Q: We have four Leyland cypress trees that were planted after the big blow in ’98. They are beautiful, more than thirty feet tall. One looks as though it is dying. The branches are drooping and the foliage has withered and and paled. What has happened? Is there anything that can be done to save it?
A: One of the great benefits of the University of Georgia Extension Service is the work they do synthesizing research and making it understandable to gardeners. Alfredo Martinez, Jean Williams-Woodward and Mila Pearce have an excellent publication to help you identify Leyland Cypress problems.
Dr. Martinez says that, since the whole plant is affected, a sick root system may be the culprit. Leyland cypress can not tolerate soggy soil. If the affected plant is in a low spot, excess rainfall might have caused its demise. My experience is that once a Leyland has withered it will not recover. Purchase the largest replacement you can afford and be sure it has a well-drained environment in which to grow.