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Hi folks
Hope you can advise.
I have an enormous leylandii tree which I cannot afford to remove. Underneath is a large area covered in needles where nothing grows. However, it gets some sun and I have had tomatoes in grow bags there before. I'd considered raised beds but was concerned about soil acidity. I'd have to bring in a lot of compost.
I'm wondering whether I should site my compost bins there instead.
Or can anyone suggest an attractive alternative?


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,972
    Hello @Sarah262, would it be possible to post a photo please (resized for small web) so we can see the area before advising further?
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,839
    How big is enormous?   When we bought our house in Harrow in 1983 it had a row of conifers down half the east boundary - been planted as a hedge then left to grow taller than the houses.   We took them down ourselves.  The neighbours on both sides for several houses each way were all very pleased as they gained sunrises or sunsets, depending on which side, and the ones immediately to the east had loads more daylight and rain too.   Happiness all round.

    We started by cutting off all the bottom branches to shoulder height so we could see what was what then cut thru the trunks at shoulder height to remove the tops and finally used the stumps to wiggle and lever the roots free over the following winter.  Perhaps a family member or friend or neighbour could do the same for your tree and tackle it in bits.

    Unless you hide them behind a screen, compost bins will not look very decorative.   Nothing much is going to grow there as the tree will have sucked up all the nutrients and moisture so the soil will need loads of manure and compost to enrich it.

    If you make raised beds you'll need to fill them with decent soil/manure/compost anyway and it may well prove damaging to the tree's health. 

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks obelixx  and Lizzie for your replies. I was quoted over a £1100 to chop down. The stump would have to stay and he reckoned 6-7 years before soil was fit to use!
    Fortunately I have a long garden and have ignored this space up to now. It has been the fox cubs practice digging area. I just assumed the needles would affect my compost?
    I will take and post a photo when possible.
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,064
    How wide is trunk on the conifer Sarah.
    We took some enormous trees down in the winter, about five or six of them. I planted the bed up in the April, no problem.
    I just piled on some compost and a sprinkle of bone meal, the border was lovely by summer. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,579
    Look up the website and see if it functions in your neighbourhood. If it does it’s a great place for soliciting recommendations for other tree surgeons. The price you were quoted seems high to me.
    Rutland, England
  • I think that price is at least double what I’d expect to pay. We had a huge double trunked ash felled, cut up, chipped and taken away and the large stump ground out for around £500 a couple of years ago. It was in a difficult corner overhanging a neighbour’s garage and greenhouse and took two skilled and insured men most of a day to do the job. By the time they’d finished you could hardly see there had been a tree there. 

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

  • Hi 
    Thanks for replies. Maybe I'll get another quote. I have  taken some photos.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,972
    That does seem a high quote to take down that tree so I would recommend you get a couple of more - but do make sure they are properly insured and ask to see their insurance docs/public liability etc.  Do you have side access or only through the house?
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,839
    It is big but not huge so, if you can't get better quotes - and make sure they're qualified and have insurance and will take it away - you could treat it like "how to eat an elephant" one bite at a time.   Cut branches off where you can and as low as possible until there's less and less left.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Mmm. Not huge? I have a very narrow awkward gate near the house and no access at the end so this added to cost. I will seek further quotes.
    What do you mean by cutting low? Do you mean from the base? Couldn't this make it unstable?

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