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What is the best time for cutting back Leylandii with nests in?

Sent in by Lynn Lathbury, Wolverhampton

It's never a good time to cut back Leylandii with active nests in!

Ideally, any cutting work to trees or hedges should be left until the end of the breeding season. We recommend that this sort of work be avoided between March and August, as this is the peak breeding time for many birds.

Outside of these dates, you should still be cautious as there may be early or late nesters. It can be distressing for both the birds and us if a nest is destroyed and by simply waiting a while you'll be helping birds to breed successfully.

Many birds utilise Leylandii for nesting as they offer good shelter for their nests. Leylandii is a fast-growing tree that can sometimes cause problems between neighbours in residential areas when they begin to grow too high and block light.

Even in these situations, it would still be a criminal offence to cut the trees if it would damage or destroy active nests and the work should be postponed.

Before beginning any cutting work, the Leylandii should be thoroughly checked for active birds nests. Old or abandoned nests have no legal protection but it is important to be 100% sure they are no longer in use.

You can find lots of information on maintaining your garden hedges on our website or discuss it on the RSPB Community forum.

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