to some fungi infestation as well. On the outside the trees look very good still, but it may not last long. We tried artificial owl and hawk scarecrows, as well as putting shimmering tapes, but as the sparrows are inside the trees those didn't help much. We have several dogs that go and bark on the trees but the sparrows do not notice either. I would appreciate any suggestions, my husband put a lot of effort in this hedge.



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 81,422

    These trees are always brown on the inside... Your hedge is perfectly healthy. It will not be damaged by bird excrement. In fact the birds are to be welcomed and encouraged as they will help deal with any attacks by the aphids that attack cypress hedges. 

    Sparrows are an important part of our ecosystem and over recent years their numbers have been in decline and research is taking place to discover why. It is thought to be because of a lack of nesting sites and because nowadays farmers plough their fields straight after harvest rather than leaving the stubble fields for a while and the birds could then feed off the fallen grain in the fields. 

    I hope that you can learn to appreciate their cheery chatter and realise that you are very lucky to play hosts to such a thriving community which has chosen your hedge for its winter roost. They will move on in the spring. 

    They do a lot of good. 


    Last edited: 23 October 2017 07:42:15

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,290

    I agree with Dove. You are lucky to have them. Any control of House Sparrows is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,789

    goodness, how sad, no wonder our wildlife is declining with attitudes like that. 

    It's the leylandii that are the mis-fits

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,953

    We get them in quantity nesting in the eaves of the house. They are noisy and cover the walls with droppings. and they are VERY VERY welcome to live with us.

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    When the next door neighbours had a Leylanndi hedge (a total abomination) birds nested in it, a safe warm and dry place for them to roost. The hedge went (thank goodness) and so did the birds so I put in a few free standing Golden Privet bushes and they came back. The inside of those trees is always brown, the leaves grow where the light is and I would advise you to lightly trim it, cut into old wood and it will never green up again.


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,184

    I'd rather the sparrows, and the leylandii for that matter , than barking dogs.

    I'm incredulous that you find sparrows such a problem.image

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,396

    It's not an infestation.  I used to call ours a conference as they'd fly into the middle by day when the hawks were about and have long chats and then the ones which weren't nesting in our eaves would roost there at night.  Great security form weather and predators as the interior of a leylandii is naturally dry, hence the brown.   The sparrows eat aphids from all over the garden too, not just in the conifers.

    This is nature at its best, living in harmony and symbiosis.  Leave the sparrows alone and keep your hedge trimmed only in the green and in August, once the breeding season is over.  As PG says, once you cut back into brown wood these plants cannot regenerate.

    Last edited: 23 October 2017 10:21:14

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Send your Sparrows my way, i'll have them!

    They can sit in my hedge all day.

  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489


    A joy....YES!

    SW Scotland
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,964


    Monitoring suggests a severe decline in the UK house sparrow population, recently estimated as dropping by 71 per cent between 1977 and 2008 with substantial declines in both rural and urban populations.



    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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