Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:19 pm

Leyland Cypress trimming


I'm new here, and I just bought my first house so I'm also new to gardening. I'll apologise in advance for the long post. The front garden is bordered by what I believe to have to determined to be Leyland Cypress trees. The previous owner of the house has done very little to care for the garden for what appears to be quite some time. This type of tree is apparently one of the fastest growing around, making it ideal as a hedge unless I'm much mistaken.

The problem is that when I arrived the trees had grown way beyond the garden boundary and were taking up approximately half of the footpath on the other side, as you can see from the photos attached.. I tried to trim the trees back with a hedge trimmer but quickly found that the machine was hitting thick branches and jamming. So, in my haste to clear the footpath and return some order to the garden I began hacking off branches with a pair of large secateurs. After I had removed all the branches from one half of the hedge it dawned on me that the trees were looking rather bare.

I stopped what I was doing and set about researching whether or not I'd made a grave mistake and it turns out that I have. From what I've read, this type of tree will not grow leaves again from bare wood. The advice is to only trim back as far as the leaves are still visible. However, this was not possible as the branches extended at least two feet onto the pavement, so merely trimming the leaves would have achieved nothing.

I've also read that it's possible for the branches from the other side to begin growing onto the bare side, although this can apparently take up to 5 years.

So, my questions are these. Is it possible to salvage these trees by having the foliage from the green side grow through onto the bare side? If so, can it be done more quickly than 5 years? And if this isn't feasible am I left with no option but to remove the trees entirely?

Thank you in advance,


Greener Thumb
Posts: 1124
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

Re: Leyland Cypress trimming

Some of my arborvitaes have a similar problem due to fencing located next to them. I didn't notice the problem until I removed the fencing.

I was thinking that a cute fence would improve the appearance in your case. Be sure to check the codes for fence height restrictions. Front yard fencing in my neighborhood can be no taller than 42". That would be enough to cover a good portion of the shrub damage in your case.
ISFP "The Artist"

Return to “Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges”