Leyland Cypress is valued for its rapid growth, adding as much as 4 feet to its height in one year. Homeowners with large lots, businesses and highway landscapers will plant this evergreen in lines or groupings when the trees are young (less than 10 feet tall) and consequently less expensive so they can create privacy screens, wind breaks and noise reducers. Leyland Cypress can reach heights of 50 feet and widths of 25 feet.
Choose a sunny location where Leyland Cypress can expand. If planting more than one cypress, space at least 6 feet apart to create a privacy barrier; the branches of the mature cypress will interlace with neighboring cypress. Leyland Cypress can grow in USDA zones 6 through 10a and prefer well-drained soil. Planting can occur in fall or spring.
Measure the width and height of the rootball. Dig the width of the hole two to three times the rootball's width. The depth of the hole should be two times the rootball's height. Digging the hole bigger than the rootball loosens the soil making it easier for roots to expand.
Backfill the hole partially, blending in up to 50 percent organic material (compost or leaf mold). Check the depth of the hole by placing the rootball in the center. The top of the rootball should be level to the ground. Add or remove dirt from the bottom of the hole if needed. Continue to blend in organic material with the soil as you finish backfilling the hole. Periodically force out air pockets by pressing the soil down with your hands or feet.
Apply a long-time release fertilizer (releases nutrients over 9 to 12 months) in early spring and according to manufacturer's instructions.
Water well and continue to water every 10 days for the first few months unless there is a saturating rain. Plastic ground cover can be added to the ground around the base a Leyland Cypress to control weeds and retain moisture. Do not apply the plastic directly against the trunk of the tree.
Stake the tree if it is located in a windy area. Pound three or four metal or wooden stakes into the ground equal distance apart and outside perimeter of the tree. Use wire padded with cut strips of garden hose where it touches the tree to create a bracing system to keep the tree upright. Because Leyland Cypress is fast growing, check the stakes every other month to see if the wire needs to be loosened or repositioned.
Prune (shear) Leyland cypress in late winter to maintain a desired shape. Otherwise, you do not need to prune this evergreen.