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Amending the soil under a large Leylandii Cypress and suggestions for replacements?

Hello everyone.

I've recently had a large Cypress removed, as it was looming over the house.

I'm assuming it's been there for decades, and the soil in the bed underneath (10 squared meters or so) is barren. 

Firstly, what should I be doing to the soil to amend it? I'm hoping to avoid removing tonnes of soil only to have to replace it all! I'd like to create a woodland-y garden since it's relatively shady. The spot gets semi-decent sun until about mid-day. 

It has to be replaced under council orders, so secondly, does anyone have any compelling ideas as to what I should replace it with? I was thinking perhaps a flowering cherry or an acer of some sort (something that won't sprawl too far). Have also considered some kind of Birch. Open to any and all suggestions!

Thanks!!
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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,074
    edited April 2020
    No need to remove soil.  Just bung on as much well rotted manure and garden compost as you can get your hands on - by the barrowload rather than buckets.

    As for replacements - tree/shrub/perennials?  Single specimen or group?  What way does it face and roughly where are you as this will affect temps and exposure.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,496
    Cherries have a lot of surface roots which sucker if disturbed ... if I remember correctly you were creating a rock feature and  planting ferns, epimediums  and foxgloves in that area ... or have I confused you with someone else?
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Obelixx said:
    No need to remove soil.  Just bung on as much well rotted manure and garden compost as you can get your hands on - by the barrowload rather than buckets.

    As for replacements - tree/shrub/perennials?  Single specimen or group?  What way does it face and roughly where are you as this will affect temps and exposure.
    Hello-

    I need to replace the tree, as I'm in a tree conservation area- so there has to be at least one tree!
  • Cherries have a lot of surface roots which sucker if disturbed ... if I remember correctly you were creating a rock feature and  planting ferns, epimediums  and foxgloves in that area ... or have I confused you with someone else?
    Well remembered- Since that discussion I actually now have a potted collection of ferns and epimediums ready to go in. That's still the plan- but I need to replace the tree with something more suitable!
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,636
    It's very close to the building for a tree. Would you get away with something relatively small and slow-growing like a Japanese acer?
  • JennyJ said:
    It's very close to the building for a tree. Would you get away with something relatively small and slow-growing like a Japanese acer?
    I believe I would- only thing is that they're outrageously expensive to buy at any real size! Ideal would be 3/4m high with a 3/4m spread, with the ability to train it away from the house.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,074
    I'd go for something small and light such as a rowan or amelanchier.  Both will give several seasons of interest and are readily available so not too expensive.   Neither will get too huge.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw


  • Obelixx said:
    I'd go for something small and light such as a rowan or amelanchier.  Both will give several seasons of interest and are readily available so not too expensive.   Neither will get too huge.
    Thanks! I've found a lovely amelanchier, but am considering having it in the back garden rather than the front.

    I'm still leaning towards a multi-stemmed Betula Jaquemontii, because I think the white will really illuminate the area, and leaves the perfect opportunity to underplant with grasses and ferns.

    Is that a crazy idea given the amount of space I have?

    I've taken a quick drone shot to give you an idea. I figured that, as long as the stems eventually clear the 2.5m collumn, they can grow as big as they like? Anything below 2.5m would need to fit into a 5x5m box, between the other column and the house..

    I appreciate your perspective!





  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,656
    I'm sorry, I really wouldn't want to plant a birch in that spot, even a multi-stemmed one. They can eventually get huge and are quite messy trees all year round, dropping masses of dead twiggy bits, catkins and then leaves.
    An amelanchier has the grace of a birch and is much more suitable.
  • Lizzie27 said:
    I'm sorry, I really wouldn't want to plant a birch in that spot, even a multi-stemmed one. They can eventually get huge and are quite messy trees all year round, dropping masses of dead twiggy bits, catkins and then leaves.
    An amelanchier has the grace of a birch and is much more suitable.
    Hi Lizzie. Thanks for your input.

    Is there a particular type of amelanchier you'd recommend, or other trees for that matter?

    I've found a relatively local nursery with a HUGE stocklist, so I really do have a lot of choice. I was just quite set on a birch!
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