The popularity of the Leyland Cypress as a “Living Fence”tm screen is indeed no coincidence. This vigorous plant can almost be seen growing as it stretches its branches to the sky in its quest for the clouds. In virtually no time will this hardy and attractive conifer form and shape itself into the coveted “Living Fence”TM. This soft-needled evergreen’s leaves are medium green in color. The Leyland Cypress is happiest in the full sun and Pryor’s Nursery recommends it be planted in such locations only, if the growth rate is to be achieved. This hardy tree is pyramidal to cylindrical in shape and it can grow as much as 1.5 feet per year or more. Its care is simple but does demand water in the hot months when young. These trees can grow very tall at maturity but can be pruned indefinitely to retain the desired shape.
While no plant is trouble free, the Leyland Cypress attracts few pests in the landscape. The insect which may be present on the Leyland is the bagworm. No preventative measures are necessary. Treatment is only needed when the insect’s presence is detected. They start appearing around July 4 and are about the size of a grain of rice. Products containing BT are effective against the bagworm when they are in this early stage. BT is a bacteria that attacks the insect. Follow label instructions to the letter.
In the late 1970’s, the leyland was thought to be trouble free. But now we see on some a cankar, which is a small wound which leaks sap. While many people say it’s a problem, the state of MD Dept. of Pesticides lecture given by Ethyl Dutkey in 12/98 stated she observed some infected plants. She noticed that when the plants were taken care of properly(water, fertilizer, etc.), the plants grew thru the problem and are large, healthy plants. Therefore, I am recommending no chemical treatments for this pathogen. In conclusion, if a leyland develops canker, a bona fide food and watering program is recommended for a quick recovery.
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Leyland Cypress Evergreen Video
Leyland Cypress Evergreen Detail
The Leyland cypress will best achieve a full, beautiful” Living Fence” if grown in a minimum of 6 hours of direct sun a day. It is a sun loving evergreen but will survive in partial shade. However, after about three years, it will start to thin out and not provide you the privacy you desire. You may see some leylands that are growing under the shade canopy of tall deciduous trees and seem to provide a screen. They were probably planted when the deciduous trees were smaller and their canopy had not yet extended over the leylands to shade them. Eventually, the leylands will thin out as the shade canopy increases and prevents access to direct sun.
In 1845, the Leighton Hall, Powys estate was purchased from the Corbett family of Shropshire by Liverpool banker Christopher Leyland. In 1847, he gave it to his nephew John Naylor (1813–1889) as a wedding present, who then proceeded to rebuild the house and estate at a reputed cost of £275,000, plus an additional £200,000 on the industrial farm technology.
Naylor commissioned Edward Kemp, a pupil of Sir Joseph Paxton, to lay out the gardens, which included Redwoods, Monkey Puzzle Trees and two disparate Pacific coast North American species of conifers in close proximity to each other in the estates Park Wood:
- Monterey Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa (syn. Callitropsis macrocarpa) from California
- Nootka or Alaskan Cypress, Cupressus nootkatensis (syn. Callitropsis nootkatensis, Xanthocyparis nootkatensis,Chamaecyparis nootkatensi)
The two parent species would not likely cross in the wild as their natural ranges are more than 400 miles apart, but in 1888 the hybrid cross occurred when the female flowers or cones of Nootka Cypress were fertilized by pollen from Monterey Cypress.
As John Naylor died the following year, his eldest son Christopher John Naylor (1849–1926) inherited Leighton Hall from his father in 1889. Christopher was a sea captain by trade who commanded a ship known as the I.S.S. Enterprise. In 1891 he inherited the Leyland Entailed Estates established under the will of his great-great-uncle, which passed to him following the death of his uncle Thomas Leyland. On receiving the inheritance Christopher changed his surname to Leyland, and moved to Haggerston Castle,Northumbria. He further developed the hybrid at his new home, and hence named the first clone variant ‘Haggerston Grey’. His younger brother John Naylor (1856–1906) resultantly inherited Leighton Hall, and when in 1911 the reverse hybrid of the cones of the Monterey Cypress were fertilized with pollen from the Nootka, that hybrid was baptized ‘Leighton Green.'
The hybrid has since arisen on nearly 20 separate occasions, always by open pollination, showing the two species are readily compatible and closely related. As a hybrid, Leyland Cypress is sterile so all the trees we now see have resulted from cuttings originating from those few plants.There are, over forty forms of Leyland Cypress.
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