reducing a leylandii hedge

Hi, we have just moved into a new home with two high leylandii hedges to the front bordering the garden, one side curves round into the garden and makes moving the cars around difficult and restricts visability. We want to keep the hedges but need to reduce one side. They trees are about 8 ft high how do we go about cutting back with out damaging and harming the remaining hedge?
Any advice would be very well received. Thanks. Ann
16:06 Wed 26th Dec 2007
 
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Slightly difficult because if you try to cut back leylandii, the growth is usually at the end tips of the branches with the inner wood dying back if it is cut. If you only want to trim one side of the hedge you could consider completely removing all the lower branches back to the main truck below roof height of your car which would improve manoeuvring visibility. However, this will possibly look rather odd, so you may then feel obliged to remove all the matching lower branches on the other side of the hedge. The problem withleylandii is that nobody really thinks ahead when they plant them, trying to envisage what they will be like in a few years' time because they grow so rapidly and are difficult to prune back in width rather than height. The only other option would be to remove them completely, have the roots dug out and replant a different type of hedge which does not become so intrusive. Beech is far more amenable, as it mostly retains its leaves in winter, so gives privacy without rapidly growing out of control and needing regular pruning.
I'll go along with 'whoever', that to cut too deeply into an established leylandii hedge will produce an an eysore. However it may be possible, with a bit of care, to regenerate a green face. Before cutting anything, select a number of the green whippier branches. When the major trimming is finished, drag the saved branches along the hedge to about 30 - 45 degrees and tie them into the main trunks. On a really old hedge thats been topped many times, this may not be possible, but may be worth a go and the green growth should start to fill the bare side.
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thanks to all for the advice, one last question is there a 'best time' in the year to do this or can it be done at any time? Ann Lots of help, thanks.
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To keep leylandii within the bounds you require it is best trimmed regularly from young plants.
If it's an established hedge, what I think you have here then it's best pruned once or twice in the growing season, idealy in june and again in august.
Just to underline : never prune when any sign of frost is about and dont cut back into old wood, which it will not re-sprout from. Best of luck Tbird+
Do yourself a favour and get rid of it completely.
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Get rid! they are a real pain.
Despite my earlier advice I'm inclined to agree with the others and suggest you get rid of them altogether. Before too long you may well start to find that you have a major root problem and they start damaging and cracking jup the surface of your driveway and then you'll have another major expense on your hands. Also, very soon you'll probably have a major problem with sunlight and daylight being blocked out of your downstairs front rooms

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