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leylandi trunks and query about sleepers


I hope that you can help.

We are currently re-doing our garden and want to raise the beds with sleepers.  First question is what type of sleepers should we use, as the sleepers will be in contact with the ground and soil (preferably cheap and long lasting).  Our soil is clayey and are garden faces west. 

The other query is that we have some leylandi that have been there a while, and are a bit bare at the bottom, where the neighbours dog, cats etc have come through.  Can I raise the level of the soil to bury these bare sections of trunk, or will this harm the hedge?

Also what would you suggest to keep the dogs from coming through the gap at the bottom of the hedge (preferably hedgehog friendly).



  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,133
    Fill the holes between the trees with chicken wire.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks Lyn.
    Will that be ok for hedgehogs, or will they get hurt by it?  I can put small pipe sections for the hedgehog to get through.  Iassume that raising the soil level around the leylandii isn't a good idea then?

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,478
    No, not a good idea. Raising the soil level around any tree or bush is likely to rot it. As Lyn says use chicken wire with your pipe sections for hedgehogs (have you got any?).
    If you don't like the look of chicken wire you could try attaching a roll of screening to it, cut to size.
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,287
    Chicken wire is cheap and very useful , but be careful of your fingers and use gloves, cutting the ends can be a bit spikey.
    I used it under compost bins folded and with the spikey ends well folded and buried but for other blocking things issues  stiff clematis plastic square mesh is also good.

    Or that might be what @Lizzie27 means. It is usually a dark green so blends in a bit better.
    I do not know if I just don't know how to handle or if there is a better or proper way to use with chicken wire?

    I would think if you can tuck or bury the pointy bits it would be okay for hogs if you are doing separate tunnels for them anyway.
     I might be being over cautious but thinking of hoggies getting spiked noses.

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,478
    Hi @Rubytoo, I'm sorry, I meant willow screening - the stuff you get on a roll, but cheaper still is secondhand old bamboo blinds off Freecycle, very good at covering up stuff.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,543
    Stock fencing is cheap and unobtrusive and will let hedgehogs thru with no damage.  It's a wire mesh designed to contain sheep, pigs, cattle etc so you need to check the gauge in case the dogs are small enough to get thru too.

    Do not bury the tree trunks.  They will rot and die.

    Sleepers are made from hard wood which is slow to grow but lasts well.  They are not cheap.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,287
    edited February 2019
    [email protected] That sounds even better :)

    As Obelixx says they can be expensive, not sure what you are looking for but old reclaimed untreated hardwood ones are a bit cheaper. They would be okay with wet soil as used for water features ponds etc?
    There are others but this site link is to give you an idea of cost.

    I am not advertising, no affiliation or anything.  This site used to have pages of really good ideas and information for how to use and the explanations of grades and what is or is not treated.
    Not all used railway sleepers are covered in tar or nasty preservatives. You might find something suitable for clay at a cheaper rate?
    I feel the cheap ones from diy stores are a false economy and they won't last.

  • Brilliant, thanks ever so much.  I was debating whether to gave treated softwood (tanalised), like this,_Bevelled_Treated_Softwood_Sleeper   ..... would these just rot too fast? probably only need about 10 years of of them, so do not need a lifetime guarantee.  Stock fencing is an idea, as the dog next door is a mid sized dog rather than a small one!  As for the pipes for the hedgehog, I was told to make sure it is at least 5inch, so thinking of an off cut of soil pipe.

  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,287
    When we made a hedgehog feeding station the suggestion my other half saw/found was use a compact disc or computer disk for a size guide?
    He did it so I didn't measure hoggie seems to get in/out okay. Are they five inches?
    Try the search there are some hog fanatics here and a couple of threads with lots of info.

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