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Northumberland, United Kingdom Gb

Please can someone help. I have a 6' high mixed conifer (not leylandii) hedge between my neighbour and myself, planted on my land, and inherited from the previous owners of my property. I'm not too bothered about it as it affords privacy. However, it is very close to my neighbour's bungalow, and he wants me to have it cut down, and a beech hedge put in its place. He is prepared to pay half the cost. At the moment I have side conifer hedges which are abutting onto copper and ordinary beech hedges at rear and front.

I've had three lots of people round for estimates, and two of them suggest that I have the conifers cut down to the ground and the stumps ground, then plant beech whips in between the ground stumps. I have been assured by these firms that provided the soil between is properly prepared the beech will grow. However, the third firm are telling me that I must have all the conifer stumps out, then plant the beech hedge. Needless to say their estimate is over twice the price of the other two.

Quite honestly the least I spend on the hedge the better, and if it is OK to plant the beech as above then I would do so. I have a similar conifer hedge the other side of my property, which if I have one done then I'll have to have the other one done to match up.

What do you suggest please?



You'd definately have to have the stumps removed if you want to plant anything in the place where the conifers have been.

You say that that the third company suggest the stumps must be out .... well that's what the other two have said .... re "the conifers being cut to the ground and the stumps 'being ground' "
This involves your tree surgeon grinding the stumps whilst they're in the ground.
This will indeed leave a lovely substance that you could enrich with soils/composts and plant your new items into.

Either way, the information you've been given all suggests the stumps will be ground away.

19 Nov, 2009


If your conifer hedge is properly cut annually, then I would keep it. Your neighbour should cut it on his side, as he would have to maintain a beech one. As you say the price matters, and a conifer hedge cut nicely and well maintained can support as much wildlife as can a beech one.
When you say it is close to your neighbour, surely a beech one would be close too, or is it because it isn't trimmed?

19 Nov, 2009


Thank you so much for your prompt reply.

I hadn't realised that having the stumps left in the soil and ground is the same as having the roots physically removed.

The third company are talking about the actual removal of the whole hedge, including the roots, and using a mini-digger to do this. The other two are talking about leaving the stumps in the ground but grinding them and allowing them to compost down into the soil, and interplanting with beech. And I think this is what you are saying. Like you, they say, with enriching composts, it will leave a good soil on which the beech will thrive. However, the third company are saying this can't be done, and the hedge and roots must come out as I mention above, and that the ground stumps can't be interplanted with beech whips without this happening.

Knowing little (or rather nothing) about conifer hedging and it's soil growing conditions, I'm getting very confused as to why the third company are virtually saying I can't do what the others (and you) suggest.

19 Nov, 2009


Thanks for the reply Mad.

When I came here the hedge was hitting the ridge tiles of next door's roof and I had it cut down to 6'. In consequence it's grown very wide. As the hedge is on my land, I religiously have it cut top and both sides every year. My neighbour moved in after me.

My property is about 3' higher than my neighbour, and there is a retaining wall, so the hedge his side is about 9' high. The hedge is within a couple of feet of the side of his bungalow so I can understand his reasons. Although he hasn't said, I think he feels a beech hedge wouldn't be so invasive on his side. But I'm not prepared to spend out dosh loads of money when I don't have to, and perhaps that's why he's offered to pay half to get it done.

19 Nov, 2009


Idiotgardener, the third company ARE saying the same as the other two.
They're ALL saying the same thing ..... that the roots and stumps have to be ground up.
This is the only way to remove them.

I had this done with a mixed hedge 3 years ago and i had a company cut back the hedge, dig it out, remove what roots and stumps that they could and then they contracted out the removal of the stumps to a 'stump grinder' person !

I tell you, it was money very well spent because it would have taken me ages to do that job !!!

Yours is a different situation i know, but it sounds to 'my' ears like they're all saying the same thing but maybe 'you' are hearing it diffferently ?
I'd get it clarified again :-)

19 Nov, 2009


Thanks for your help Louise1. As there's over £1000 involved, I think I'll go back to get things clarified.

19 Nov, 2009


Personally I would be worried that the digger and removal of large roots might damage the retaining wall. Would it be possible to lower the height of the hedge another couple of feet so that it's more acceptable to your neighbour?
I have a similar hedge which I had to reduce by about 4 feet and at first the top remained bare and open so you could look down through it from upstairs and I was told it wouldn't grow back across the top. However, after about 5years it has done so and is a very nice hedge.

19 Nov, 2009


i agree with mad the trees were there first and beech will do the same.they will take a while for said privacy with the beech to.though its not good to fall out with your neighers as that can be a right nightmare.i believe he can cut whats hanging over his property and must offer you what he does cut of bye law.personaly it would make a lot more sense to go halves on keeping the connifers under control or maybe bothe work out a day wear you can bothe trim the hedge together .the other thing is connifers bye nature havnt got very invasive roots unlike beech trees which spread a long way.if you want my opinion i would keep the connifers for quite a few reasens mostly the cost and privacy i guess.if you cut connifers to hard in to the sides then they will stay bare with little or know regrowth.that maybe your neighbers answer he could cut his side close to the trunk and it will never be a problem yet your side can look nice and green if maintaned properly.

19 Nov, 2009


I had a 20 foot high leylandii hedge removed and the stumps ground in summer this year. A couple of months later, I dug lots of garden compost into the area and found very little eivdence remaining of the conifers. I then planted small conifers (about 18" tall) where the old hedge used to be and they look to be establishing without any problems. As long as the stumps are ground out properly by a reputable company and good soil preparation done, I would say your beeches whips will establish

19 Nov, 2009


I agree with Steve - the conifers have non invasive roots, that cannot be said of Beech - Beech is also harder to cut, so unless you particularly want a beech hedge, or dislike the conifer hedging, I'd stick with the conifers. My feeling is that your neighbour knew they were there before he moved in - if he hates them that much, he shouldn't have moved in at all. Certainly, no beech hedge is going to be narrower than your current hedge once its matured, and you will have no hedge at all for some years until it grows. It sounds as if you're already keeping what you've got well under control anyway - your neighbour also has the right to remove anything growing over his boundary line (though technically, the clippings still belong to you!). As its going to be an expensive job, I feel you should think very carefully about whether you want conifers, or beech along there, particularly as it means changing a hedge elsewhere to match if you choose beech.
In terms of the stumps, the difference between what the 2 companies will do compared to the third is that the third will remove all stumps and major roots and take them away - the first two will use a stump grinder, grind the stumps down, which will destroy the central trunk stump and root, but leave any major roots in situ; these will not produce growth again.

19 Nov, 2009


here here bamboo great minds and all that lol

19 Nov, 2009


I would not replace this hedge which is established and not a leylandii. Especially with a beech, which can be a pain.

if the conifer hedge is not leylandii, then if you do give it a hard prune, it will re-row to a more manageable hedge.

In the Spring, give the hedge a good prune and feed. It is a legal requirement under part 8 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 (High Hedges) to keep an evergreen hedge to under 2 metres

Your neighbour has to give you right of way on to his property to enable you to maintain the boundary/hedge.

He has no right to cut the hedge back or dictate to you what he wants as it is on your property. Only if branches stray over can he cut it back, or if it breaches any legislation.

Is he worried about damage to his property? Find out exactly why he wants to get rid of it. Then let us know.

I would have a good think about this before you give in to your neighbours demands. I gave in recently and I have regretted it................

I would say you would like to wait and make your decision. Tell him you will give the hedge a trim in the Spring, but you really don't want the upheaval of machinery and mess in your garden.

19 Nov, 2009


i agree as does bamboo

19 Nov, 2009

How do I say thanks?

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