30' Conifers blocking evening sun

We have 3 30’ conifers that are losing us 2/3 hours of sun in the evening, probably my neighbour is missing some sun in the morning too!

I am thinking of lopping 10 to 15’ off the top but cannot find anywhere on Google if they will a) die or b) regrow to a nice point??

Can’t wait to get proper internet, using this iPhone for everything is a real pain!

Tried to post in gardening but couldn’t work it out!


Seems like Simon is volunteering to give you a hand with this! :-)

this is called coppicing, it is how a wood is managed.

leylandii only regrow from the tip, when you cut into them they will not regrow and will leave the trunk exposed.

I would just chop the trees down and replant with better looking plants, you can pay a processional to do the work, they will get rid of the tree so as mike says getting it done buy a professional is safer but what the hell if you want to live your life to the full these are the sorts of challenges MEN aspire to to learn more about themselves.

Don't encourage him! If you want an easy life and would like to stay on good terms with your neighbors, have nothing to do with Leylandii conifers. But I do agree with those who say they make very good firewood. ;-)

In my experience...when you take the main trunk down...the other branches become the leaders. So you may have to shorten them after a few years. I will have to do this to my conifers that I cut the tops off...several years ago. :-)

I’ve had about 80 30’ taken down, no point in lopping, they die from the inside, it looks awful if their cropped…you need a pro to do the job right. When dried the wood burns well but fast, best mixed with other wood, nor does the wood want dried out completely. When chipped the residue makes a lovely covering, now have it al around the garden, also sold a load, well accepted donations. The difference is wonderful with regard the sun…big, big difference and well worth the money.

Let's go back to basics.
With almost any deciduous tree, when you cut off a branch, it will most likely send out one or more new shoots to replace it. Conifers only grow from the tips of the main trunk and existing branches. If you cut back to brown wood, that branch cannot regrow. This means that even if you reduce the height, you cannot do anything about the width without it resulting in a permanent ugly mess. Most serious gardeners would find that aesthetically unacceptable, but it is surprising how many people seem happy to live with seriously mutilated Leylandii hedge.


They will survive and although the top where cut will no longer grow the next in line side branches in time will head upward giving renewed vertical growth. I am assuming that we are talking leylandi cyprus.

Don't do it Tony.
You will be at considerable risk of ending up in hospital and you will not achieve a pleasing result.

This is really a job for a professional, but if you are determined to do a DIY job, make sure you have someone around with a working telephone and a car with petrol in the tank. The use of power tools around the home are a major cause of serious accidents.

Hi Tony, from what I've gleaned (albeit rather quickly) no they won't die if you lop them/prune them hard although they will be misshapen for a while BUT (1) don't do it until the sap goes down in autumn, ie after growing season, and (2) don't take it down to any dead wood, only where it's still green, otherwise it will die. Once they start new growth again in spring you can start to reshape if possible.

I assume these are the dreaded Leylandii. Often used to make a quick growing hedge, but turn you back and before you know it, you have a 10 metre green wall. I used these to good effect in Wales, to hide a rusty barn in an adjoining field. They also created a useful micro-climate to the benefit of many garden plants.
But once they have got out of hand, it is virtually impossible to reduce them in size without resulting in an unattractive appearance. Regular trimming is supposed to keep them neat, but once you cut back to brown wood, they will never grow back properly. The best remedy is to get rid of them and plant something slower growing.

We have what used to be a very high conifer hedge (approx 10mtrs high) and the previous owners had them cut to a height of approx. 4 mtrs. The sides have now grown back but the tops do not grow back and they do look ugly. We also had t very tall conifer trees in the garden and we decided to cut these down completely...lot of mess and the branches take forever to dry so they can burn without smoking out the whole department.

Rgds, Mike L

I cut 4m off a conifer a few years ago to use as an outdoor Christmas tree, grew back fine but with 2 points! I just wiggled the ladder in between the branches to get as close as possible to the trunk and it was stable enough, cut with a bow saw and pushed the top away as it cut through.

Hi Tony, 5 years ago, i had 60 x 40ft leylandii.. my neighbour opposite installed solar heating panels on his roof and complained to the mairie that my trees were blocking his light.. the mayor sent me a couteous letter telling me to cut the trees, or they will..and will bill me.. i had no option, as the trees were planted on the boundary line where 2m is the max height.. after negotiation, they were cut to 3m.. but due to lack of green on the lover very long branches, no regrowth took place, i finally had to dig them out.. however, a property close by had tall but very green leylandii, which were cut to 2m and now are very healthy.. so it seems if there is good green low down and the trees are healthy, you stand a chance of new growth, which can be maintained as hedge.. the company engaged to cut mine had a guy on a pallet, on a long reach fork truck.. with the chain.. he couldn't penetrate into the growth ot the top to reach the trunk.. they brought in a long reach ground digger.. this reached up and stripped the branches down the trunk.. they dropped 40 on my front boundary in a day.. the agreement was to leave the waste in my garden.. it took 3 days of 8 people to cut, move and burn the waste.. but i did gain masses of wood to burn.. and leylandii wood left out in the open for 2 years is a lovely fire wood. the sap is in the bark, which seasoned nicely and burns very clean.. hope it gives some idea of how to deal with yours.

After cutting 1.5 metres off ours they have grown back, above the cut point, but I could not say they have grown to a point, mainly because of the width of them (1.8M) !

It is common in France to reduce the height of conifers. They look a bit odd for a year or two but bush out nicely. I urge you to get a professional to do it as they will use a cherry picker or similar and do a proper job. May cost 150€ but worth every cent.

pull them out (helpful farmer/neighbour ?) and start again

Interestingly a neighbour chopped back some leylandii hard 2 years ago in we thought he’d made a mistake at the time as they looked awful, but this year they have bushed out into a pretty good hedge, and are improving all the time…