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Everything You Need to Know About Leyland Cypress Trees

Leyland cypress trees are low-maintenance, fast-growing evergreens that create excellent living fences in just a few seasons.

Row of Leyland Cypress Trees Adobe

Leyland cypress trees are an exceptionally fast-growing tree that can create a lush, natural privacy screen in just a few years. These low-maintenance evergreens keep their bluish-green, needled leaves year-round, and are tolerant of many soil types and a range of sunlight. If you want to block out unwanted noise, shield a view of a busy street, or get some privacy from your neighbors, the Leyland cypress is the perfect tree for you.

Leyland Cypress Trees at a Glance

  • Fast-growing
  • Low-maintenance
  • Excellent for privacy screens
  • Green year-round
  • Salt-tolerant
  • Shallow roots

Appearance

Leyland cypress trees grow in a pyramidal, conical shape with flattened sprays of bluish-green, needled leaves. They grow to an impressive height of 40-60 feet if not pruned down, with a spread of 15-20 feet. Growing 3 feet or more by their second year, Leyland cypress trees achieve this great height quickly.

Specifications

Appearance Pyramidal/conical shape with needled, bluish-green leaves.
Appearance Pyramidal/conical shape with needled, bluish-green leaves.
Height 40-60 feet
Hardiness Zones Zones 6-10
Type of tree Evergreen conifer
Sunlight requirements Full sunlight to partial shade
Soil composition Adaptable to wide range, prefer well-drained
Lifespan 10-25 years

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones show the best regions to grow various types of plants. Leyland cypress trees thrive in Zones 6-10, across a large swath of the country from the West Coast to the East Coast, with greatest growth from zones 6-8.

Planting

The best time to plant your tree is during its dormancy in mid-fall. Plant your Leyland cypress tree in an area with well-drained soil that receives full sunlight to partial shade. Don’t plant your tree directly on the property line, because this fast-growing, massive tree can grow onto your neighbor’s property.

Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball. You want to plant the tree so that is even with the surrounding soil. Gently tease the roots of the tree before you place it in the hole to encourage the roots to grow outward. Backfill the hole with the soil you dug out, and create a ring of mulch around the tree, not letting it touch the trunk. Water your tree every day for one week, then water every other day. By the third week, you can water as needed.

If you plant multiple trees, space them out 6-10 feet apart.

Growing Conditions

Leyland cypress trees have a reputation for being low-maintenance, adaptable to a range of sunlight and soil conditions. They don’t even need pruning, unless you want to achieve a specific, consistent height.

Sun and shade

Leyland cypress trees flourish in full sunlight—at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. They can also tolerate partial shade.

Soil

The soil must be well-drained, but other than that, Leyland cypress trees aren’t picky. They will grow in a wide range of soils, including alkaline, acidic, sandy, clay, and loamy.

Watering

Water your Leyland cypress tree deeply and irregularly, about once a week, giving it about an inch of water total each time. As your tree ages, you can give it water less frequently. Do not use an irrigation system, because that can overwater your tree and lead to root rot.

Fertilizing

You should fertilize in early spring, before your Leyland cypress tree has new growth. Use a slow-release, balanced fertilizer with an NPK value of 10-10-10. You don’t need to fertilize every year, and should leave it up to your judgment.

Pruning

If left unpruned, Leyland cypress trees will reach great heights. However, they will maintain their pyramidal shape without any intervention. If you want a hedge of a certain height and to encourage dense growth, prune your tree annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far apart should you plant them?

To give them adequate room to grow, you should plant Leyland cypress trees at least 6-10 feet apart.

When is the best time to plant them?

Plant your tree in mid-fall when it is dormant.

How long do they live?

Leyland cypress trees live about 10-25 years.

Do they have invasive roots?

Leyland cypress trees have a shallow, non-invasive root system.

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