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Leylandii hedge - thoughts please

Forty years ago the previous owner of my garden laid it out into open fields and planted leylandii all around the perimeter to provide a windbreak - the winds that blows across the fields from the north can be can be very fearsome so this is necessary.
The maintained hedges are 12 -15 feet high and about 8-10 foot thick, with about 4 foot of bare branch either side of the trunk, then green tips for 8-10 inches. I find the look of them on the garden side overpowering and unattractive, and am considering cutting the branches back to the trunks on the the garden side.
I'd welcome opinions/experience on the following:
- would the trees withstand this and continue to grow on the field side to provide the windbreak
- if I improve the soil at the foot of the trunks sufficiently, will I be able to grow mixed climbers up the trunks on the garden side for year round colour
- would screwing vine eyes directly into the trunks to tie the climbers in damage them majorly -  putting up a trellis would be both costly and tricky, and I'm not sure the end result would look neat.
Any thoughts and advice would be gratefully received.

Posts

  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 4,874
    If you do this the trees would look extremely ugly on the garden side and wouldnt grow at all.  You would be faced with brown twigs.  Have no idea if they would survive.  I think it would look very strange if you grew climbers up this side.  If it was me I would either leave them alone and get them regularly trimmed or I would have them removed and plant something else.
    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 21,961
    If you do this the trees would look extremely ugly on the garden side and wouldnt grow at all.  You would be faced with brown twigs.  Have no idea if they would survive.  I think it would look very strange if you grew climbers up this side.  If it was me I would either leave them alone and get them regularly trimmed or I would have them removed and plant something else.
    Ditto,and I think " extremely ugly " is putting it mildly. I think it'd be hideous beyond measure. 
    Your garden, your view , your choice.
    Devon.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,568
    I have some here, they seem to only live about 40 years then past their best, I’ve just had to get tree fellers in as one of the split down the trunk, the two either side are well past their best as well, I only keep them because my dad grew them from seeds and planted them out, that was 32 years ago. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Posts: 1,555
    It's a pity they are useful as a windbreak.I had 11 taken down on one side of the garden,they were so tall and spread their branches over the rest of the very narrow garden. First of all neighbours were pleased to get their view back,but on a windy day last week,they were saying how it kept their fences secure in a wind!! You can't win! I will never regret removing them as I hated them!!🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 3,585
    If you still need them as a windbreak, they might not be so overwhelming if the height was reduced to 6-7ft? You would probably need a professional to do it, which wouldn't be cheap. It would then have to be regularly cut, perhaps twice a year. Or you go for broke, get them all removed, and then replant with other bushes that you do like and are windproof.
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