Leylands down, hollies going up along Bermuda Run fence

Published 9:52 am Thursday, October 7, 2021

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By Jim Buice

Enterprise Record

BERMUDA RUN – US 158 entering town from the Yadkin River has a different look these days, and it has nothing to do with the road itself.

That’s because the town has proceeded with taking down hundreds of diseased and dying Leyland Cypress trees along the fence line on the south side of the highway in front of the gated community.

“It’s a rather arduous process, and they moved rather quickly when you look at 730 trees,” Town Manager Lee Rollins said in the September Town Council meeting.

The trees, which stretched nearly a mile with many of them tangled in the power lines before being topped earlier this year, provided a buffer between Ivy Circle and US 158.

“I am sure if I lived on Ivy Circle, that would be a shocker to look out my door in the morning, but it was a necessary evil,” said councilman Curtis Capps of the trees being removed. “I mean, those trees were dead. They weren’t going to get any better. Most of them were brown. Hopefully, before long it will be bright and green with Nellie Stevens (hollies). I do sympathize with the people who are living there.”

Rollins said that Bermuda Run is planning to replace the Leylands with the hollies, which the town has done along the NC 801 fence line across from Bermuda Run West.

“They’ve done very well over the last five years,” he told the council.

In the meantime, Rollins said that the contract to cut all the Leylands and remove them was $108,000, and added the current estimate to replace them with Nellie Stevens hollies is $230,000.

Councilman Mike Ernst said that he hoped residents will understand the decision that had to be made and realize there’s some growing pains associated with it.

“The way it’s being done is the proper way to handle it, and it will take three to five years before they get back to the height they need to be,” he said of the new plantings. “But what’s going in its place is never going to grow up into the power lines. Leyland Cypress is not the type of tree made for this kind of climate. I just hope everyone will bear with us, and if you don’t believe what I’m saying, just drive down 801, and you’ll see.”

Rollins said in last month’s meeting that in looking back, Leylands were obviously not the best choice based on how things have turned out.

“When the town was incorporated in 1999, and the original section of Bermuda Run had an HOA, the HOA decided to dissolve and monies that were left over in their coffers were provided to the town regarding the Leylands,” Rollins said. “Those Leylands were installed at that time. Prior to that, there was just a hodgepodge of plantings. So the town then took responsibility since it has responsibility for maintenance of that fence line.

“Clearly, hindsight being 20-20, Leylands were not the ideal tree to put in a space that’s only a foot and a half wide because the town has a three-foot easement, one and a half feet on either side of that fence line, and all of that is within the DOT right of way. You allowed me to wait until Duke Energy contracted with Asplundh to cut the tops out of those Leylands out of the power lines, which wound saving us money. So we didn’t have to deal with that.”

The remaining stumps will be ground to ground level when the planting of the Nellie Stevens takes place.

Rollins added that he would recommended waiting until late fall or early winter to minimize watering and not overstressing the plants.

“That’s where we are with all of that and then, of course, any necessary repairs to fencing and those types of things,” he said.

In addition to the Leylands, Rollins mentioned in a recent meeting that more than 60 Bradford Pear trees along Bing Crosby Boulevard will also encounter a similar fate.

“Those trees have a blight,” he said.  “The town, at some point in the future, will have to look at taking those trees down.”