Q: Two of my ten-foot tall Leyland cypress trees have been vandalized by neighbor kids. They stripped all of the middle limbs so they are green at the top and bottom but bare in the center.
Will these stripped trees regrow any branches in the middle or must I dig them up and replace them?
A: I’m sure they look pretty sad right now but I’d hate to lose the three years of good root growth they’ve put on for you. Try this:
1. Cut off the trunk of each plant an inch above the highest remaining healthy bottom branch.
2. Use wide strips of cloth to tie a broomstick or large dowel vertically to the short trunk. The top of the stick should extend at least a foot above the pruning cut.
3. Gently draw the nearest vigorous branch upwards towards vertical and tie it in place next to the stick with more cloth strips.
4. If it begins to put on new growth in summer, the branch will take over the duties of being the central trunk of the tree. After a few years you won’t notice the kink in the trunk.