Leyland Cypress – Planting Correctly
Leyland cypress has been planted by the millions (perhaps billions) all over the world. In the proper site (full sun, well-drained soil) a Leyland cypress can be an asset to your landscape. But improper planting leads to a short life, disease, and disappointment.
Remember, Leyland cypress will grow to become a big tree. The cute, foot-tall plant in a gallon pot can become a fifty-foot tall monster in just a few years.
Leyland cypress should be planted no closer than 25 feet from your home. It can not easily be pruned to keep it in bounds. Don’t plant something you will regret.
If you have enough space to use Leyland cypress as a barrier, plant them no closer than 10 feet apart. Any closer and their branches will eventually grow together and shade each other and become ugly. Make a note to reevaluate in 5 years…you may need to remove every other one to prevent branch intermingling.
Initial planting tips:
1. Plant in fall. It is very difficult to give this plant enough water to keep it alive when planted in spring.
2. Loosen a wide area around the center spot where you’ll place the Leyland. The loosened soil area should be at least 6 feet in diameter. This gives the plant roots enough space to spread out in and to provide good anchoring. Poor root growth is the prime cause of Leyland cypress failure.
Do not simply plant it in a hole just a bit bigger than the root ball. This tree will fall over in a few years.
3. Water appropriately. Even when planted in fall, the plant’s evergreen foliage loses water year-round. Plan on one gallon per foot of height each week. Use your judgement. Do not allow soil to become soggy.
4. Starter fertilizer can be applied at planting but not thereafter. Fertilizer promotes top growth at the expense of root growth. You want your trees to have the best root system possible.