Leyland cypress is a fast-growing, soft-textured evergreen. The trees are commonly used for living privacy fencing because they grow to 20 to 30 feet tall when used this way. Standing alone the Leyland cypress may grow to a height of 70 feet tall with a 20-foot spread. Leyland cypress requires little maintenance, grows in various soil types and is drought tolerant. Growing naturally in a pyramidal form these trees need very little pruning. Leyland cypress is hardy in USDA planting zones 6 through 10.
Choose a location with full sun to partial shade for the tree. The area should be high enough in your landscape to drain well. If creating a privacy fence and there are low areas, build them up with soil before planting. Plan planting for spring or early fall.
Dig holes for the trees twice the diameter and 2 inches deeper than the container you purchased your tree in. Clean the soil of all weeds, lawn grass and stones. Mix one part compost to two parts original soil and fill 3 inches of the hole with the amended soil. Holes should be spaced 6 feet apart if creating a privacy hedge.
Remove the tree from the container and place in the planting hole. Adjust the level so that it is sitting at the same level it was in the container. Fill in with soil around the bottom half of the root ball and water to settle the soil. Continue to fill with soil to the point where it is level with the surrounding ground.
Water the tree to keep the soil moist for the first two weeks, then cut back to twice a week throughout the first growing season. Once the tree is well-established, water it only when the weather is dry or windy.
Place a wooden stake next to the tree and attach loosely with twist ties. Check the ties once a month to make sure they are not too tight as they can damage the tree. This will keep the tree from blowing over in strong winds while it is small. Remove the stakes when the tree is established and the ground around it is solid again.
Apply an eight-month or 12-month time-release fertilizer for evergreens in the spring. Time-release fertilizers do not place too much fertilizer in the soil at one time, reducing the possibility of damaging the tree. Follow manufacturer's directions on how much to apply each spring.
Spread 4 inches of mulch around the tree, 4 inches away from the main trunk. This will keep the weeds down and moisture in, creating less maintenance for you and better health for the tree.
Leyland cypress trees do not need to be pruned. However, they handle it very well if you are trying to create a certain shape or size. Prune in early spring or winter for shaping and cut off dead or diseased branches any time of year.