Not so bad

The Leylandii conifer continues to grab the headlines as the “bad boy” of the conifer world amid all the latest coverage on conifer browning. However, whilst some Leylandii have been affected by browning in recent years there are a great many other varieties that are unaffected – and so gardeners should not be deterred from planting conifers.
There are many varieties of conifers that will provide a suitable hedge without the risks of browning that are ideally suited to gardens. These include Lawson Cypress, Western Red Cedar and Yew. See notes to editors for further information.
David Gwyther, DG of the Horticultural Trades Association said, “The issue of conifer browning in Leylandii should not be hijacked by those with a prejudice against this extremely useful garden plant, to push their anti-conifer agenda. It shows a lack of knowledge of this diverse range of plants as conifers come in all shapes and sizes with many modern varieties providing beautiful year-round structure and colour within the small British garden.”

The browning of conifers can be the result of several factors including a lack of light, under or over watering, physical damage from pruning, pest attacks from aphids, diseases such as Phytopthora cinnamomi and Armillaria (honey fungus), de-icing salts and weedkillers, wind damage and frosting. Any of these could be a contributing factor and there is no blanket cause – each case is individual.

National Conifer Week, this year run in conjunction with PlantforLife takes place from 27th September to 5th October

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