The Q&A Archives: Leyland Cypress

Question: I've written you already about my leyland cypress trees. I think I know what the problem is. They've been planted for almost a year now on new property, and I think what has happened is since their roots are shallow the dirt has been washed away enough to expose their roots enough to be turning them brown. There are some trees where the branches are clearly dead but mostly the trees have alot of brown color instead of green. I will be moving my trees in a few weeks due to reconstruction and I don't know if this will harm them even more. Should I try to save them or just replace them now? Thanks so much.

Answer: Winter stress can turn these off color, poor rooting can cause foliage problems, as can overwatering. Underwatering could also cause them to brown. Based on your description I am not sure what has happened to them, if they are in a location where erosion is severe that is probably not a good thing. And if they are relatively newly planted they may not have rooted so much yet that they are hard to transplant. But I would suggest moving them as soon as possible rather than waiting, it is less stressful to move them earlier in the season. You may have to wait them to retransplant them until next fall. (Summer is not a good time for transplanting since it is so hot and tends to be dry.) I hate to give up on plants, but without seeing them it is very hard to say whether they should be okay in the long run, or not. I would suggest -- if you have a lot invested in them -- that you consult with a professionally trained nurseryman or a professionally trained and certified arborist who can look at them and give you an idea of what has happened and what their outlook would be. Good luck with your trees.

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