How to Take Care of Leland Cypress Trees


Leyland cypress is a tall, pyramidal tree growing anywhere from 30 to 100 feet tall and 30 to 50 feet wide. This is a fast-growing tree, providing quick screens for the landscape. Many grow Leyland cypress for Christmas trees as their branches are softer than the common pine needles. The tree needs little care once established and is not bothered by pests. Leyland cypress is hardy to USDA planting zones 6 and warmer.

Step 1

Water the tree to keep the soil moist for the first two months after planting. This will help to establish the root system. After, cut watering to once a week for the first growing season. During the second year and on, the tree will only need to be watered when the weather is particularly hot and dry.

Step 2

Apply an organic fertilizer as a top dressing to the soil, over the roots. Compost, fish emulsion and well-rotted manure work well. They provide micronutrients to the soil, without the harsh effects of commercial fertilizers, when the tree is young.

Step 3

Apply a time-released fertilizer each spring after the tree is in its second year and beyond. An eight- or nine-month release will keep the tree continually fertilized throughout the growing season.

Step 4

Mulch in a 3-foot diameter around the tree, but keep the mulch at least 6 inches from the trunk. Leyland cypress has shallow roots that will not compete with weeds well for water. The mulch will retain the moisture and keep the weeds from growing.

Step 5

Shear the tree to shape in early spring. Do not take more than 3 inches off the tips of the branches at a time. Cut off any dead or damaged branches as you notice them. You don't need to prune Leyland cypress, unless you want to shape it into a hedge or screen.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic fertilizer
  • Time-released fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • North Carolina State University: Leyland Cypress
  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Living Christmas Trees
  • Aucker's Nursery: Leyland Cypress
Keywords: Leyland cypress care, caring for cypress, growing tall trees

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.