Any advice on trying to replace a massive conifer hedges that it the boundary between me and my neighbours properties? Its massive, lets no light through, and nothing grows near it. The problem is that I'd prefer not to just chop it all down at once- it is the fence and privacy-screen between me and the neighbours (and keeps their dogs out of my garden!), but i really would like to replace it with a more diverse and wildlife-friendly mix of plants.
I could chop it all down and stare at the bottom of the neighbours garden for a few years until a new hedge takes hold (old mattress springs, lovely view).
I could chop them down a few at a time.. would enough light get through for the tiny new hedging plants?
Any other ideas?
Any advice on how to make soil friendlier to the new plants? At the minute it is dusty and bare, and rather acidic.
My first thought is to take down every other tree (or every third if they are very close) and plant your new hedging plants in the new gaps, and do this gradually--probably over the course of several years. If it's really tall, maybe you could shorten the remaining conifers to let some more light in.
Another thought: when planting the new hedging, put in something quick-growing and tall in front of it, to act as a temporary hedge; maybe some cane fruit like raspberries would work, or a temporary trellis with some runner beans.
To improve the soil down there, you could put down anything you have to hand: manure, compost or compostable materials, and/or try sowing some green manure seeds; maybe the felled conifers could be chipped and used for a mulch on top of it.
Its a plan! Will take out every 2nd conifer I think, shorten the remaining ones a bit, and the idea to grow beans in the gaps is genius! They're beautiful, have plenty of foliage to hide me from the neighbour, and might help out the soil a bit And slowly I shall convert the horrible conifer hedge to a nice edible one, hopefully!
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