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Overgrown evergreen

sue83helensue83helen Scottish HighlandsPosts: 10
Hi everybody. This is my first query, I hope someone can advise me. Our neighbours evergreen tree branches have grown over the fence, the shed roof and into our rowan tree. When is the best time to prune back the excessive growth? ( I know I should ask/inform our neighbour but shouldn't be a problem - they said last year we could cut back their apple tree branches and keep any fruit we wanted!)
When my husband re-roofed the shed about three years ago there were no branches over the roof and a nice gap between the evergreen and the apple tree which gave a nice bit of light into our garden. Any ideas? Regards.
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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,566
    Hi @sue83helen and welcome to the forum 😊 

    That looks to me like an English holly … si the traditional time to cut it would be between late November and Christmas … and then, if the nice neighbour doesn’t  want the trimmings, you can use them to decorate your home, make wreaths etc for Christmas/Yule or however you enjoy the midwinter season. 

    However do bear in mind the old saying ‘Growth follows the knife’ which means that the more you cut it back the more it will grow … so light trimming each winter  is probably going to serve your purpose nicely. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • sue83helensue83helen Scottish HighlandsPosts: 10
    Hi Dovefromabove, thank you for your reply. I was anxious about cutting branches in winter as may do damage to the tree. We are in the Scottish Highlands by the way.
    I agree a little pruning at first needed - hope I can rein in my husband's enthusiasm with a saw!    >:)
  • sue83helensue83helen Scottish HighlandsPosts: 10
    Hi Dovefromabove, again. I don't think the tree is an English holly. it's leaves are smoothed-edged, glossy and quite large. They remind me of a laurel or a bay, possibly.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,566
    edited November 2021
    Thought I could see some red berries bottom left of the second photo?
    The colour and texture of the bark looks like holly to me too

    Some hollies don't have spikey leaves.  Perhaps a close up of  a sprig or two?
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • sue83helensue83helen Scottish HighlandsPosts: 10
    Hi, I will try for a better photo tomorrow, if it's not pouring with rain, again! it's dark now. Yes there are red berries which the blackbirds love. I am watching these overgrown branches and hoping the birds eat the berries there first! will be in touch later. Thanks for your replies.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,566
    Look forward to seeing more pics ... hope you get a dry day tomorrow.   :)


    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    Wait until the wind and rain have eased @sue83helen ;)
    If it's holly, it'll be fine being cut back hard. If it's something else, it'll probably still be ok  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • sue83helensue83helen Scottish HighlandsPosts: 10
    Thanks, Fairygirl. I too think it may be large enough ( it must be at least 25 feet tall) and robust enough to take a bit of pruning  :)
  • Could be holly J.C.van Tol,  it has smooth edged leaves and is self-fertile so doesn't need another holly to fertilise it, so you get more reliable berries. :)
  • sue83helensue83helen Scottish HighlandsPosts: 10
    Thanks Buttercupdays, I think you may be right.  :)
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