Leyland cypress makes a great choice for landscapers and gardeners who need to quickly build privacy screens or want fast-growing trees in their landscaping. One of the fastest-growing evergreen trees available, Leyland cypresses require relatively little care to bring to maturity once the tree gets established. The most important thing to remember before planting this tree is making sure your landscape offers enough room for this evergreen to grow to full size.
Sporting soft, pale green branchlets that turn bluish-green as they mature, the Leyland cypress' feathery foliage makes it attractive in landscapes. This fast-growing, dense evergreen grows at least 3 to 4 feet per year, reaching 50 feet tall in the West, where it tends to grow taller. The tree also spreads out to about 25 feet by maturity. Small 1/2-inch cones form on the tree, but these cones create little mess and do not attract wildlife. Leyland cypress grows well in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10.
The Leyland cypress prefers full sun, but also grows well in partly shady areas. If your soil seems far from ideal, this tree may be the answer to your dilemma since it grows well in a variety of soils. Ideally, plant Leyland cypress in moderately fertile soil that drains well, but the tree grows in just about any soil condition -- including clay.
As with all new trees. the Leyland cypress needs lots of water during its first year. Once the tree is established, it requires little watering except in extreme drought conditions.
If you want to use Leyland cypress as a hedge, screen or windbreak, severely trim your tree. Even after you trim the tree back to fit the form you need, be prepared to handle more trimming as the tree grows back very quickly. Otherwise, this tree tends to grow upright on its own, requiring little pruning if you prefer that it grows to its full height.
One disease seems to affect Leyland Cypress more than any others, although the trees tend be free of serious problems. Cankers cause this disease. They form dark brown, sunken patches on the tree's bark, resulting in branches that turn bright reddish-brown. Since no chemical canker cure exists, prune the infected areas and destroy the clippings so the disease does not spread.