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Leylandii roots’ spread
Leylandii roots are shallow and don’t grow deeply, even though the trees may grow to 18m to 21m in height. The roots grow and remain in the top 60cm of the soil, and maybe even shallower in clay soil. The spread of the roots is proportional to the height of the tree.
If you plan on using leylandii as a hedge, then the roots won’t spread too far. But leylandii roots often extend out further that the width of the tree’s canopy or the width of the hedge. Don’t expect the roots to fit nicely just under the tree.
Leylandii trees grow fast, between 45cm and 90cm in height per year. Their roots grow at a proportionate rate. Don’t plant your leylandii tree with the view to moving it when it becomes bigger. By that time, the roots will have spread too far too fast to be manageable when you go to dig up the tree. Select a place in which the full grown tree will fit.
How close to a house can you plant leylandii?
As leylandii roots are shallow, they won’t undermine the structure of your house. If your leylandii is a hedge and you keep it to a reasonable (say 2m) height, then you can plant it a minimum of 1m away from your house. If you’re using leylandii as a statement tree, then you have to take into consideration the full height of the tree (18m to 21m) in its mature state. This means planting it tens of metres away.
Be aware that the roots of any tree or hedge planted close to a house can block drains or pipes. Roots usually don’t break in but enter through existing cracks or badly sealed joints. This disrupts the flow of water to or from your house.
Leylandii roots take up a lot of moisture from the soil so any flowers or bushes you plant near it have to compete for water.
And, if you live in an older house with weak foundations, plant your leylandii much further away. You don’t want the roots to go anywhere near the base of the house.
If you want to control the size of your leylandii tree, head over to my article How to stop leylandii growing?