Ellen Ripley: “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” (Aliens, 1986)

Yes, Sigourney Weaver’s character was talking about the Xenomorph, but she could have just as easily been talking another highly dangerous, acid-dripping monster… The Leyland Cypress, aka Leylandii.

Why we still plant these hideous hybrids is beyond me. If you need a fast growing, evergreen hedge, consider one of the Laurels, or Griselinias. Both can be can cut back hard when required, so they can always be kept to the dimensions required. Leyland Cypress will quickly outgrown your requirements, but cutting it back past green growth on the sides, will stay brown forever. Over time, it will also change the pH of the surrounding soil, meaning only acidic, dry soil loving plants will grow successfully nearby.

If multi stemmed hedging plants are left to their own devices, watch out! They soon become enormous. Like a black hole, they will swallow vast amounts of light and space. They also get too heavy for themselves, and drop branches readily. Not a huge issue at the bottom of your garden, if that’s your thing. However, looming dangerously over a very busy road and footpath? Complete removal – it’s the only way to be sure.

Thankfully, unlike the Xenomorphs from the Alien films, they are unable to reproduce successfully without human interaction. They’re normally sterile so have to be grown from cuttings. They also won’t regrow from a stump. Stumps can be left to rot out, but this can take many years, and Stokenham Parish have plans to turf the whole area, so for these huge stumps we brought the big gun out. The REALLY big gun!

As usual, nothing has gone to waste. The wood chip will be used by a local farmer, and local residents will be kept warm for a few winters by the logs.