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Location: North Alabama

Help with Leyland Cypress

I planted a row last spring as a screen. Two of them did very well and look perfect. Several almost died due to lack of water (they are on a hill and the water just runs off). I cut the dead tops off of these at the end of the summer last year and expected to have to replace them. But, they survived and now they don't have a single top, but several shoots going up. The ones that did not get topped have a single tall skinny shoot that I would like to cut but from what I have read I should not. How can I make them look more the same? If I top the normal ones, will they never grow tall?? Is there any way to correct the growth after I had to top off the dead part?

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Location: Bucks County, PA

Don't top the the trees. You can select a central leader on the trees that were cut, and prune back the other competing branches. It may take several growing seasons before they look the same as the other trees, but it can be done.

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Leyland cypress trees have a variety of light requirements. They need full shade, part shade, and full sunlight. The cypress will grow in several different soils. This tree needs to be planted on a well drained place. Leyland Cypress can grow in sand, clay, loam and will also grow in both acidic and alkaline soils. It can tolerate salt and dry conditions.

Always remember how fast this tree grows and allow for the size. Try not to plant a cypress too close to another tree. In most cases, these trees should be planted at least ten feet apart.

Leyland Cypress grows fast and needs to be pruned early or it can get out of hand. The first growing season the sideshoots should be trimmed at the beginning of the season. The sides should be trimmed lightly in July. If the sides are trimmed the following year denser growth could be seen. Trim the sides each year, but don't trim the top until the wanted height is reached. If this tree is topped and trimmed regularly, it should keep the tree from gettin increasingly large.

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