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Leyland cypress is a fast-growing conifer that is one of the most popular landscape conifers in the eastern U.S. In addition to its vigor, this species is relatively drought tolerant and can be pruned into a hedge. However, the widespread use has revealed an Achilles heel, proneness to disease. Disease problems (including Seridium, Botryosphaeria, and Phytophthora) are observed mostly, but not entirely, on stressed plants. Such a potential liability begs the question “should leyland cypress be used in our landscapes?” There is no clear-cut answer. One can travel throughout the eastern U.S. and observe that the great majority of leyland cypress trees and hedges are thriving. The best recommendation on the landscape use of this species is to minimize the amount of stress, i.e., do not plant leyland cypress in poor soils and irrigate during periods of drought.
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October 2, 2018