Leyland cypress trees are an evergreen hybrid variety developed in Great Britain. The tree grows in an upright position with curved branches that produce soft, overlapping needles. Leyland cypress is hardy in USDA growing zones 6 through 10, and it is used as a landscape feature or sold as a living Christmas tree planted outdoors in spring. The Leyland cypress is a fast-growing tree that reaches a height up to 100 feet when left to grow naturally. Caring for them isn't difficult.
Plant the Leyland Cypress tree in a location that has well-draining soil and receives six or more hours of direct sunlight. A sandy loam or clay loam soil works well for this tree. Dig the planting hole with a shovel.
Add 2 to 3 inches of organic compost to the bottom of the planting hole and set the Leyland cypress root ball on top. The top of the root ball should be approximately 1 inch above ground level. Fill the hole with soil and gently pack in place. Water the soil generously after planting to compact the soil and reduce air pockets around the root ball.
Apply 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch over the root ball area to increase moisture retention. Leave a 6- to 8-inch gap between the start of the mulch and stem of the tree. Refresh the mulch each year to maintain an adequate layer.
Water the Leyland cypress when the weekly rainfall is less than 1 inch. Water the tree at soil level instead of spraying the foliage. Do not create standing water around the stem as this increases the chance of root rot.
Fertilize the Leyland cypress each spring with a balanced fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer over the root ball, making sure to leave a 12-inch-diameter gap between the stem of the tree and start of the fertilizer. Water the soil well after applying fertilizer to increase absorption.
Prune to remove dead or damaged branches from the Leyland cypress tree in early spring, using pruning clippers. Remove internal crossing branches, as this will increase air circulation to control disease. Leyland cypress trees require little pruning maintenance to control the shape.