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I Purchased 24 Leyland Cypress Trees To Serve As A…

Lisa Asked

I purchased 24 Leyland cypress trees to serve as a landscaping wall. I did not plant immediately, as our outside temperatures were 100 degrees plus for weeks on end. I watered them almost daily. I am wanting to plant them now that the weather is a bit cooler, but several of them have started browning. Fearing that the roots were constricted, I started my planting with the browning ones and am working on the green ones now. I have read much on the Internet about diseases, etc., and am very worried. I see no outward signs of disease or stress.

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Lisa in Virginia: The best thing you can do for your Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii) at this stage is to get them in the ground. The summer temperatures and lack of rainfall have been stressful for plants both in the ground and in containers. As long as you can give them the growing conditions they need, they should be fine in the long run. Fall is a great time to plant since the temperatures cool down and the plants will not require as much moisture as they would during the summer months. At this time of year the evergreens still have time to get their roots established before winter arrives. All plant material goes through a certain amount of stress when they are transplanted, but there are steps we can take to reduce this stress. It is always a good idea to pre-dig your holes before removing the plants from their current home. The less exposure the roots have to wind and direct sun the better. Dig your holes twice as wide as the container they are currently living in and just as deep. The top of the soil line attached to the cypress should be flush with the ground. Water immediately and if Mother Nature does not provide rainfall make sure your new plantings receive 1.5-2 inches of water until mid-October. A slow trickle of irrigation for 30-40 minutes is sufficient for a deep soaking. These evergreens do have their share of problems, including bagworms and various fungal diseases, but I would not suspect this in your case. The brown foliage is more likely a result of uneven moisture levels. Leyland cypress thrive when planted in full sun, at least six hours each day, and demand well-drained soil. Root rot can become a problem if the plants are exposed to excessive moisture.

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