Leyland Cypress or “The Hardest Working Plant in the Landscape”
Most homeowners in the United States are familiar with The Leyland Cypress. Maybe you’re not sure of the name but I guarantee you are familiar with the site of the tree. It is certainly one of the most popular evergreen trees sold in the U.S. The Leyland Cypress has grown popular over large areas of the United States because of its legendary salt tolerance, thriving where many other trees will not grow. More and more homeowners are planting Leylands due to their fast growth rate and beauty.
It has proven to grow well in a wide variety of soil and climate conditions and makes an excellent windbreak as it provides a dense barrier with good color throughout the year. You can find these beauties around homes, schools, and parks.
Growth Statistics for the Leyland Cypress
The Leyland cypress can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 6–10. It is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round. The Leyland cypress can grow to a height of 60–70' and a spread of 15–25' at maturity. This tree grows at a fast rate, with growth rates of more than 2 feet per year. The Leyland Cypress features dark green to bluish-green foliage borne in fern-like sprays. They provide winter cover for songbirds and game birds as well as privacy barriers for our backyards. Leyland Cypress does not have to be a 50-foot tall tree. When the Leyland reaches the height you prefer just simply prune the top off. This will cause the tree to send more energy to the horizontal or “side-branches” which will allow them to fill in.
Protect Your Home and Add Privacy with a Leyland Cypress
Leylands have been the go-to plant for privacy for many years and will continue to be used for the purpose of creating backyard sanctuaries. As man continues to develop tract housing and developments we are being stripped of our privacy. It’s good to have neighbors and let it be known that I am far from anti-social, but as our lives become more stressful we yearn for solitude and peace in our yards. Planting Privacy trees such as Leyland cypress can give back to you what our society has taken.
Leyland Cypress planted along your property line will provide privacy, however, there is another use for Leylands that few people really know about. During the winter months, cold winds hitting your home rob your house of warmth. Heating costs are on the rise in the country and studies have shown that using evergreen trees such as Leyland Cypress can reduce winter heating bills.
Proper windbreak planting usually involves multiple rows of plants. Start with a row of Leyland Cypress trees on the outside of your property these will be the tallest plant in the windbreak. Inside of that plant a smaller evergreen plant such as American Holly or Nellie Stevens Holly. And finally, your innermost row of plants can be flowering shrubs such as Hydrangea Quick Fire or better yet one of my personal favorites Aronia brillantisima or simply Red Chokeberry. The Aronia will not only provide an amazing show of fall color against the backdrop of evergreen trees but will provide berries which will entice songbirds to nest in your newly created “habitat”. Red Twig Dogwoods or winterberry hollies are another great choice due to the show provided every winter.
Windbreaks and Privacy Screens don’t have to be utilitarian only. Albeit the most important reasons to plant them is to screen out either neighbors or eyesores or the cold winter winds. But with a little pre-planning on your part, they become wonderful additions to the overall landscape design of your property. By mixing species of plants you’ll create an ever-changing show of colors and textures.
The Ohio Division of Forestry has put out a very informative information packet on windbreaks. I believe it contains the best information I’ve seen on windbreaks. Those that live in more temperate regions have more choices of plants than our friends in the colder reaches of zone 5 and 4 but the information is presented in such a way that it can be used just about anywhere in the U.S.
I’ll be happy to discuss options with you for windbreaks and privacy screens and you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to answer your questions, give suggestions or further hail the benefits of the Leyland cypress.