Need advice on giant overgrown shrub (Pic)

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by bijjy, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. bijjy

    bijjy Active Member

    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Burnaby BC Canada
    I'm helping my friend redesign the yard for a house he just bought. His house is on the right hand side of this pic. In between his and the neighbour's house is a huge shrub... or rather, two huge shrubs that have melded together as one.

    If I could have it my way I would just rip out the whole thing and start anew with something that would let in more filtered sunlight rather than casting heavy shade on my friend's house. I also dislike how it makes the house seem even tinier than it already is.

    But removal I'm sure would be pricey, not to mention we haven't consulted the neighbour yet. My friend would be open to trimming back his side of the shrub. So I am wondering how much of the shrub is it safe to prune back without the whole thing dying, or without exposing the more sensitive inner part of the shrub to the elements, which could cause browning needles/leaves or parts of it dying?

    Also, would it be possible to take out the whole darker coloured shrub on the right and leave the lighter coloured one on the left, or would that look ugly since they are fused?

    Thanks!!

    Here's another shot of it, from the neighbour's side. It looks a bit nicer from their side; my guess is that they'd probably want to keep it like that.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2009
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,327
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Cypress cultivars of some sort, maybe Lawson's Cypress, maybe Sawara Cypress, maybe Arborvitae. A close-up of the foliage (and cones, if any) will help identify which. The cones will be about the size of a pea.

    Either keep both or remove both; if you take out one, you'll be left with a hideous dead brown side where they have shaded out each others' foliage.
     
  3. bijjy

    bijjy Active Member

    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Burnaby BC Canada
    Thanks. And pruning? Can I prune back our side about a foot or two, without removing the roots? Or does shearing the hedge have to be kept to about several inches?
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,327
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Shearing has to be kept light - if you cut through the outside shell of green foliage into the mature brown stems, they won't regenerate. So only cut green shoots.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    19,157
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Yellow one is Thuja occidentalis 'Wareana Lutescens', green is T. o. 'Smaragd' or similar.
     
  6. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    I agree it's all or nothing with these two. It's really to late to bring them back down in size. This is a very common experience of old established yards. Have you had a talk with the neighbor about the trees? He might want them gone too.
     
  7. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Looks like the orginal intent for this grouping was to anchor the corner of the property, and not to screen the neighbors. Don't know if sun was an issue, but a shadow in late afternoon in the summer is a mercy. Still, if I were trying to make shade I'd use a deciduous tree that's bare all winter to let the winter sun in, and cast shade in the summer. I don't think it will be too expensive to remove either. Probably an electric chain saw can do the work and a pickup to haul away in a few trips.
     
  8. bijjy

    bijjy Active Member

    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Burnaby BC Canada
    Green Elephant -- It's my friend's yard; I'm doing the design for him and he has yet to talk to his neighbour (keep trying to convince him to). A deciduous tree without too much messy leaf drop sounds like not a bad idea. My original idea was tall narrow Italian cypresses.

    -Won't we have to rent a hydraulic tool to get the roots out too, in addition to chainsaws?

    -By 'anchor the corner' I assume you mean aesthetically, not structurally, correct?
     
  9. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Well, if you want to take out the roots that's going to be work. I'd rather cut off flush with the ground and let them rot in place. Yes, by anchor, I mean visually. Look around the neighborhood.

    I guess it's important to understand what function you want this landscaping to serve, and then the right plants will come easily. Do you want shade? Privacy? A sense of proportion with the house size? Color? Anchor the corner? etc. . .
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    19,157
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    So far all I've seen on the site in these pictures that was at all remarkable was the 'Wareana Lutescens'. Perhaps part of the reason it has become a focus of malice is that it is the most striking thing in the scene. Removing it instead of working with it - various other plants could be placed around it to make interesting color combinations - needs to be carefully considered before being undertaken.

    And leaving the stump of it and/or the 'Smaragd' in place is not likely to end up being thought acceptable, these will become ugly features after a few years - yet will not disappear on their own for a long time.

    Removing the extremely common 'Smaragd' so it is no longer pressed against the much less usual 'Wareana Lutescens' might be a good idea. It depends on how much of a dead, bald-looking backside would be left facing into the yard.
     
  11. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    You can always think on it for another year. Some times the solution comes easily if you just let it sit.
     
  12. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    842
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon
    My thought is just get rid of it.

    The grouping reminds me of one cutomer's yard, where she had these junipers that caught fire. Fortunately they were toward the sidewalk 25' from the home, but ignited here 50' Douglas fir, and all are toast right now. Anyhow, its not wise to keep that dense of a conifer hedge-like grouping near a home.

    Its a poor combination too, unless they want to shear it, and evergreens that tall are a headache to shear. Especially since they get taller and wider. Often its the width that is most problematic, due to the reach with shears.

    More or less, that grouping will get worse with age.

    Time-wise, the removal is streamlined. That whole clump can be cut to 2" stumps and loaded in a trailer or chipper in about 30 to 60 minutes.

    You can get a stump grinder in, for probably the $150 range.

    If you want to use an axe, wihich is very feasible, DO NOT CUT the trunk short near ground level. Leave as much as 10' (3 meters) of stem height. If you tie a rope up high and pull on it, you have a huge leverage gain. You don't have to pull and bust it loose with a vehicle, but can apply some pull which helps the roots cut easier.
     

Share This Page