Planting Leyland Cypress Trees

Introduction

Leyland Cypress trees are fast-growing, coniferous, ever-green plants that are popularly used for windbreaks, hedges and screens. They have ability to grow to heights of up to 50 feet in a span of 16 years.
The trees require a lot of sunlight because of their fast growth. They are capable of tolerating high levels of salt spray and pollution.
Leyland Cypress trees are fast-growing, natural hybrids that can thrive in different types of soil. The trees are often planted in gardens to offer shelter hedges or quick boundaries.

Even though they are popularly used for screening, experts claim that they are rarely planted to form forests.
According to scientists, Leyland Cypress trees have relatively shallow roots, and that’s why they often topple over whenever they become too tall.
Their growth is generally poor in areas that experience extremely hot summers, and this is because of their shallow roots. In such areas, they are often affected by Seiridium Canker disease (caused by a fungus; Seiridium Cardinate).
When grown in regions that experience heavy snowing, snow often breaks their branches or even uproots whole trees.
Scientifically, they are classified as follows: Kingdom-Plantae, Division- Pinophyta, Class- Pinopsida, Order- Pinales, Family- Cupressaceae, Genus- Cupressus, and Species- Leylandii.

Their scientific name is therefore Cupressus Leylandii.

Sheared-leyland

Planting Leyland Cypress trees

Location

Fully grown Leyland Cypress trees can extend to heights of up to fifty feet while forming canopies that spread out to approximately twenty-five feet. If you need a taller hedge, windbreak or screen, then you should plant them at least twenty-five feet apart.
If you specifically need a hedge of average height, then the recommended spacing is between eight and ten feet. The space in between will fill up after a few years.

Planting instructions

The following instructions should be followed when planting Leyland Cypress trees;
1. Select an area that has as much sunlight as possible.
2. Plant them at least 25 feet apart (if you want them to become extremely tall and wide). If you want them to grow into mature trees of average height, then leave spaces of about 9 feet between each of them.
3. Carefully remove the plants from their original containers (usually small paper bags).
4. When digging holes, their sizes should be proportionate to the size of roots. Ideally, holes should be twice as large as the root bundles.
5. Get rid of any weeds or grass around the holes.
6. Loosen soil bundles around the roots.
7. When placing them into their respective holes, the top -of root bundles should be 0.24 inches below the ground-surface.
8. Mulch them with about 3 inches of pulverized bark or compost.

Watering

Regularly water your trees with sufficient water. The further the water goes, the healthier your trees will be. Continue doing this consistently for about two months. The soil should always be moist (not soggy).

Rate of growth

They are rapidly growing conifers that have ability to grow by up to three feet every 12 months. Their fast growth makes them suitable for forming windbreaks, hedges, and production of Christmas trees. Generally, they can be planted at any time of the year.

Application of fertilizer

Ideally, you should apply fertilizer that is normally used on young trees and herbs to enhance their growth. If a soil test determines that your soil is deficient in certain nutrients, then you should apply nutrient-specific fertilizer.

Control of weeds

Apart from applying fertilizer and regular watering, it’s equally important to control weeds. This can be done by manually uprooting them during weeding.
Control of weeds is important because they (weeds) offer unhealthy competition to your Leyland Cypress trees with regard to moisture, nutrients and access to sunlight.

Control of pests and diseases

Leyland Cypress trees are often affected by one or more of the following diseases; Seiridium Canker/ Stem Canker, Cercospridium Blight and Phytophthora.
Seiridium Canker is a dangerous disease that causes gradual death of branches or whole trees, while Cercospridium Blight often affects plants that have been exposed to over-shearing, excessive sunlight, drought and/or inadequate fertilizer.
Phytophthora is equally dangerous. It’s caused by poor drainage and results in death of plants’ roots.
Pests and diseases can be controlled by applying insecticides and drugs prescribed by agricultural experts.

Pruning: generally, Leyland Cypress trees need very little pruning, especially if they’re being nurtured to form windbreaks or screens. If you are using them as a hedge, then you should consider pruning them regularly so that they don’t become too tall.

Reproduction: they can be reproduced by obtaining cuttings from mature trees and then transferring the cuttings to nurseries where they are encouraged to grow by providing optimum conditions.