Cupressocyparis leylandii - care and cutting of the Leyland cypress

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Leyland cypress - Cupressocyparis leylandii

Cupressocyparis leylandii, the botanical name of the Leyland cypress, is a hybrid of the family Cypress family (Cupressaceae). As a popular breeding from the Nootka cypress and the Monterey cypress she sometimes has to put up with the name bastard cypress. In England, she is one of the most popular hedge plants. The only thing that this kind of easy-care cypress requires from the gardener, the gardener, is regular cutting. But that's not surprising, in this growth performance.


Sunny should be the location for the Leyland cypress. Shady locations, with many hours of sunshine in the morning or afternoon, are also tolerated. What this Cypress species does not tolerate is dryness and hard frosts. That means, the wind and weather delivered altitudes are rather not suitable. Also unfavorable are slightly elevated and unprotected locations that tend to dry out.


As well as prolonged drought, the Leyland Cypress also does not tolerate waterlogging. The garden soil should be so nice and easy, so that the water can seep through well. If the soil is compacted, it is worth creating a drainage system for planting. The optimal soil properties:
  • humous
  • sandy
  • weak acid (pH 5-6)
  • loose, permeable
  • moderately dry to moist

to water

Sufficient water is important throughout the year for the Cupressocyparis leylandii. It reacts to dryness with brown needles, which then fall off and leave bare spots. Unfortunately, the needles do not grow at this point. For many bald spots, only a radical cutback will help, so that it expels again.
Lime does not tolerate the Cupressocyparis leylandii so well. Therefore, whenever possible, pour rainwater. Even in winter, on frost-free days, she needs regular water. With this high water requirement, good drainage is very important because waterlogging is not well tolerated by the roots. They then tend to rot easily.


Plants that grow as fast as the Leyland cypress also have a high nutrient requirement. However, special long-term fertilizers for hedge plants make it quite easy. With these types of fertilizer, a single application in the spring is completely sufficient. In the summer you can then add some hornpings or compost.

Epsom salt and blue grain

Blue-grain fertilizer

Whether one should help fertilize cypresses with Epsom salt or blue grain, there are opposite views. Blue-grain (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) is predominantly discouraged. Occasional administration of Epsom salt (magnesium) is recommended against brown needles. However, there are only a few soils with a true magnesium deficiency. Who, as described above, fertilizes his cypress hedge, will be able to do without both means.
Tip: Regular mulching protects against dehydration and has a positive effect on soil consistency and quality.


The best time to set up a Leyland is in March and September. On favorable days, not too sunny and too dry, container goods can also be planted in the period between March and September.


When purchasing the Cupressocyparis leylandii for a hedge, plants from a height of one meter are ideal. They are then a bit stronger and can survive the coming winter better than younger plants. Depending on how hurried it is to get a dense hedge, one expects two to three plants per hedge meter.
If the future course of the hedge is staked and the root balls are sufficiently watered (about one day long), you can start:
  • dig a half meter wide ditch
  • twice as deep as the root ball is long
  • alternatively: dig out planting holes
  • Planting hole is twice as wide and high as the root ball
  • ideal is a planting distance between 30 cm and 50 cm
  • Create a drainage with potsherds or pebbles
  • can be omitted with an optimal soil condition
  • mix the excavated soil with sand
  • Mix nutrients such as compost, horn shavings or rock meal under the excavation
  • fill in a layer of soil
  • Only use the plants as deeply as they were before in the soil
  • just align and fill with remaining soil and press on
  • water well and keep moist
  • first fresh shoots announce that she has grown

solitary tree

The suitable location for a single Leyland cypress will be found quickly. In addition to lighting and floor needs, when choosing the right spot, remember that it is a shallow root. So do not put too close to other plants or house walls. Above all, it should also be considered that the Cupressocyparis leylandii tree can be up to 10 to 15 meters high with good care. When planting the individual cypress one proceeds as described in the hedge plants.


Also in the bucket makes the Leyland cypress a good figure and spreads Tuscan flair on the balcony or terrace. The planter should be chosen appropriately broad and meet the substrate needs mentioned. In winter, a cool, bright and above all frost-free place is an advantage. Protected accordingly, the bucket can also overwinter outdoor. At the regular repot, at the beginning of each year, you also cut the roots at the same time. Similarly, the Leyland must be trimmed from time to time in height. Those who want to save this work, can fall back on zwergwüchsige species of cypress for the bucket.

To cut

Leyland cypress - Cupressocyparis leylandii

The Cupressocyparis leylandii also carries the nickname giant cypress. It grows very quickly with a length increase of 50 to 100 cm per year. Correspondingly, it must be cut back, especially if it is designed as a hedge plant or in a row planting as a visual screen. As a single tree, it can be trimmed as needed or cut into a specific shape. It grows cone-shaped in its plant, with a width of 150 to 450 cm and in the height up to 20 meters.
A strong pruning lets it expel again.
Whether as a hedge or tree, with each cut you should be careful not to cut too far into the old wood, thereby forming bald spots. More often than not seldom and radically circumcise. The single tree can be wonderfully brought to a desired shape. For beginners of shape cutting, the cone shape is relatively easy to manufacture and maintain. But even as an uncut, primitive solitary tree he is an impressive eye-catcher.
The hedge trimming should be done twice a year. So the hedge is nicely sealed and does not get out of control, even at height:
  • first cut in spring
  • second cut end of August, beginning of September
  • to the final amount, reduce one-third of annual growth
  • Rainy days and hot, sunny days are not suitable for this work
Tip: The Leyland cypresses are slightly poisonous. Therefore, it is best to do the pruning with gloves and long-sleeved clothing to avoid skin irritation.


The Cupressocyparis leylandii is hardy. A stable winter hardiness, but it gets only from a stature height of one meter. The young plants are still somewhat sensitive to heavy frosts. Therefore, it is better to buy them in this size immediately in order to take no risk.


If you enjoy growing plants and also bring along time and patience, you can use small giant cypresses from the seeds or cuttings. However, it took about seven years to become small, one meter high trees.


For a cultivation of cuttings you tear a small branch of the trunk, so that a bit of bark is taken from the trunk or branch. The best time for it is the winter until the early spring. The cutting should be 8 to 10 cm long, cut off the tip to the desired length. Remove the lower needles before inserting. Then they are put in potting soil and covered with foil. Then keep well moist and air regularly. If there are first green shoot tips, there are also roots. Now the plantlet will be kept in a bigger pot. Only from 80 cm height it can be planted in the field.


The seed production is not always successful and is very expensive. It requires female cones with ripe seeds. Ripening to a germinable seed takes a good two years. During this time, the cones lignify and jump up in the heat. Under foil, in cultivating shells, they are then, slightly covered with soil, made to germinate. They must not dry out. Optimal temperatures are around 10° C in a bright room. With luck you can see the first small germ tips after a few months.

Diseases, pests

Leyland cypress - Cupressocyparis leylandii

Most damage to the Leyland cypress is not caused by pests and diseases. Scattered, old needles are repelled, mostly from the inner area, this is normal. But also strong weather fluctuations and irregular watering can cause the needles to turn brown.
Otherwise, the bastard cypress is quite robust against diseases and pests. Every now and then, especially in unfavorable conditions of location and care, there is a fungal attack with the Kabatina Thujae.

Kabatina Thujae

This fungus, even if Kabatina Thujae translates literally, the instinctual death of the Thuja means, can also attack the Leyland cypresses. It is one of the microfungi and occurs predominantly in soils that are low in calcium and magnesium. Too moist soil and too dense planting favor the spread of Kabatina Thujae.
Visible is an infestation by:
  • brown-yellow needle stains
  • tanned bark
  • strong brittle bark
  • occasionally black pustules on the bark, which break up later
When these symptoms become visible, it is time to act quickly to avert greater harm:
  • remove and dispose of diseased plant parts
  • Check planting distances, clear out if necessary
  • Check nutrient supply, correct if necessary
  • otherwise help with a far-reaching infestation, only fungicides


The original bastard cypress, Cupressocyparis leylandii, carries green needles. Meanwhile, there are some types of Leyland, which differ mainly by different color nuances of the needles.
  • 'Gold Rider': golden yellow, also shapely solitaire
  • 'Castlewellan Gold': golden yellow, comparatively weak, compact growth
  • 'Type 2001': green, fast growing, dense, very suitable for hedges
  • 'Silver Dust': cream-colored, growth like Cupressocyparis leylandii
  • 'Haggerston Gray': slightly greyish, old popular English variety
Actually, no matter for what purpose, the Leyland Cypress is a versatile plant with low maintenance requirements. With it you can quickly create visually attractive corners, a small screen or a whole hedge. Colorful perennials come into their own with a Leyland cypress plantation in the background.

Video Board: Growing Leyland Cypress Trees From Cuttings.

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