Planting Leylandii Trees: A guide for using Leyland Cypress as a hedge or screen.

Leylandii trees are known by various names including The Leyland cypress as well as variations on the scientific name Cupressus x leylandii, Cuprocyparis leylandii or Cupressocyparis leylandii. However, they are most commonly referred to as leylandii. These fast-growing conifer trees are a popular choice for hedges due to their rapid growth rate, dense foliage, and evergreen nature. Contrary to popular belief Leylandii trees can be maintained as a superb dense formal hedge if regular trimming is carried out from the start. Leylandii can be used effectively as a windbreak and will also reduce noise pollution.

Below is some information about using Leylandii trees for hedges, or see our Leylandii Hedging for sale

Leylandii Trees Description


Leylandii trees are tall and conical in shape, with a dense, feathery foliage that consists of flattened sprays of dark green or grey-green leaves. They can reach impressive heights of up to 40 metres (131 feet) under ideal conditions, but they can also be pruned and maintained at a desired hedge height.

Growth Rate:

One of the most notable characteristics of Leylandii trees is their fast growth rate. They can add around 1 metre (3 feet) of growth per year, making them an excellent choice if you want to establish a tall hedge or screen relatively quickly.

Privacy and Screening:

Leylandii hedges are often chosen for their ability to create privacy screens. The dense foliage forms a thick barrier that blocks wind, noise, and provides privacy from neighbours or roads.

Soil and Sunlight Requirements:

Leylandii trees prefer well-drained soil and thrive in full sun or partial shade. They can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, including clay and sandy soil, but they prefer moist soil and may struggle in extremely dry or waterlogged conditions.

Pruning and Maintenance:

Regular pruning is essential to maintain a Leylandii hedge at a desired height and shape. Leylandii trees can tolerate hard pruning and will respond well to regular trimming. Pruning should be done during the growing season, typically in late spring or early summer.

Potential Issues:

While Leylandii trees have many positive attributes, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Their fast growth rate means they can quickly outgrow their intended space if not properly maintained. Additionally, Leylandii trees can be susceptible to certain diseases, such as cypress canker and root rot, especially if grown in poorly drained soil. When planting Leylandii trees for hedges, it’s recommended to leave sufficient space for their eventual height and spread. Regularly trim and maintain them to avoid potential issues.

What time of year do you plant Leylandii?

Leylandii, or Leyland cypress, is typically planted during the cooler months of the year. The ideal time to plant Leylandii is in autumn or early winter when the trees become more dormant. Planting during this period will give time for the roots to become established in the new soil before the onset of spring growth. However, Leylandii can also be planted in early spring if necessary. If these times of year aren’t feasible and planting can only be undertaken during the Summer. Then the ability to provide regular watering must be in place to ensure they survive through the Summer. The stress of high temperatures can make it more difficult for the tree to establish and thrive so irrigation has to be in place for Summer planting to ensure survival.

How quickly does Leylandii grow?

Leylandii trees (Leyland cypress) are known for their rapid growth rate. Under optimal conditions, Leylandii can grow as much as 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90cm) per year. This growth rate will vary depending on factors such as location, climate, soil conditions, and maintenance practices.
During the first few years after planting, Leylandii tends to establish its root system and focus on growth below ground. Once the roots are well-established, the tree’s above-ground growth accelerates. With regular watering, proper feeding, and adequate sunlight, Leylandii can achieve its maximum growth potential.
It’s worth noting that the fast growth of Leylandii can make it a popular choice for creating privacy hedges or windbreaks. However, this rapid growth also means that regular pruning and maintenance are necessary to keep the tree in check and prevent it from becoming overgrown.

How far from a fence should you plant Leylandii?

When planting Leylandii (Leyland cypress) near a fence, it is generally recommended to allow sufficient space for the tree to grow without causing issues or encroaching on the fence. The specific distance may vary depending on the desired size of the mature tree or hedge, but a general guideline is to plant Leylandii at least 3 foot /90cm away from the fence to provide some space for the trees/ hedge to grow into.

What grows faster laurel or Leylandii?

In general, Leylandii (Leyland cypress) has a faster growth rate compared to laurel. Leylandii is known for its rapid growth and can grow as much as 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90cm) per year under optimal conditions.

On the other hand, laurel, specifically the popular species Prunus laurocerasus (English laurel or cherry Laurel) typically has a more moderate growth rate. It can grow around 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60cm) per year. Although growth rates can vary depending on factors such as location, climate, soil conditions, and maintenance practices.

It’s important to note that growth rates can be influenced by various factors, including local conditions and the specific cultivar or variety of the plant. Additionally, individual plants can also grow at different speeds even within the same species.

When comparing the growth rates of Leylandii and laurel, Leylandii tends to have a faster growth rate overall. However, it’s worth considering other factors such as mature size, maintenance requirements, and suitability for your specific landscaping needs when deciding between the two.

What is the lifespan of a Leylandii hedge?

The lifespan of a Leylandii (Leyland cypress) hedge can vary depending on various factors such as environmental conditions, maintenance, and disease susceptibility. On average, Leylandii hedges have a lifespan of around 20 to 25 years, although some hedges can be successfully managed for longer with proper care.
To promote the health and longevity of Leylandii trees, it is essential to provide them with proper care. This includes regular pruning to control their size and shape, appropriate watering, and monitoring for signs of diseases or pests. Adequate spacing and maintenance practices can help prevent overcrowding and maintain healthy growth.
By implementing good cultural practices and promptly addressing any issues that arise, you can help extend the lifespan of your Leylandii hedge and ensure its longevity in your landscape.

Are Leylandii Trees the fastest growing hedges?

Yes, Leylandii (Leyland cypress) trees are considered one of the fastest-growing trees commonly used for hedges. They have a rapid growth rate and can achieve significant height within a relatively short period. Under optimal conditions, Leylandii can grow at a rate of 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90cm) per year.
It is worth considering that there are other hedge plant options available with varying growth rates. Depending on your specific needs and preferences, you may choose a different species that offers a balance between fast growth and long-term manageability.

How far apart should you space each leylandii tree when planting a hedge?

When planting a Leylandii (Leyland cypress) hedge, the spacing between each tree depends on several factors. Including the desired density of the hedge, the mature size of the trees, and the available space. Here are some general guidelines for spacing Leylandii trees in a hedge:

Understanding how far apart to plant leylandii trees will give you a better idea of how many plants to purchase in the first instance. This spacing depends on several factors.

  • The size of trees initially purchased,
  • The eventual height the hedge will be
  • The time it will take to create dense hedge at that spacing
  • Budget constraints.

Planting Leylandii trees close together (so they are almost or just touching) will create a dense hedge in the shortest time period. Find out what size and width the plants are and work back from this. The bigger the plants are initially the further apart this spacing will be. If using really small plants then it is best to give them enough room to grow into and not overcrowd them.

The minimum spacing, we would recommend for leylandii trees would be 50cm apart. If you have purchased bigger trees then this can be increased anywhere up to 1 metre or even further apart. Leaving a gap between the plants will just take more time for the plants to fill out as a hedge. The bigger the gap the longer this will take. If a tall leylandii hedge or screen is required then we would recommend a minimum spacing of 3 foot (90cm) apart.

We provide recommended planting densities for all the plants listed on our website. Our recommendations are based on planting at a density that the plants will start to join together as a hedge after 1 full growing season. This is only a guideline and please use more plants to reduce this timescale or less plants per metre if you have time to wait.

How do I plant Leylandii trees?

The process of planting Leylandii hedging is pretty simple and easy to accomplish. Please refer to our planting guide for more details.

How narrow can I keep my Leylandii hedge?

If regular pruning and trimming is carried out from the start then a leylandii hedge can be maintained as narrow as 1.5 foot (50cm).

Are leylandii hedges easy to maintain?

Leylandii hedges can be relatively easy to maintain, but they will require regular pruning and trimming to keep them in good shape. Here are some key factors to consider when maintaining Leylandii hedges:

Pruning Leylandii:

Leylandii hedges have vigorous growth and can quickly become tall and wide if left unattended. Regular pruning is essential to maintain their desired size and shape. You’ll need to trim the hedge at least once or twice a year, usually in late spring and early autumn. It’s important to trim the sides as well as the top to prevent the hedge from becoming too dense and reducing light penetration.

Tools and Equipment:

Maintaining a Leylandii hedge requires the use of appropriate tools such as hedge trimmers, ladders (for taller hedges), and personal protective equipment like gloves and safety goggles. Make sure you have the necessary equipment and are comfortable using them safely.

Height Management:

If your Leylandii hedge grows too tall, it may become difficult to maintain. Regular trimming will help control its height, but if it becomes too large, consider hiring a professional. A tree surgeon or landscaper can help to reduce its size and shape it properly.

Watering Leylandii:

Leylandii hedges need regular watering, especially during dry spells or when newly planted. Ensure the soil around the hedge remains moist but not waterlogged. A deep watering once or twice a week should be sufficient.

Feeding and Mulching Leylandii:

Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in spring to provide essential nutrients to the hedge. Additionally, applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the hedge will help retain moisture. This will also suppress weed growth, and improve soil fertility.

Leylandii Trees Disease and Pest Control:

Leylandii hedges are susceptible to certain diseases and pests, such as aphids, spider mites, and root rot. Regularly inspect your hedge for signs of damage or infestation and take appropriate measures if necessary. Consult a professional arborist or horticulturist for advice on disease and pest control options.

By following these maintenance practices, you can keep your Leylandii hedge healthy and well-maintained. However, it’s important to note that Leylandii hedges can grow rapidly and require ongoing attention. So they may not be suitable if you prefer a low-maintenance option.

What benefits do Leylandii provide?

Leylandii trees (Cupressocyparis leylandii) offer several benefits, including:

  • Privacy screen: Leylandii trees are popular for creating dense, evergreen hedges or screens due to their rapid growth and dense foliage. They provide privacy and act as a barrier against noise, wind, and unwanted views.
  • Windbreak: Their dense growth habit and tall stature make Leylandii trees effective windbreaks. The help to reduce wind speed and protect gardens, crops, and buildings from strong winds.
  • Aesthetics and landscaping: Leylandii trees have an attractive appearance with feathery, dark green foliage that adds a lush, elegant touch to landscapes and gardens. They can be used as focal points or to enhance the overall visual appeal of an area.
  • Carbon sequestration: Like other trees, Leylandii trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and store it as carbon. This helps to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gases.
  • Wildlife habitat: The dense foliage of Leylandii trees provides shelter and nesting sites for birds, small mammals, and insects. They contribute to biodiversity by creating a habitat for various wildlife species.
  • Noise reduction: The thick foliage of Leylandii trees can help to reduce noise levels by acting as a sound barrier. This makes them beneficial for properties located near busy roads or noisy areas.
  • Erosion control: The extensive root system of Leylandii trees helps stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes or areas prone to soil erosion, such as riverbanks.

What are the disadvantages of Leylandii?

While Leylandii (Leyland cypress) has several desirable characteristics, such as fast growth and dense foliage. It also has some disadvantages to consider:

  • Large size: Leylandii has the potential to grow very tall and wide, reaching heights of up to 100 feet (30 meters) and widths of 20 feet (6 meters) or more. This can be a disadvantage if you have limited space or if the tree obstructs views, shades other plants, or encroaches on neighbouring properties.
  • Vigorous growth: While fast growth is often seen as an advantage, Leylandii’s rapid growth rate can become problematic if not properly managed. Without regular pruning and maintenance, Leylandii can quickly become overgrown, blocking sunlight and airflow. This may lead to issues such as weakened branches, increased susceptibility to diseases, and difficulty in controlling the size and shape of the tree.
  • Shallow root system: Leylandii has a shallow root system, which can make it susceptible to windthrow, especially in areas prone to strong winds or storms. The shallow roots can also compete with other plants for water and nutrients. This potentially causes problems in gardens or landscapes with a variety of vegetation.
  • Potential for disease and pests: Leylandii is susceptible to several diseases, including root rot, cankers, and needle blight. Additionally, it can attract certain pests such as aphids and spider mites. These issues can impact the health and appearance of the tree if not properly managed.
  • Maintenance requirements: Leylandii requires regular maintenance, including pruning, to keep its size in check and maintain its shape. Neglecting pruning can lead to overgrowth and potential issues with neighbouring properties. Additionally, Leylandii needs consistent watering and feeding to promote healthy growth.

It’s important to carefully consider these disadvantages and assess whether Leylandii is suitable for your specific needs. Taking into account factors such as available space, desired maintenance level, and the potential impact on the surrounding environment.