Leyland Cypress/Cryptomeria/Arborvitae – Drought Damage
Q: I have hundreds of Leyland cypress surrounding my property. They are 5 – 21 years old. I’ve noticed the older ones are dead inside. What are your thoughts?
A: Nothing lives forever. Whether plant or animal, living things seem to have typical life spans: some measured in centuries and some in days. Leyland cypress is enormously popular in Southern landscapes. Cryptomeria and arborvitae are used as substitutes but they too are not particularly suited for heat and drought. Both environmental factors lead to disease, from which these evergreens have a hard time recovering.
In my observation, Leyland cypress trees that were planted properly so they have a wide root system, last 25 – 50 years. In contrast, trees that were planted hastily in clay soil have roots that just can’t keep up with the need for water in summer. They might last only 10 – 15 years.
If you have important evergreens in your landscape, it is imperative that they get water in summer. Depending on their size, 10 to 100 gallons of water might be needed per week.