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EDITIONS
Monday, 9 December, 2002, 13:30 GMT
R.I.P. Leylandii
LEYLANDII, the fast-growing conifer which has been at the root of bitter neighbourhood disputes, has been cut down to size.

While chainsaws and secateurs have taken their toll, the fatal blow has been dealt by a bill set to make its way into law. Local councils could soon be granted new powers in dealing with the so-called curse of the Leylandii.

Leylandii
Happier times
Few, bar those who value their privacy, will mourn Leylandii's passing, for it has variously been branded a menace and a grotesque green giant.

Few would have foreseen such a notorious adulthood in the tree's early years; it was always somewhat precocious but trouble came from the remarkable speed at which it grew - up to a metre a year.

Ever controversial, Leylandii was blamed for sucking the goodness from soil, plunging gardens into shadow, and turning good neighbours into the worst of enemies.

Councils received hundreds of complaints from people saying their views and light have been blocked by the trees. Some disputes have even escalated into protracted court battles.

Surprise offspring

For those familiar with just such a "hedge from hell", it will come as no surprise that the conifer is not a naturally occurring plant.

Hedgeline protest
Opponents have lobbied for the death penalty
Cupressocyparis Leylandii was born in south Wales in 1888, the unplanned offspring of Monterey Cypress and Alaskan Cedar.

The proud parents had long since given hope of producing any progeny, as attempts to interbreed conifers rarely succeed.

But a success it was, and the hardy, fast-growing Leylandii was soon adopted by homeowners in need of windbreaks, sight-screens and property boundaries.

However the very qualities that made it ideal for such tasks ultimately led to its demise.

The death has been engineered by the Labour backbencher Stephen Pound, whose High Hedges Bill will be introduced to Parliament this week. If it becomes law, a special force of hedge-busters are to be set loose on any Leylandii that top two metres in height.

No flowers.


No flowers, no grass, no anything else which grew in its shadow.
David B, UK

Cut off in its prime. Gone to the place it was aiming for...
Mike C, UK

Bred in South Wales: does that make it British Leylandii?
Jeremy Harrison, UK

A tree that will be missed only by Scrabble enthusiasts.
Tim Hooper, UK

Ashes to Ashes, Sawdust to Sawdust.
Mike, Switzerland

Which way does the Leylandii lie now?
Jo Bowers

A privet ceremony.
Dave A, UK

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Roll of honour
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21 Nov 02 | Politics
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