Leyland cypress make good privacy screens.
image by John_worsley/Flickr.com
The Leyland cypress is very popular in the United States for use as a privacy tree. It's a fast grower, adding 3 to 4 feet in height per year, is drought tolerant and thrives in a variety of soil conditions. Hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 10, the Leyland cypress is easily started from cuttings. Have the containers that you plan to root these trees in ready to go before taking your cuttings, which is best done in January, February or March.
Fill a 2 1/2-inch pot with equal parts of perlite and peat moss. Use an unsharpened pencil to poke a 2-inch-deep hole in the center of the rooting medium.
Take 8-inch cuttings from new shoot growth of healthy, attractive Leyland cypress trees. The lower part of the stem should show at least a little brown coloration. Keep the cuttings cool and moist, and get them into prepared pots immediately.
Prune the stem down to about 6 inches, and remove the leaves from its bottom 2 inches. Dip the base in water and then into rooting hormone powder. Tap the excess powder off, and firm the cutting's base into the hole in the pot of rooting medium.
Moisten the medium well, but not so that it is wet or soggy. Seal the potted cutting in a clear plastic bag to retain moisture and humidity. Place it in a warm, well-lit location out of direct sunlight. The top of your refrigerator or above the hot water heater are excellent spots.
Check the cutting every other day to make sure that the rooting medium has not dried out. If there is excessive condensation forming on the inside of the plastic bag, the medium might be too dry. Keep the cutting uniformly moist.
Gently slip the medium and the cutting out of the pot once a week to watch for root development. As soon as you can see roots beginning to show on the outer areas of the root ball, you can begin fertilizing once weekly. Use a dilute solution of liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer.
Fill a 1-gallon pot with commercial potting soil, and mix 2 tsp. of a good slow-release 18-6-12 fertilizer into it three months after you initially processed the cutting. Transplant the rooted Leyland into it and moisten well.