Please help, have I caused irreversible damage and if so what can I do?

I organised for the pruning of fir trees that act as dividers between the drives of my neighbour and I.  Because the fir tree was encroaching into my drive by approx 50cm or more in parts (due to lack of care over the past 10 years) it involved a severe pruning as the garage door was being obstructed.  I am now concerned that this will not grow again.  I assume that this is a Arborvitae, could you please help me identify it from the picture?  Will this grow back or has it been pruned too much?  The branches that have been left are approx 75cm long, the gardener did not go back to the trunk, however, from what I have been reading I am now concerned that permanent damage has been done.


If this won't grow back, what can I do to put this right, plant some more of the same variety within the gaps? 


Many thanks in advance for all your help.








  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    Could you post a picture of the live area, please?

    It's difficult to know what it is from your photo.

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Hi, really sorry but almost all conifers wont regrow, not a disaster as it gives you a planting oppotunity, ive grown ivy through mine, but anything which can tolerate dry shady conditions will be fine, some varieties of fern would be suitable image
  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    I can see scraps of green there - your alternative is to train up those scraps to cover the bare areas, as it'll be difficult to establish other plants amongst the roots.

    Also, if this is a dividing hedge, make sure you don't upset your neighbour if you choose ivy, as it could go through the tree and damage his side.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,122

    It doesn't matter what you try thats leyllandii, it won't grow back and you can't train green growth back through it. Growing Ivy through it will eventually choke the hedge. 

    I don't know how tall it has become, but as any boundary hedge it should be maintained at 2m under current legislation.

    Again I don't know how much space you have so I'd be reluctant to make suggestions without knowing more.

    There will be options, there always are, a broader view of the area would help.

  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    Hi Dave, you can train green back through it - I've done it myself. But it does take time.

  • granmagranma Posts: 1,584

    It's worth a tryimage

  • Ian HIan H Posts: 4

    Thank you for the quick replies!  The live area is the top and the neighbours side (have included 3 more pictures, 2 of my side and 1 birds eye view).  There is approx 1 metre left live on my side as we stopped when my neighbour alerted me to the potential issue.  That is the 3rd picture which refuses to display the right way up, apologies it is upside down despite rotating it.  Hopefully these pictures give a better view and an appreciation of the space.  My neighbours have always maintained their side so it did not encroach into their drive.  We have been away for 10 years so the maintenance has been sporadic, hence the encroachment.  The firs are approx 2.5 to 3m tall, my neighbours and I are ok with that.  Given the small amount of green left, I am assuming this will take 4 years or so to grow back (if at all).  If they won't sprout and there isn't enough to train, I could envisage getting rid of the branches on my side to allow space and more light for new leyllandii to grow from within.  Thanks for the ivy suggestion, for now would rather not but will keep it in mind.  Of course we could dig it all up and replant, however, I have upset my neighbours enough already with my ignorance, though it may be the best option!   

    Any further thoughts are much appreciated and happy to take more pictures but it will have to wait until tomorrow as the light has gone.











  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Would you consider replacing the hedge? Sorry
  • Ian HIan H Posts: 4

    I am happy to replace the hedge, will be a delicate conversation with my neighbours.  My long term concern is that encoachment will happen again, therefore, what type of hedge can you prune (severely if required) that will grow again? 

    Am still keen to understand if there is anything I can do to salvage this one...  It sounds like a no, though maybe there is a possibility to grow some new ones from within or planting ivy (which could choke it?).




  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 2,498

    Yew is the hedging plant that you need. It will always regenerate even cut into the old wood.

    I would give your current hedge a year just to wait and see. You never know. I had a 12foot length of leylandii regrow much to my amazement. I had already in my head had it yanked out and a fence put up but it surprised me totally.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,095

    You could put a panel fence on your side. The hedge will not grow back from the dead wood. You have a horrrible view. Hide it.

    As hogweeed says, a yew can be cut as hard as you like. But any hedge planted right on the boundary is likely to encroach.  Maybe a panel fence would be best , especially if you are short of space.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    Sorry, our posts crossed fidgetbones I lost mine! I was saying something similar.

    Ian I would suggest replace with a panel fence as the boundary line appears to be the edge of your garage.


  • GardenmaidenGardenmaiden Posts: 1,095

    You could

    1. Cut the dead stems on your side and plant some low growing perennials.

    2. If you and your neighbour want to replace with a more manageable barrier, you could try laurel. You plant as whips and just trim to shape and depth.

    3. Yew berries if I remember correctly are poisonous so if you have little ones it might be best to avoid that one.

    I'm sure more ideas will follow as there are a lot of inventive people on the forum.

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    All of the yew tree is poisonous except the flesh of the berries, yew would be my choice too, copper beech is also very nice and a popular hedge.

    I know a wall is expensive, but you only do it once and there is no maintainance image

    You could grow a climber like clematis armandii through it.

    Another option is to erect trellis and grow something like ivy through that image
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 5,110

    Whatever you do to that hedge will look awfull. Dig it out and start again.

    Spanish songs in Andalucia
    The shooting sites in the days of '39
    Oh, please, leave the vendanna open
    Fredrico Lorca is dead and gone

  • Ian HIan H Posts: 4

    Thank you all for the suggestions and input, much appreciated.  Having chatted with the neighbours (thankfully they are very reasonable/nice folk) we have agreed to leave it for 1 year in the hope that it may revive (as it did for hogweed).  If after a year we need to replace it (replacement sounds like the best solution) a Yew sounds like the best option, however, we will consider all the other varieties that have been mentioned. 

    There is approx 1.5m between the terraced houses (boundary being in the middle) so there is room, the issue with this hedge is that it was not kept in check behind my garage door.  We need something that can grow and be shaped, drastically if required due to the potential for sporadic maintenance as we come and go. 

    Thank you for your help everybody, much appreciated.



  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Privet as mentioned by Verdun above is very forgiving; some neighbours chopped theirs down to 3' high sticks and a year later it was 6' tall and flourishing.image

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,082

    You can leave that for ten years and it will look the same!

    i have thick privet hedge, put in in 2012, I kept picking out the tops and have just given it it's first real cut with shears, it was 6ft, now down to 3 but next Spring it will be 6ft again. 

    I also planted a laurel hedge, same as privet, grows nice and thick if you keep the tops pinched out. Both evergreen and low maintenance, if you have anything that flowers you will need to sweep up the petals, or dead head.  

    I can show you photos if you like.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
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