How to Plant & Care for a Leyland Cypress Tree

Overview

Leyland cypress trees (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) are evergreen plants that grow 3 to 4 feet a year until they attain their mature height of 50 feet or more. Because of their size, horticulturists with the University of Florida claim that they are too large to be grown in most residential landscapes unless trained as hedging. Planting and caring for the Leyland cypress isn't difficult. Plan on getting your tree into the ground from late March to early April.

Step 1

Choose an area in which to plant the Leyland cypress tree. It should be somewhere that will allow it to grow to its full height without obstructing overhead power lines. The tree also requires full sun all day.

Step 2

Remove all weeds from the planting area. Weeds take water and nutrients away from the young tree.

Step 3

Prepare the planting site by turning over the soil, with the gardening fork, to a depth of 10 inches. Crush any large clods of soil with the fork.

Step 4

Dig a hole that is the same depth but twice the diameter of the pot in which the Leyland cypress is growing. Use the gardening fork to scrape the sides and bottom of the hole to loosen the soil. This will allow for easier penetration of the tree's roots.

Step 5

Carefully remove the Leyland cypress from the pot and place the roots into the planting hole. Backfill the hole with soil and use your feed to tamp the soil around the base of the tree.

Step 6

Drive a stake 2 feet into the ground, 6 inches from the Leyland cypress tree. Tie the tree (use tree ties) to the stake loosely. Check the tree every two months and loosen the ties if they are becoming tight.

Step 7

Lay the soaker hose, if you are not using drip irrigation, 3 feet from the base of the tree.

Step 8

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree but keep it 2 to 3 inches from the bark. Cover the soaker hose with the mulch as well. This will help to keep the hose in place should wildlife pay the tree a visit.

Step 9

Water the Leyland cypress until the water puddles. Water twice a week thereafter to keep the soil moist to a depth of 6 inches, but not soggy.

Step 10

Fertilize the Leyland cypress for the first time eight weeks after planting. Use a time-release fertilizer, such as an eight- to nine-month formula and apply it according to package directions. Use a 14-7-7 fertilizer, sometimes labeled as azalea food.

Step 11

Prune the Leyland cypress if you are growing it as a hedge. In the spring, cut back any shoots from the side of the plant. As soon as the plant is the desired height, begin trimming the top as well as the sides every spring. Spray the tree with fungicide every week for three weeks after pruning.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening fork
  • Shovel
  • Stake
  • Tree ties
  • Soaker hose
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Fungicide

References

  • University of Florida: x Cupressocyparis leylandii
  • ‭"‬Landscape Management:‭ ‬Planting and Maintenance of Trees,‭ ‬Shrubs and Turfgrass‭;" ‬James R.‭ ‬Feucht and Jack D.‭ ‬Butler‭; ‬1988
Keywords: plant leyland cypress, grow leyland cypress, leyland cypress care

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.