The Leyland cypress is a hybrid evergreen created in Great Britain. The trees have soft, overlapping needles and are often planted for use as Christmas trees because they are fast growing. Leyland cypress is also sold in containers as a living Christmas tree to plant outdoors the following spring in USDA growing zones 6 through 10. The tree grows tall to a height of 100 feet and prefers supplemental water applications even though it is drought-tolerant.
Choose a planting location that has an acidic, well-draining soil such as sandy loam or clay loam. The area should receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
Dig a planting hole that is the same depth and twice as wide as the Leyland cypress root ball. Place 2 to 3 inches of organic compost into the bottom of the hole and set the tree on top so that the top of the root ball is 1 inch above ground level. Fill soil around the root ball and gently pack in place.
Water the Leyland cypress immediately after planting to pack the soil and eliminate air pockets. Provide water to the tree during the growing season when the rainfall amounts are less than 1 inch each week.
Fertilize the tree each year in spring. Apply a balanced fertilizer to the soil over the root ball. Do not fertilize within 12 inches of the tree trunk as it may cause root burn. Apply a deep soaking of water to assist with fertilizer absorption.
Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch over the root ball area of the tree to limit weed growth and increase moisture retention. Leave a 6-inch gap from the trunk of the tree to the start of the mulch.
Prune Leyland cypress trees in early spring to remove damaged, diseased and dead branches. Cut to remove internal branches that cross to increase air circulation. Leyland cypress trees do not require heavy pruning to maintain growth.
Propagate Leyland cypress trees to create additional trees by cutting semi-hardwood branch sections in late summer. Take the cuttings from current year growth that is beginning to harden. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone and stick them in a rooting tray filled with moist soil.