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Would doing this kill leylandii cypress?

IronSquirrelIronSquirrel London usuallyPosts: 44
One idea I've come up with for a gravel garden I'm working on would involve digging a deep, narrow trench to be filled with gravel, and it runs parallel with a line of tall, slim leylandii.
At the narrowest end, I'd be cutting into roots at about 2 meters from the tree, and about 2.5/3 meters at the furthest.

Would this kill the trees, which are all taller than my house?


“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”
Trolius & Cressida

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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,066
    Unlikely  :)
    Are you trying to get rid of them? Cutting back into the old wood will see them off.

    Getting them reduced in height to around four or five feet, and hacked right back to the trunks will enable them be removed completely, using the stumps as levers, or just cutting back to the ground and leaving the stumps would allow gravel to be used up to the bases. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • IronSquirrelIronSquirrel London usuallyPosts: 44
    Can't remove them, way out of budget. Keeping them, just don't want to cut of the roots and have them fall onto the garden. 
    “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”
    Trolius & Cressida
  • IronSquirrelIronSquirrel London usuallyPosts: 44


    I think the trees are themselves at least 25 / 30ft tall.

    The internet won’t give me a direct answer so I’ve taken the least BS-sounding answers to the root question, 

    the Xs are the trees.
    So from this, the roots are either going to be stretching out about
    3 meters (inside the Green circle)
    5 meters (inside the orange circle)
    Or  above (no point circling because it’s above my pay grade to deal with that shit)


    Also, the original intention of my client is to have the garden above the blue line bordered with some new shrubs. Will they even cope, given the conifers greedy roots ?
    “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”
    Trolius & Cressida
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 5,409
    Cutting the major roots on one side of the tree probably won't kill it but it's very likely to destabilise it.  Strong wind hitting the side with the cut roots may well cause the tree to fall in the opposite direction.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,414
    I had a row of leylandii which we removed,   The roots weren’t out to 2 mts,  I made a 2mt flower border so I would say go ahead,  if you’re  worried , dig down 2 mts from one tree and see what you have, 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • seacrowsseacrows Posts: 156
    We removed a row of leylandii, not quite that high, maybe 20ft. The majority of the root system was within a metre radius of the trunk. The soil left was absolutely useless, dry powder with no organic material, couldn't grow weeds in it. If you want to plant shrubs you're going to have to pick them carefully, really enrich their planting pocket and water them profusely for months until they establish.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,414
    edited 1 August
    That’s was unfortunate @seacrows,   Our trees were 30 years old when we removed them,  all we did was use some chicken pellets and compost/mulch, this is the area planted up straight away.
    we took them out winter 13/14.  This is May 14. Just planting up.


    This is July 14.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,414
    Similar here with this border.  I would say the OP can go ahead with their border and leave the trees.  It can be done.   I’m sure it won’t affect the roots at 2 mts.   You may have to get plants for shade depending on which way the border is facing.

    from this 


    March 2019


    July 2019


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • seacrowsseacrows Posts: 156
    Lyn said:
    That’s was unfortunate @seacrows,   Our trees were 30 years old when we removed them,  all we did was use some chicken pellets and compost/mulch, this is the area planted up straight away.
    we took them out winter 13/14. 

    I think it might be mostly due to the underlying soil type. These were planted in heavy clay and left to grow untouched for 25-30 years. Apparently clay with all nutrients and water removed and no mulch/compost for 20 years gives you powder! That's a lovely border though. Are the stumps still there, because I can't see them.
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