Leyland Cypress – Growth Rate

Q: We want to plant Leyland cypress trees along both sides of our back yard, for screen. My question is how much do these trees grow a year? I was told the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap.

A: Your information is correct: Leyland cypress may grow just a foot or two in the first year but might accelerate to three feet per year once it becomes established. If you want the fastest screening, spend lots of time preparing the site before you plant them. Remember that they need full sun and summer irrigation to do well.

If you plan to have a long row of the trees, rent a tiller and dig a five foot wide strip of land along your property lines. If the soil is hard clay, add a two cubic foot bag of soil conditioner for every ten square feet of bed. Mix it in as you till. Plant the Leylands 6 – 12 feet apart. The number you plant depends on the size of your pocketbook and the density of the screen you need. You can allow them to grow as tall as they like or you can prune the top at whatever height you are prepared to maintain each year. You should have a pretty good screen in just a few years.

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