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Densely populated trees, not sure where to start

There's about 4 or 5 different trees in this mess, they're all far too close together and so densely populated I'm not even sure where to start. How do I go about separating them without causing serious damage to any of them? Is this possible? Or is this the sort of territory where I'm going to need a professional?


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,577
    I can see holly, pyrancantha , lonicera and a cherry. There might be more lurking in there. 
    You need to decide which you'd like to keep.
    Does the cherry give privacy? The birds will love the holly and pyracantha, the insects will love the honeysuckle. 
    Tricky one. Your garden , your choice
  • itsueyitsuey Posts: 42
    None of it's really giving much by the way of privacy and the fences are tall enough it's not really a concern of mine. 

    The birds are my main concern; I have quite a few small tits, chaffinches, and a robin which has taken to following me around the garden. Ideally I want to keep all the trees but separate them out, I think possibly leave the two big ones there, train the honeysuckle up the fence and then scoot whatever's left to other parts of the garden. I'm just not sure how to go about it.
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,718
    I don't think it would be possible to dig them out, even if they were on their own they will have huge roots by that size, but as it is they will all be tangled round eachother, no way to separate the roots without destroying them.
    Possibly keep the holly and remove the others, there seems to be a sycamore or possibly an ash on the left hand side, I can't quite see it well enough, but whichever it and the cherry will grow huge, and I mean huge so probably not good choices for that position.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,390
    Are you thinking there are currently lots of nests in there?

    I would imagine the best way to begin to work out what's there and what you want to keep is to start with a good prune and clear up. Then you will be able to the structure of what's going on. Are all the trees all fully on your property? I see a fence panel in there...
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,311
    I don't think I'd interfere. But Pyracantha, holly and lonicera would all grow back if cut hard. not now though, might be someone living in there

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • itsueyitsuey Posts: 42
    They're on my property yes, I don't think they've quite eaten the fence panel. 

    I'm positive there are nests in there, so absolutely nothing would be done until winter anyway, but I might take out the holly as there's another very healthy one on the other side of the property and try and shape what's left so there's a few different levels. I can only imagine that was what the original planter was trying to do. 

    I've no idea what the tree on the left is, it's the last thing to get any leaves, when I moved in I though it might be a walnut as there's a walnut shell under it but I think I'll have to wait until it has more than a dozen leaves to identify it.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,156
    I don't think the 'original planter' intended any of that to happen ... maybe one of the trees was planted by someone ... the rest are most likely to have grown from seeds in bird droppings or windblown seeds. 

    I would keep the holly, as being most useful to wildlife ... but if you prefer then keep the cherry as it's the most established ... cut the rest out at the base and treat the bases with stump killer and then plant more trees at different locations, if you want more trees. 


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • itsueyitsuey Posts: 42
    I did wonder if maybe they'd planted them all there to encourage them to grow and intended to move them later but moved out before they could.

    Good job I'm buying a saw then, I don't suppose my tiny secateurs would go through a tree any more than they would go through a three-inch bramble bush. 
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