How to plant and care for Leyland Cypress in 10 easy steps:
- Plant Leyland Cypress any time between early spring and late fall. Select an appropriate planting site. Leyland Cypress should be planted in full sunlight, although they can do well in partial shade.The tree will do well in most types of soil, as long as it has good drainage.
- Give Leyland Cypress plenty of growing space. Don't plant them under power lines or too close to a building, sidewalk, street or street sign.
- Dig a hole the height of the tree's root ball, and two times as wide. Reserve the soil. If you are planting more than one Leyland Cypress, leave about 8-10 feet between each tree.
- Remove the Leyland Cypress from its container. If the roots are tightly matted, tease them apart carefully with your fingers before planting the arborvitae. If the tree is wrapped in burlap, remove any strings or wires, then either remove the burlap, or fold it down so that the top third of the root system is uncovered. If the roots are wrapped in synthetic burlap, it must be removed.
- Apply 4-4-4 Sustane* around rootball and mix with the backfilled soil. Spread the roots out evenly, and plant the Leyland Cypress in the hole. The crown of the tree, which is where the trunk meets the root system, should be about 2 inches above the soil, so adjust the soil in the bottom of the hole to bring it to that level, if necessary. After planting top dress with 18% Sustane and continue twice a year.
- Let a garden hose run slowly on the base of the tree. Once the water settles, it may be necessary to add more of the reserved soil.
- Staking is very important. Stake Leyland Cypress after planting, and keep them staked until the roots are well-established, especially if they're planted in a windy area. Use one single hardwood stake 6' long for 6' trees and tie with line through an old hose piece. Shorter hardwood stakes for the smaller trees. All 25 gallon 8-10’ trees should be guyed** with 3 3 foot hardwood stakes and longer lengths of line protected by old hose around the trees.
- Water Leyland Cypress heavily for the first year while the roots are getting established. Water slowly with a garden hose, or use a soaker hose. After the first year, the trees will need on an occasional watering, especially during hot, dry weather.
- Feed Leyland Cypress a balanced fertilizer in late winter and again in midsummer. Use an organic fertilizer formulated specifically for trees and shrubs, and apply it according to the directions on the package.
- Remove any dead branches that typically accumulate near the bottom of the tree. Leyland Cypress need pruning twice a year, usually in the spring and again late fall to keep the tops even.
* Sustane products are available at Site/Landscapes in South Dennis, Mass.
** Guying line, also known as crab line, Is available in bulk at Cape Fisherman's Supply in Chatham, Mass.