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What to do with a sycamore 'hedge'?

In decades past the previous owner of our property decided that sycamore would make good hedging(!).  Now, if it weren't for some oddments of holly bushes and loads of very mature ivy filling up the gaps, basically what we have is a row of pollarded sycamore trees.  There are a few younger sycamore stems growing from the base so is it OK to try pruning them to encourage some bushiness?  Any suggestions would be welcome (other than 'get rid of them and start again'!).  Thank you. 


  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,447
    That's an interesting prospect! If you don't want to remove them, it might be worth a try but I have never seen it done.
  • B3B3 Posts: 16,570
    There's a small sycamore hedge up the road from me and it looks pretty good spring to autumn. It's about 4ft high but I'm sure you could have a higher one of you wanted to. I'd say you would need to keep it brutally pruned if you wanted to keep it under control. They're trees and they'd do what trees do.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Thank you for your observations.  I'll try pruning and see what happens!
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 644
    lindacgale  Had you considered removing the main trunks?  The stumps will still sprout saplings, but you'd need to do it soon before the sap begins to rise again.  With care, if you're intent on keeping them, it should be possible to gently bend saplings over so that they gradually form an espalier-type pattern, a bit fiddly but you'd have an effective boundary at least?
  • Thank you nick615.  That seems like sound advice but the main trunks are already up to c.30cm in diameter and the hedge is roughly 2m high when in leaf in spring/summer.  Also, I don't want to be doing any major works if I can help it as the ivy is in berry and the birds get around to eating the berries when there is nothing more palatable on offer at this time of year (in England).  Maybe when I am feeling flush I'll get someone in to take the trunks down to stumps and try your suggestion.  Thanks again and happy gardening!
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 644
    Shouldn't be a problem for November-ish?  30cm (a foot in old money) won't be a problem for a chainsaw but it's advisable/vital to wait for the sap to die down (no leaves left) to prevent damaging the tree itself.  If you have a wood burner, sycamore burns beautifully green.
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