Leyland cypress trees are the most common hardy evergreens planted for creating hedges. Here some tips for planting leyland cypress trees.
Leyland cypress trees, commonly known as leylandii trees or leylands, are hardy evergreen hybrids used commonly as hedges for the protection of private properties. They retain their leaves throughout the year, thus providing complete privacy. In some regions, they are also sold as Christmas trees. Their popularity as hedge trees is mainly because of their rapid growth and tolerance to drought conditions. Leylands are fast growing, achieving a height of about 3-4 feet per year. If planted alone, these evergreens grow as high as 50 feet and spread about 25 feet wide. Here are some tips for planting these beautiful evergreens:
- These trees are best suited in warm climatic conditions. So, for better growth, these should be planted in well-drained soil that receives optimum sunlight.
- They can adapt to a wide range of soil such as sandy, clayey, loamy, etc. The favorable pH range for leylands is between 5.5-6.5. A highly acidic soil (pH less than 5) contains a limited amount of plant nutrients. Hence for such type of soil, supplementation with lime, wood ashes, and organic fertilizers is necessary.
- Ideal plantation time is 6-8 weeks prior to the arrival of first frost. You can purchase these trees from any reliable nursery, landscaper, or plant supplier. While buying, select the young plants with intact roots, which are potted in containers. Otherwise, bare-rooted leylands may be difficult to establish in the garden soil.
- There are also chances of disease infestation and/or development into a stunted leyland tree. Unpack the young plants as soon as they arrive to avoid this. If possible, also plant them immediately.
- After you decide the plantation site, prepare the planting hole to such a depth that the root system is covered completely. Deep planting holes are not recommended, as covering the stem of young plants may cause rotting and death of the plant. An easy measurement is to dig twice the height and width of the root system. If you are planting more than one tree, leave a space of 6-8 feet in between two holes.
- Once the planting holes are prepared, spread the roots and place one young plant per hole. Then, refill the soil and cover the roots entirely. Press the soil around the stem slightly.
- Water the newly planted leylands as per the weather conditions. Too less or too much watering can cause disease and pest infestation.
- Staking the young plants is necessary to protect them from harsh winds and rain. It is to be noted that intensive care is required in the first year of plantation for proper establishment of the tree.
- Though these trees are tolerant to drought conditions, they grow very slowly in the absence of adequate water. Hence, in dry areas, drip irrigation is recommended for a healthy growth.
- After about 4-5 months of plantation, you can add nitrogen-rich organic fertilizers to promote the growth and development of these cypress trees.
- Pruning should be started after one year, when the trees reach a height of about 3-4 feet. You can remove the sides of these trees (3-4 inch length). Pruning the leylands should be followed by spraying fungicide to prevent fungal infection on the expose surface.
- A regular inspection should be done to control diseases and pests in the early stages. If necessary, you can apply appropriate fungicides and other insect repellents by consulting the local horticulture center.
The natural canopy shape of leylands is quite attractive, uniform, and symmetrical. However, as per your landscape design, you can prune these trees twice a year to retain the desired canopy shape.