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Southern Trees – Caring for the Leyland Cypress

You simply can’t go into a Southern neighborhood these days without walking slap into a Leyland Cypress, or at least being confronted by one. These popular evergreens commonly line drives and yards throughout the Augusta area to act as hedges and provide an element of seclusion.

The product of a Monterey Cypress and a Nootka False Cypress – the Leyland Cypress features fuller, more elegant branches draped with flat needles whose sprays of gray-green foliage are housed on slender upright branches. A reddish-brown scaly bark, the L also produces dark brown fruiting cones which adorn the thick green branches.

The Leyland Cypress Root System

Leyland Cypress trees need very little care, whether part of a hedge or growing as a lone tree. After planting as part of a hedge in early fall, it is best to mulch the foot of the tree in order to avoid weed growth crowding it out, and to protect the roots from the elements. (Mulching can help prevent roots from freezing in extreme cold!)

If you’re unsure as to how to plant your Leyland Cypress, contact Cambium Canopy! We can help you better assess drainage, soil, and placement.

Trees can be planted in early spring, pending cold weather. Provide ample spacing between trees – roots can extend several feet. Leyland Cypress trees can grow 10-20 feet wide, so planting too close can lead to disastrous results.

Nutrients & Water – provide plenty of water during the initial establishment period of the new plants, and especially during dry periods, or draught. Eventually, the tree should get all the water it needs from the soil, but in Augusta, and indeed the entire South, it is imperative to water your trees during the summer months if we have been without adequate rain.

Of course, equally important is avoid over-watering! In fact, fussing too much is simply a no-no with the Leyland Cypress tree – it doesn’t require regular fertilization either, but keep an eye on your water and soil levels.

To Prune, or Not to Prune

A towering hedge is impressive, but if your Cypress is never pruned, it could grow to reach more than 60 feet! For hedges and maintenance, be sure to select a pruning height you are most comfortable with, and consider its thickness, or width, too.

Timing is everything, and this plant’s rising sap levels and subsequent rapid growth means your Leyland Cypress will prefer to be pruned at the end of summer, or at the beginning of spring.

Don’t hold back! These trees tend to grow extremely quickly, so feel free to go wild and prune quite aggressively. In fact, you need to keep an eye on your conifer if you have neighbors, as its rapid growth can become quite a pest!

Pro Tip: A heavy pruning at the end of August can really keep this growth under control. That’s because this is the season when sap descends through the tree, and so it will slow the growth a good bit.

The More You Know

The Leyland Cypress is hugely popular, but it’s also an excellent wind-breaker, ready to resist strong storm-powered winds. They are also known to be very resilient in the face of disease and pollution, with only a couple of potential threats to their health. They also keep their color and their shape most consistently, year-round.

For more assistance – or knowledge – call us for a free consultation today! We’re always happy to help our customers find trees that are right for them, and care for their foliage.

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