The Leyland cypress tree is a sterile hybrid of the stately Monterey cypress and the Alaskan cedar. Growing to a height of 138 feet, this pyramid-shaped tree is used for both ornamental and commercial purposes. In New Zealand and Australia it is harvested for its wood, but in the U.S. the Leyland cypress is used for wind breaks and ornamental landscaping. It is also highly prized as a Christmas tree. The Leyland cypress tree is fast growing, hardy to USDA zone 6 and requires very little care.
Grow your Leyland cypress in full sun, in any type of soil. These trees can tolerate most soil types and textures, from sandy to clay with ph ranging from 5 to 8. If grown in heavy soil, the tree will require additional nutrients and more care when watering.
Water the tree sparingly, if at all, as too much water can cause root rot. Water only when the weather is very hot or during periods of drought.
Fertilize the Leyland cypress tree in the early spring with an extended slow-release fertilizer. The Espoma company makes a good organic fertilizer called Hollytone, or you can use any 14-7-7 fertilizer. Be sure to water well after applying the fertilizer.
Attack any pests on your Leyland Cypress with insecticide or miticide. Leyland cypress trees are attractive to bagworms (a type of caterpillar), scale and spider mites. Diseases that are common to this tree include canker (caused by an airborne fungus), blight, also caused by a fungus, and root rot. Treatments for these pests and diseases vary. Take an infected tree branch to your cooperative extension office and the personnel there should be able to identify the problem and recommend treatment.
Prune your Leyland cypress tree, with hand pruners, in the fall. Remove only 3 to 5 inches of growth and, if you want a taller tree, only prune the sides of the tree, not the top. Remember that this tree can grow very tall, very quickly, so pruning the top may be the best way for you to control any unwanted growth.