Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Leyland Cypress Fast-Growing Drought Tolerant Landscape Screen Plants

Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii) is a very fast growing tree that grows tall and thin, making them perfect for privacy screen plants in the landscape. 

These plants can grow four to five feet in one season!  Their columnar shape helps them fit in along the back of the border or between houses.  The top is a bit thinner than the bottom. 

They are also drought tolerant once established; usually after the second year.  These trees are evergreen.   Their upright, long branches have flattened greenish blue leaves similar to other members of the cupressaceae family.  

Their trunks are reddish brown with a pretty silvery quality. Their shape is similar to Italian Cypress, except much wider at the bottom.  

A mature tree can reach up to 60 feet tall and up to 10 feet around.  Older trees seem to have less foliage at the bottom. 

Leyland cypress can take full, hot sun to part shade.  These trees are a hybrid between Chamaecyparis nootkatensisi and Cupressus macracarpa.  They grow best in USDA Zones 6 to 10A or Sunset Zones 38 - 24.  

Best spacing for Leyland cypress plants is about 10 feet apart.  Mature trunks can measure up to two feet in diameter, so plan accordingly.  If you plant them too close together they become more susceptible to root rot.  Deep, infrequent watering will also encourage deep roots. 

If you cannot wait until their sides grow together, put something in between them as a screen until they grow in.  If you need a thinner plant that is still a fast grower and tall screen try Italian cypress.


perennialgardener said...

Drought tolerant & fast growing sounds like a great plant to me. I love the screening they provide as well. :)

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

Hi Laura,
I like the focus of your blog- drought tolerant plants. We need those in LA big time~

I've planted Leyland's as hedges before and agree that they grow fast and are one of them more reliable "screening plants."

I like your t-shirts.Do you design them yourself?
Shirley Bovshow

Laura Z said...

Perennialgardener - I thought Italian cypress was the hot ticked until I discovered these Leyland, I'll be planting these from now on.

Shirley - Glad you like my blog, I am trying to go all drought tolerant here. But I'll never give up my roses!

Yes, all the gardening t-shirts (and totes and whatnot) were designed by me. Glad you like them.

thanks for your nice notes,

Leah said...


Do you know much about avocado trees? We just planted one about a month ago and I am not sure how it is doing? I was wondering if I could send you a pic. of it and see if you can tell if it is doing okay or not. Thanks,


Barbara in Wildsuburbia said...

Nice to find another LA gardener who likes low water use and native plants. When I took horticulture at Mt. SAC we learned that Leyland cypress is very fast growing, but has a rather short live-span - 20 - 25 yrs. and it can blow over in winds. Do you have any other info on this?

I'm using toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)as a screen but it takes a couple of years to get going.

WiseAcre said...

Please be nice.How did you know I was going to show up?

Drought tolerant isn't a worry here. But fast growing is nice. I'm a bit out of range but ya never know - it would be worth trying if they are deer resistant.

iona said...

Love your site and all the practical plants featured. We have several Leylands - Emerald Isle planted at our country house. They do indeed grow quickly and they do an exceedingly good job screening off our leach field. I combined them with purple leaf plum trees. Awesome look.
Garden Lust Journal

Laura Z said...

Leah, the only thing I know about avocado trees is that they produce delicious fruit!

Barbara, I love toyon too. I wrote an article about it for the blog too. Those flowers are amazing! What color is yours?

WiseAcre, that was there when I signed up with Google, but I decided to leave it. You are still welcome to be a smart alec.

iona, purple leaf plumb sounds like a great combo, is Emerald Isle a brighter green?

Ken said...

Love your site, I have a question, I have heard Leyland Cypress are prone to parasitical bugs in So Cal (I am in Orange County). Can you Advise? We are in need of fast-growing privacy tree. -Ken


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