Q: I have ten Leyland cypresses that provide a beautiful privacy fence for my back yard. But they have grown so tall that they are blocking sunlight to my zoysia grass. Is it okay to trim the top of the Leylands?
A: In England, pruned Leyland cypress is a common screen between houses. However, legal cases have been brought when a plant grows too tall and shades an adjoining homeowner’s flowers.
Generally speaking, you can cut the top out of a healthy Leyland cypress without damage. Keep in mind that it will regrow a vigorous top and you’ll have to remove that twice each summer. Consider how high your ladder reaches before making a final decision.
Conversely, don’t prune side branches back into the brown branch area. No new growth will occur on limbs that have no foliage.