Cutting back conifers.

1 Feb 2004
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United Kingdom
I have a row of 20ft conifer trees in my back garden which are blocking out nearly all sunlight. I want to cut them down about half way and trim them back as they over hang the garden by 6ft. However, if I cut them back as far as I intend, I will be exposing a lot of the brown dead parts of the trees.

If I do cut them back to the dead, will new green ever grow back? If so, how long will the new grow take to show?

I don't know what type of conifers they are, sorry.
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If you cut back to the "brown" thats what you end up with, brown. Personally I hate them, but, if you want an 8' hedge, a 20" plant will establish a lot faster than a 4' plant. Then you wait for your 20" plant to reach 3' and take the top off, this encourages it to bush out. With regular trimming (3 or 4 times a year to start with) you control the bushiness and keep it green and within about three years you should have a nice green 8' x 18" conifer hedge.
But don't move in next to me as I will attempt to kill it :!: :!: ;) :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
I'm not keen on conifers either but my house is in a valley and the ground floor of the house behind is level with my first floor. I need some sort of hedge for privacy.

Do you recommend anything else that makes a good 8ft natural barrier?
Any natural barrier is going to take time to reach a height of about 8ft. Why not use a wooden fence with some trellis work on the top. You can then grow a variety of climbing plants on your side to improve the view.
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I did think about a large fence but is there not a need to gain local authority planning consent for barriers above a certain height?
Planning permission will be required for fencing in some instances.

The basic rule is that fencing over 1 metre in height adjacent to a highway will require permission. Elsewhere, fencing over 2 metres in height will require planning permission.

In some parts of the Country additional planning controls, may require permission to be obtained for all fencing, irrespective of height.

It is therefore worth checking with your local planning authority before any fencing work is undertaken.

Hope this helps.
Bamboo can be an attractive hedge requiring little maintenance. Phyllostachys is evergreen, but not to dense, allowing you to peek out but from a couple of foot away it provides an effective screen. Its quite tolerant of many conditions. The only downside is that it will be more expensive than a conifer hedge, but then there will be minimal maintenance in comparison. Its fairly slow growing so you may want to buy larger plants.

Try mail order or look for a wholesale nursery depending on how many you require. Or go to the horticultural shows which start in a few months- they sometimes have good deals.


Phyllostachys aurea (Golden bamboo)
A fast growing hardy bamboo that is reliable and non invasive. Produces yellow canes in full sun. In a shady situation these canes will be green. Grows to 6-8m with very straight culms. This is the best bamboo for hedging but is also good as a specimen plant. Makes a good tub plant but will need regular feeding.


Theres also a black stemmed version, but this tends to be more expensive. There are other varieties of phyllostachys, all quite large. They can be divided quite easily if the clump is large enough- so its worth thinking about buying larger specimens. Some bamboo can be invasive, so its worth checking with the supplier if this would be a problem.

I've had the conifer trees completely cut down and now it's time to replace my old 6ft rotten panel fence.

Due to the fact that the trees were there probably 20 or 30 years, I think I'm gonna have a hard time getting new fence posts in the ground.

Will metaposts go through roots if I give 'em a good whacking? Or will it be easier to try and dig round the roots and remove the old posts and concrete and then concrete my new posts in their place? :confused:
GlynL said:
Will metaposts go through roots if I give 'em a good whacking? Or will it be easier to try and dig round the roots and remove the old posts and concrete and then concrete my new posts in their place? :confused:
Dig a hole then concrete, might not be as bad as you think ! Metaposts is useless on a 6' panel.

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