Q: I would like to prune some Leyland cypress trees standing next to our house. Shall I do the sides as well as the top to restrain it from growing
A: You can’t restrain it from growing, but Norm Mittleider, from The Art of Pruning, says Leyland cypress can be maintained as a nice hedge. The trick is to go in and make deep cuts twice a year, in early April and early August. Reduce a thick, coarse branch by pruning back to a smaller, finer branch. In this way a soft, fine-textured look can be achieved and maintained.
Never reduce a Leyland’s height by more than a third. Once topped, it must be maintained; otherwise multiple leaders develop, producing a weaker, atypical top. If you need to remove 3 or more feet of height, do it in late February. Always prune back to a branch; never leave a stub. Understand that this becomes a regular commitment of your time to properly care for the plant.
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