Know Your Trees Series: Leyland Cypress

09 Nov 2018

Know Your Trees Series: Leyland Cypress
Know Your Trees Series: Leyland Cypress
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The Leyland Cypress is an evergreen tree, shaped much like a flame in silhouette with tiny dark green leaves and small spherical cones. It grows to 35m or more in height and spreads outwards by up to 8m. This tree will thrive in all forms of soil, including clay, chalk, loam and sandy soils, so long as it’s well drained.

In your garden
This is a fast-growing tree, which means it may require quite a bit of tidying and maintenance throughout the year. It would not be out of the ordinary to have to trim this tree two or even three times in the spring and summer months.
Because of its rapid growth and dense foliage, the Leyland Cypress can often be found making up hedging or as a screen, both visual and acoustic, to prevent your home from being overlooked by neighbours or from the road.
Threats your Leyland Cypress may face
This is a hardy tree, but no tree is immune to all the pests and diseases that impact tree growth and survival in the UK. If you know what to look out for you may be better prepared should your trees get into trouble.

  • The Cypress aphid, or Cinara cupressivora is a major cause of conifer hedge dieback. This black-brown teardrop-shaped insect infests the hedgerow and sucks it dry of sap. This causes the shoots to turn yellow, then later in the summer to turn brown as it dies. The Cypress aphid secretes a sticky fluid that encourages the growth of sooty mould which will cover leaves and shoots hindering photosynthesis and, therefore, the growth of the tree. Once these aphids are removed, by chemical or non-chemical means, recovery is possible, but will be slow.
  • Scale insects. There are around 25 different varieties of scale insects but the threat they present to Leyland Cypress trees and hedges is very similar to that of the Cypress aphid – sap-sucking and sooty mould.
  • Honey fungus. Around 20% of all dieback in Leyland Cypress is caused by the honey fungus. The Royal Horticultural Society defines it as ‘the most destructive fungal disease in UK gardens’. The honey fungus spreads underground, killing roots and decaying the dead wood. The result being a weakening of the tree, cracking and bleeding of the bark, paler than usual leaves and often honey-coloured mushrooms around the base of the tree.
A few things you may not know about your Leyland Cypress
  • If you allow your Leyland Cypress to grow too large it can dry out the soil and make it difficult for other plans to grow.
  • When grown as a hedge it should be trimmed to an A-shape to ensure that light gets to all parts evenly.
  • Because of its rapid growth, the Leyland Cypress can be seen as saviour or menace, offering privacy on the one hand, and yet can quickly get monstrously out of control if not regularly trimmed.
  • Trimming at the wrong time of year, say in autumn time, can cause significant dieback.
If you would like advice, or assistance with maintaining your Leyland Cypress, or if you have noticed browning sections or a strong smell of mushrooms, call us on 0208 292 8992 and we’ll happily pop round to give you our professional opinion for your peace of mind.

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