The Leyland Cypress is a low-maintenance tree. It is a good choice for privacy screens and hedges, however, being a fast growing tree (when young it can grow 3 to 4 feet a year reaching 50 feet in 10 years), it will quickly outgrow small yards unless kept pruned. The Leyland Cypress is hardy in Zones Six through 10A and tolerates poor soil, salt spray, drought, severe pruning and partial shade to a full sun. The Leyland Cypress is evergreen, meaning that it doesn't lose its leaves in the fall, and its leaves don't change color in the fall. It tolerate pests well and is only susceptible to Seiridium canker and bag worms. If you want your tree to thrive, follow these steps.
Plan to plant your Leyland Cypress six weeks before the first frost date.
Dig a hole approximately two times larger than than the size of the root ball and deep enough to place the top of the root ball level with the top of the ground.
Center the root ball in the middle of the hole, spread out the roots and back fill with soil, tamping down occasionally to avoid air pockets.
Water deeply two to three times a week. The roots will become established in about six weeks, and you can stop watering at this time.
To shape your tree and to encourage dense growth, you will need to cut back the long side shoots selecting one leader and trimming the sides. The first pruning should be done the spring after planting. Trim again in mid-summer. After the first year, the Leyland Cypress will only need to have its sides pruned once a year in mid-summer. When the tree has reached the desired height, prune the leading shoot, also called topping the tree.
Fertilize your Leyland Cypress three to four weeks after planting with a 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 fertilizer. For optimum growth, fertilize your tree every three months. Sprinkle the fertilizer around the drip line of the tree according to package instructions.