I have a line of Leyland cypresses that are around 8 years old and about 25-30 feet tall. After a recent severe ice storm, they are listing to one side and one of them has a part that broke off at the base. Will these trees recover from this and what do I do with the one that has a broken limb? I love these trees very much and would love to see them survive.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Dawn: I am sorry to hear about your cypress. I hope that other than your trees you survived the storm okay. With all the crazy weather we have had in Louisville over the past year, I am actually surprised there has not been more damage to your cypress. Because of the growth habit of these evergreens, they have a reputation for breaking during any inclement weather. The also have very brittle wood that makes them more susceptible to injury from wind/ice and whatever else Mother Nature shakes up. This is not a plant that is normally recommended for our area specifically because of our compact clay soil. It sounds like yours have done very well. Your soil must have good drainage! Driving around town you can tell which plants were bogged down to the ground with ice. They are slowly returning to their upright shape. This can take a while to happen as you can attest, but if there are not any broken limbs they should eventually stand up straight. As for the one that broke off at the base, it is hard to say how extensive the damage is without seeing it. If the actual trunk is damaged it may need to be removed, but if it is just a limb it can be pruned back to the trunk, or depending on where it broke you can take it back to the closest intersecting branch. If you have a digital camera you can take a picture and bring it into The Plant Kingdom and we will be happy to look at it for you. Otherwise, both Greenhaven Tree Care and Limbwalkers are reliable arborists in our area.