Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii)
Leyland Cypress is a cone-bearing evergreen that has good color in both summer and winter. It also tolerates a variety of soils and exposures and has no serious pest or disease problems. It even tolerates salt spray. Tree experts regard it as particularly desirable for the southeastern United States.
These stately trees grow in a pyramidal shape with a single trunk that reaches at least to 30 feet, depending on the growing conditions. In landscape situations Leyland cypresses may grow to 60 or 70 feet. Rapid growers, they shoot up 3 feet or more per year when they are young. Typically their spread is 1/4 or 1/5 their height.
Leyland cypress has needled evergreen leaves. Their foliage is made up of flattened, round-tipped needles, which cover the pointed branchlets like scales. The foliage resembles arborvitae at first glance, except that it has a finer, nearly feathery texture. Young needles are a soft green, turning bluish green with maturity. Leyland cypress foliage exudes a pleasant odor when it is crushed.
Flowers on Leyland cypress are inconspicuous when they appear in the spring. The fruit that develops from them is visible as small, rounded cones. Each cone is about 1/2 inch in diameter and is covered with eight scales and bears about 5 seeds within each scale.
Leyland Cypress Choices
Cultivars of Leyland Cypress offer differing colored foliage and some differences in size and shape. Castlewellan has yellow foliage; Green Spire is more columnar and dense with bright green foliage; Haggerston Grey has a more open habit, a pale gray cast to the foliage, and a rougher branching pattern; Naylor's Blue has grayish green foliage; Robinson's Gold has a compact habit, with bronze spring foliage turning to yellow for the season; Silver Dust has white variegations on bluish foliage and a wider habit; Stapehill is dense and columnar with flat sprays of foliage.
The Leighton Green cultivar has been most commonly used as Christmas trees. The foliage of this tree is a dark forest green. It is heavy and stout with a somewhat coarser appearance when compared to the other Leyland cultivars.