Leylandii any good for wildlife?

I've recently moved to a property which has a gigantic leylandii tree which I would like to remove as part of my plans to create a beautiful wildlife garden. I would like to replace it with a native tree (preferably not so tall and a bit more pretty!). However, presently the leylandii is often full of birds sheltering and it seems popular with the bees in the spring time. I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing and desperately need some advice! Should I go ahead and remove it and if so any suggestions for a replacement?


  • I'd love a yew but I think it'd take a while to reach its full potential. Still, I don't expect the garden to to done overnight. I hadn't even concidered the fact it was evergreen. Thank you!
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,389

    I'd say anything, tree or shrub which can give shelter to bird and hedgehogs etc is to be welcomed. 

    We've a conifer hedge( thuya) at the side of our garden and if anything startles the birds at the feeding station, they all dive in there for cover.

    I've also had birds nest in it and I'm hoping Spike the hedgehog might well hibernate under it.

  • I'd get rid of it; I had a front garden full of these awful trees that have hardly any benefit to wildlife save as a temporary hiding place for birds (but there's plenty of other native trees around).

    I took them all down and now it's light and airy, with veg and flowers growing. I was building a light fitting on Saturday and saw quite a few butterflies too.

    All Leylandii do is grow massive, but all the inside is dead as no light can penetrate to it.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,389

    forgive me T Twitch, but Katy says it's full of birds, and you don't know if there are other trees around Katy.

    As a professional gardener I kept many leylandii hedges as good as any  yew hedge.

    Like most things, if they're looked after they're fine, if no....

  • My neighbours have an even more gigantic one and mine is next to a blackberry/honeysuckle/wild rose bush that the sparrows love. We also have a mature maple which the large birds frequent and there is a leylandii hedge at the bottom of the garden so it's not as if I am without trees. It is my intention to replace it with something else and perhaps create more diversity in the garden. I'm thinking maybe sorbus, hawthorn, birch or something. Basically if like to get rid of it, it drains nutrients and water from the rest if the garden and gives seemingly very little in return. Unless I'm missing something...
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,389

    now we have a bigger picture Katy, I'd say, if you don't like it, get rid.


  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 6,750

    As with above comments, I think it is so vital to have cover for the small birds to hide in. I am lucky to have several old yew trees surrounding the garden, but I am sure that leylandii could serve the same purpose. Leylandii maybe gets a worse press than it deserves.

    Time slide, place to hide, nudge reality
    Foresight, minds wide, magic imagery, oh-ho...
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 23,749

    I'd agree with Hosta and also doc. Properly managed they're great for cover - vital if you live in an area with lots of predators. If you feel you already have loads of that, then take it out and have a big change. The world's your 'lobster' !  image

    And somewhere on the hill
    Inside the past we hear the bells
    Catching only parts of thoughts
    And fragments of ourselves
    Till we begin

  • Any suggestions? As its so large I could probably go for a tree and a large shrub at least to replace it... It has sadly not been managed by our predecessors.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 6,750

    I really like Ameliancher as a small tree. Flowers in Spring, graet Autumn colour and berries for the birds.

    Time slide, place to hide, nudge reality
    Foresight, minds wide, magic imagery, oh-ho...
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