The growth rate of a Leyland cypress is three to four feet per year when young, and it will remain green even if it is grown in poor soil. At best, it can attain of up to 50 feet in height. Usually it will have a dense, pyramidal or oval outline if not pruned. However, the branches can tolerate hard trimming to create a windbreak, screen and/or a formal hedge. Indeed, the Leyland cypress thickens to a large extent, creating a solid wall. But beware. It will likely outgrow its space if planted on a small plot. As a result, regular trimming is highly recommended. The roots are shallow, but they can still push over large trees in wet soils. Having said all that, what else should you know before choosing this fast-growing variety of plant?

Planting Leyland cypress

The astonishing growth rate of the Leyland cypress means it has some unique planting requirements. To begin with, it enjoys both full sun and shade sun. Also, it does not have strict soil needs, which means it can be planted in different soil types such as loan, clay, and sand. Furthermore, the tree is tolerant to both alkaline and acidic soils, but it should always be planted on a site that is well drained. It will also tolerate salty and drought conditions. It is highly advisable to acknowledge its growth rate when planting so that you can give it sufficient space.

Leyland Cypress Tree Pruning

If someone does not begin pruning a Leyland cypress early enough, it will easily become a hedge that is not controllable. It is advisable to trim the long shoots at the sides in the first year at the beginning of the growing season. The sides should then be lightly pruned in July and can also be trimmed the following year so as to encourage the tree to attain denser growth. Cutting should continue each year (without interfering with the leading shoot until it reaches the desired height). Once you attack the leading shoot you will prevent the tree from becoming excessively large.

What about disease?

The Leyland cypress can come under attack from Seiridium Canker disease. This disease is a fungal infection that slowly invades the tree and causes clearly visible damage and disfiguaration. This is especially evident in screens and hedges that are pruned heavily. The disease is localised on limbs, and the affected limbs will be either dead, dry or discoloured. They will probably also exhibit a sunken or cracked area that is surrounded by a living tissue. You are well advised to destroy diseased areas to prevent the spread of Seiridium Canker.

What the expert said:

Oliver Rickman from Westbeams Tree Care said: “Leyland Cypress trees are ideal for people who want to create a natural screen quickly. While they are not the most attractive hedges, they grow tall and dense in just a few years, unlike a beech or hornbeam that will take decades to become mature.”

For advice and guidance on planting, maintaining, restricting or treating Leyland cypress, please call or email us now.