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Replace trees

I recently moved into a new house with some very high trees in the garden.  The birds love them but they are unsafe and I need to cut them back (and cut the biggest one down).  Would really appreciate any advice on whether it's possible to plant reasonably-sized trees that would keep the birds in my garden.  If so, which trees would you recommend?
Thanks from a newbie,


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,088
    We need a lot more info:-

    Roughly where you are as this affects weather and temps.
    What kind of soil you have, how exposed you are to strong winds and rain, how big is your garden, which way does it face as this affects light levels, how tall is too tall?
    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,
    I'm in Ireland.  The trees are just taller than a two-storey house but the roots bend under the wall into neighbours.  They're just too big for the space.  The garden is about 20x25 foot  The sun hits the opposite side of the garden first - I've only been here in winter but the trees should get a decent amount of sun 6 months of the year.  They definitely get lots of light and lots of rain.  They are exposed to strong wind but surrounded by houses, maybe 20 foot away.  The light is on all sides as the gardens are back-to-back and in a row.  Can't claim to know about the soil but there are a lot of tall trees in the estate so I think it should support new trees. 
    Really appreciate your help,
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,088
    For that small a garden you need to be looking at things like amelanchier or the smaller rowans/sorbus or maybe a small flowering cherry but soil type is important - sandy, loamy, clay; moist or well-drained; alkaline or acid or neutral.

    Tell us what the existing trees and plants are and that may give us a clue ti your soil type or you could get a testing kit from a good garden centre..

    Is it north, south, east or west facing?  nearer the Atlantic or Nearer the Irish Sea?

    Tree roots tend to spread as wide as their canopy so you need to be careful about choosing spreading kinds rather than columnar.  have a read of this:- 

    I think you'll be too windy for an acer/Japanese maple as they like sheltered sites so their leaves don't get desiccated.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • You might also want to be careful that in felling your trees, you weren't infringing the regs. In general if a tree can be seen by neighbours, it may be subject to a Tree Preservation Order, and if felled without permission you could then face a fine. It's often still possible to fell them if you can prove they're a cause of subsidence or terminally diseased, though.
  • Hi Obleixx,
    thank you - that's fantastic.  The article and list of trees has so much useful information.  I'll find out about the soil type - I clearly need to do some research!  Really appreciate the article though.
    Thanks for your help,

  • Hi Cambridgerose12, 
    thanks for that.  I had a look at the Irish regulations and it's definitely within 100ft of my house (and my neighbours).  Appreciate the heads-up though.
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    I have a Malus Red Sentinel crab apple. Spring blossom, good autumn colour and large red apples which keep on the tree over winter. Don't get birds but for the first time this year we have a blackbirds that is eating it's way through the apples. Definitely a good tree to have.
  • BiljeBilje Posts: 740
    I've two Rowan trees, been in 30+ years. Still not big, just right. The Spring buds are lovely, then scented flowers in May followed by red berries which blackbirds love. I'd recommend them.
  • Thanks K67, that is a beautiful looking tree and I grew up with crab apple trees.  Great colours.
  • Thanks Bilje, love the variety in colours across the year.  And great to hear it doesnt become too big with time - it's heartbreaking to cut them down.  Appreciate the help.
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