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Talkback: Living with lichen

I have removed a number of leylandi trees, and replaced it with a wooden fence. the soil now looks all dried up and out of condition.
Q. how can I bring it back to good condition, and what type of plants would grow in the plot now that it is cleared.?


  • We have a witch hazel tree in our garden which usually flowers just before Christmas (after all of the leaves have fallen) through until the end of January; sometimes longer. We have just noticed that it has started to flower in earnest and the leaves are still green. This has not happened before (29 years!)
  • I also had this on the edge of our drive,but have just had a new layer of chips put down, so it is not visible at present. It did come and go depending on the dampness.
  • Is Helianthus Lemon Queen a perennial? If so, how tall does it grow and should it be cut back? I have one in the garden smothered in flowers but it is about 8ft high and dwarfing everything else.
  • Doug: Just goes to show that lichens don't harm anything - if they're happy growing on a felt roof as you describe!
  • Hello Pippa, It sounds very similar to what has been growing around our driveway through the stone chippings. It is rather slippy.
  • With regard to the removal of Leylandii trees, and what to grow:- I removed such trees from all round my garden, and replenished the soil with my own compost, leafmold, purchased topsoil, molehills, old compost from pots, anything, in fact, to bulk it up and nourish it. Now I have a very burgeoning herbaceous border. You could try growing a green manure crop too. Once the soil is ready, I can see no reason why you could not grow anything you want. Happy gardening!
  • lichen is lovely and should be preserved as people actually pay to have things aged to look like theyre covered in lichen
  • I have recently bought a house which has a row of 14ft Leylandii trees down one side of the garden. Together with a short fence, they form a very high barrier with our neighbours. Unfortunately, they are so close to the house that they make my interior dark and dingey. I really want to have them removed as nothing willl grow underneath.The lawn is awful. Can my neighbours object and do I need
    planning permission? Our tall cherry tree also blocks the light and is leaning towards the house and damaging our guttering. I'd like to get rid of this too.
    I intend to replace the old fence with a higher one and grow some attractive climbers over it, to provide both sides with privacy. Can I go ahead?
  • A strange weed is now taking hold on our lawn. It is black and white with a mushroom texture. It does not respond to normal weedkillers or even products used by one of the top lawn companies. Someone told us to try Jeyes Fluid to no avail. Any ideas?
  • We have 'bladder wot'it'. it grows on our flat roof which is covered in felt and has a layer of gravel laid loose. In which the lichen grows when ever we have a extended wet period, it causes no problem but is a bit messy when it dries and gets blown around.
    Doug Ovenden.
    Longworth. Oxon.
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