The Q&A Archives: Trimming Leyland Cypress

Question: About a month ago, I planted a line of leyland cypress in my backyard. These cypress were about 6' to 7' in height and with a spacing of 5'. They were fairly narrow in shape with growth concentrated upward. Since I am trying to use cypress as a screen, I have couple questions about the cypress that I hope you can share your opinion:
(1)When can I start to trim the cypress?
(2)How can I trim the cypress so that they can be fuller (horizontal growth)?
(3)Do I need to fertilize the cypress?
(4)Are there any tree disease that I should watch out for ?
Thanks in advance for your help.

Answer: Leyland Cypress is fast-growing (3-4 feet a year) and can be sheared to promote a bushy growth habit. It is an excellent choice for quick screens, hedges and groupings. Since you've only recently planted them, wait until new growth begins in the spring to begin trimming them. Pruning encourages additional growth and shearing just a few inches from the tips of the branches should force growth inside the plant near the trunk as well as at the site of pruning. Fertilizing isn't necessary, unless growth is slow or the color is pale. If you hose your plants off every week or two during the hottest months of July and August, you'll discourage spider mites (the only real problem). Keep your cypresses watered well during their first year in your landscape and they should perform well for you. Enjoy!

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